[review] Birthmarked by Caragh M. O’Brien

Gaia has spent her life training to be a midwife, like her mother. Forced to deliver a quota of babies to the Enclave where the rich live luxurious lives, Gaia has never questioned the Enclave, but the night she meets Captain Leon Grey all that changes.

Birthmarked (Birthmarked, #1)I was initially drawn to Birthmarked by its premise. I have an addiction to dystopians, and especially dystopians that focus on female-centered problems (i.e. Wither, XVI, etc.), and at first I was really happy with where the book was going. I liked the contrast between the Enclave and outside the Enclave. I liked that the protagonist had a scarred face. I liked the pregnancy scenes because hey, that’s something I might go through some day (probably not) and it’s nice getting to read about some of the ins and outs instead of just reading about the breathing and the pain and the pushing.

But then things started to get…kind of unbelievable. Like when it pulled a Once Upon a Time and had an escape with a newborn child. Yeah, because running around with a newborn baby sounds like a thing that could TOTALLY HAPPEN. And please don’t get me started on the ending. I didn’t want to deal with it when another YA novel that I LOVED did it to me, and I certainly didn’t want to deal with it this time.

Dear YA authors,
Please stop it with the cliff hangers. I promise we’ll read the next book if you give us well-written stories. You don’t need to tear our sanity apart.
Coffee & Wizards
P.S. Send more guys like Po.

Books with similar aspects
Wither by Lauren Destefano
XVI by Julia Karr
Delirium by Lauren Oliver

recommended to dystopian fans
not recommended to those who didn’t enjoy any of the books with similar aspects mentioned above

Don’t just take my word for it!

“This was definitely a story that valued the importance of family, which is nice to see in YA novels.” – Kyle @ A Reader’s Pensieve

“Overall, this book was completely engaging and thought-provoking.” – YA Infatuation

“I was really looking forward to reading it and while at first I found it difficult to get into, once Birthmarked hit its stride, I found myself completely lost in the story.” – Fluttering Butterflies

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About megtao

Student. Writer. Nerdfighter. Fights for love, justice, and awesome.
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17 Responses to [review] Birthmarked by Caragh M. O’Brien

  1. Ahhhh the cliffhanger!! I really don’t understand this mentality that you need to write one big giant story and chop it into 3 (or whatever but usually 3) each one should have it’s own complete story!! And if that story was good and intriguing and I want to see what happens to the characters next I will read the next book. Drives me insane!!

  2. Brittany says:

    Ahh very interesting! I loved Delirium and Wither and XVI is on my TBR list and in my possesion thanks to the library! This is something I’ve been meaning to read, so thank you for the review!! I may not be happy about the cliffhanger though…

  3. Candice says:

    I like cliffhangers in second books… but not like in your face cliffhangers. More like subtle ones that leaving you wanting more but you’re not just completely cut off from a story. And as fond as I am of series, sometimes it’s nice to just have a start and a finish between one cover. But you’re right… if there’s quality work, then we WANT to read the next book because we know it’s quality work. It’s sort of a dirty trick to use cliffhangers so we have to know what’s next because of the cliffhanger rather than wanting to read more of the writers writing (I’m pretty sure that sentence made no sense!).

  4. I think I liked this book so much because it’s pretty different from other dystopians out there, but YES WITH THE CLIFFHANGERS PLEASE STOP

  5. Lisa says:

    ” I promise we’ll read the next book if you give us well-written stories.” THIS.

    I’d like to sign that petition please.

    • megtao says:

      I feel like a lot of books try to trick you into reading, into continuing to read, and it’s like… just be honest with me. Stop with all the ploys. I am a reader; I will read your book if you write a good one. Just write good books!

  6. The premise of this book interested me initially, but it actually didn’t grab me when I was at the bookstore and saw this book. I’m still on the fence about it, but thanks for the review!

  7. aimee says:

    I just got this book from the library, but I know nothing about it (though I guess now I know everything that you’ve said here). I’m intrigued though, even about that Once Upon a Time baby!escape. XD (Hey, I loved it in the show, especially the scene right before when Charming fought some evil minions with a newborn baby in his arms.)

    and YES, I am sick of the cliffhangers too because my heart can’t handle them all. Where are the nice AND VOLDEMORT WILL PLOT EVERYONE’S DEMISE AND SIRIUS BLACK IS DEAD, BUT HEY, THE YEAR HAS ENDED AND HARRY IS OFF HOME AND THINGS ARE STILL KIND OF CONCLUSIVE EVEN THOUGH MY EYES HURT FROM CRYING endings? (lol, okay, that was a bad example, though with the school year over, there was a limit on the cliffhanger material, even with the tear ducts hurting from overuse.)

    Definitely bumping this up on the TBR (especially because you listed Delirium as a similar book – I love that one a little TOO much, if such a thing is possible.)

  8. I have a signed copy of Birthmarked and honestly your review makes it sound really good. Like, yes the cliffhanger would bug me, but there’s always the library for me to grab the sequel.

    • megtao says:

      Lol it did? Awesome. Guess I managed that balanced review thing XD

      My library doesn’t have the sequel for some reason, which is really annoying because I want to know what happens next, but I don’t like the book enough to actually buy it. And if i buy Prized I’d have to buy Birthmarked because that’s how I am.

    • megtao says:

      Wait…I lied. I just went to check my library, and they just started cataloguing Prized so…yay!

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