Book: Birthmarked by Caragh O’Brien
Genre: YA Dystopian
Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ 5/5
5-word Summary: Why isn’t this more popular?????
Recommend? YASS I DOO!
Birthmarked. I really wonder why this book isn’t more popular, especially among other dystopian books. It is easily different yet entirely so similar to the other dystopian books! And I like that it has actual themes and ideas relatable to the individual self. For one (I don’t know if if it was only my version), the end of the book has some pretty serious questions on how Gaia’s (the main character, heroine) changes throughout the book. There is also an obvious theme, sort of like there was in Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. Is it better for society as a whole for a small portion of society to be in poverty and have the majority profit from the struggles of such? Is it truly beneficial to society as a whole to have the government dictate everything in order to keep everything secure and safe? The book shows both sides and therefore neither side can be the completely right side.
When Leon asks Gaia if she thought living outside the wall was better, I think she gave a very realistic answer when she admitted that it would have been better inside, but being outside was what she had and she would deal with that (or something along those lines). I feel like the book kept a very fine boundary between fiction and reality.
Now for the actual book? Summary time!
Gaia Stone is a girl who lives outside the wall because even though she should have been advanced into the life within the walls, she was badly scarred. she would not be educated, cared for, live a life of luxury, or know what it means to be truly wealthy in the sense of both family and money. However she has her parents and a friend. With that, Gaia has grown to be a midwife like her mother.
Every month Gaia has a quota she has to meet for advancing children tot he Enclave, the society inside the walls. Her first birthing isn’t the easiest as the mother did not want to give away her baby. After that horrible experience she comes home to find a guard from the Enclave, Sgt. Grey, ready to question her about her parents who have just been arrested.
Even though Gaia thinks she has what Sgt. Grey is looking for, she does not hand it over. What follows is the deep questioning of the moral right for one man to convince an entire population that giving up babies to wealthier families is right or wrong. A system that started out only to help because a corrupt system.
Gaia has to find her parents, she ends up inside the wall and even though is arrested by Sgt. Grey, his soft spot for her whenever she is concerned makes my heart makes Gaia even more dangerous Sgt Leon Grey finds himself entangled with Gaia in an adventure that’ll take them to the wasteland…?
I’m not good at this whole “no spoiler” thing . I’m sorry. I’ll get better, I promise.
Gaia Stone: I have never been this indifferent to a character before. I don’t know why because I’m very happy that there is a character in a dystopian novel who isn’t pretty or untouched by the world. She’s not perfect, and every time you look at her (or read her name) you know she isn’t. She knows she isn’t either, and it bothers her; she doesn’t magically feel self-confident despite her scar. And yet she’s so stubborn and relentless when she sets her mind to something. I just…feel nothing. I felt proud of her at the end, so that was good. I felt the same way toward Tris in Divergent so it might just be me.
Sgt. Leon Grey: Oh my gosh. This man. He isn’t perfect. He’s made some pretty BIG mistakes. And they make my heart break…however when you think of his heart, what he has in there, what he did and is doing for Gaia…I just want to cry. I don’t wan to spoil anything but it’s so hard. Like how do I explain to you people how much I love this man without explaining the various situations and events that made me love him more and more. Uhg he’s great. He’s just…I like that they’re relationship was slow to the develop (Leon and Gaia’s). You saw it coming from the very first (or second) chapter but you didn’t expect it to take so long and feel so right. Leon…I love you. I love you so much. I really want to see you in Prized so you better be in there…
Parents: I think Gaia’s mother was very selfish in all her decisions. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing but I feel that intention is only an intention, it’s still not an action. Her mother could have done so much in order to avoid the huge catastrophe that’s going to hit Enclave and her daughter. I would think it was an accidental flaw in character if it wasn’t for Caragh’s ability to great wholesome characters like Leon and Gaia. I loved her father though; he seemed like a very smart man (understatement that will be realized once you read the book). Gaia’s father also wasn’t perfect, but he was smart and he tried hard. I liked Gaia’s flashbacks even though the major of time in books, flashbacks are my “okay, gotta get through this” point. He gave her some pretty great advice
Sgt. Jack Barlett: Minor character that I think deserves huge praise. I just like him. He’s like Leon but not…he’s similar to Leon in morality and good heartedness but I guess it stops there. He seems like a really soft guy that will work hard for what he believes is right, just like Gaia (heh xD) I’ll just move on now before I ruin anything…I probably already have.
I thought it was funny that they were on bicycles. “She glanced behind her to see soldiers chasing her on foot, their rifles pointed and she shrieked in fear. Around the next corner, four more guards appeared on bicycles.”
“The infant boy;s head rolled with a familiar bobble, his skin showed a mottled red, and with a lurch of his uncoordinated arms, the baby gave our his first, mewing cry of outrage: outrage at being alive.”
“Such a good girl,” her mother murmured, “So beautiful.”
In all, I loved this book! It was action packed, face-reality packed, ad dystopian packed. I haven’t been reading a lot of dystopian lately and this felt like a whole new category of it’s own to be honest. The story flowed pretty seamlessly even though there were a couple of “OH MY GOSSSHHH” moments, it was very interesting. There wasn’t as much humor as I’ve developed into wanting in my stories by Sgt. Leon Grey made up for it all thankfully! Not just the humor too but the romance; there was a little bit of romance in the end and I’m someone that demands romance in preetty much everything I read. It was very interesting for me to have such a positive reaction towards a book that didn’t have too much romance. Again, I think it has to do with the full picture of the morality theme here. Lol I’m definitely in love with Sgt. Leon Grey though. He had better show up in Prized.
I’m definitely keeping a look out for Prized because I’m really excited to see what awaits Gaia and a special special someone (who isn’t Leon xD).
To be frank I have read this book before, twice actually. It’s just one of those things where I felt pretty content with the ending of the first book so I never bothered to move on. However, now that I’ve read it in depth, no school to keep me distracted, AND I’ll have the next book in my hand very, very soon, it’s very very likely that I’ll read Prized which makes it more likely that I’ll read Promised also. i literally CANNOT wait for this. You don’t understand, just read it if it seems like something of your taste.
And that’s all!
See you around, my wonderfuls!!