Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'Brien

In the future, in a world baked dry by the harsh sun, there are those who live inside the wall and those, like sixteen-year-old midwife Gaia Stone, who live outside. Gaia has always believed it is her duty, with her mother, to hand over a small quota of babies to the Enclave. But when Gaia's mother and father are arrested by the very people they so dutifully serve, Gaia is forced to question everything she has been taught to believe. Gaia's choice is now simple: enter the world of the Enclave to rescue her parents, or die trying.

A friend of mine has been raving about this book for weeks now. I was really disappointed to discover that it was not available in my local library. So what did I do? Went to the neighboring county library and got a card there! I was quite surprised to find that there wasn't a wait for this book since it is fairly new.

This book has been compared many times to the Hunger Games (which if you haven't discovered yet, shame on you!), but I can't say that I'd lump them together. Ever. I really enjoyed this book, but comparing the two is as unrealistic as sticking a little-leauger in the World Series. Granted, if you liked the Hunger Games, you may be drawn to this book as well.

The book opens on the night of Gaia's first solo delivery as a midwife. I've never delivered a baby, but I've had one, and can I just say--I sure do love hospitals and medicine and medical doctors. If I lived in a time when a sixteen-year-old girl was delivering children, I wouldn't have any.

That said, I do think Gaia was incredibly courageous and determined. Once she decided something needed to be done, there was no stopping her (well, hardly any...). She did all she could to get to her parents and free them--even up to getting imprisoned herself. But that didn't stop her, and with the help of a very handsome sounding Leon, she made discoveries that made the Enclave look even more horrific than they already seemed.

The concept of this book was just appalling to me. The first three healthy, "perfect" babies born outside the wall each month were forced from their mothers at birth to be taken to the city to be raised and thus never seen or heard from again outside of Enclave. As a mother, and being seven months pregnant right now, it was just awful to think about.

I did like this book very much though. It was kind of like a car crash. You want to look away, but you just can't. It was so well-written, and though a bit disturbing, it was such an interesting concept. (Who thinks of these things?!?) Definitely put this one in your "to-read" pile!

1 comment:

Chantele said...

I felt the exact same way. :)