Rachael's Reviews > Birthmarked

Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'Brien
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Sep 08, 12

Read in September, 2012

I'm kind of torn on this book. It's a good fleshing out of a postapoc society. The location (Michigan) is novel. The narrative did pull me forward, despite several plot holes. I really liked the overall theme of female competence in the face of autocratic male authority.

However, ugh. Plot holes. Remember how in the beginning when Gaia is delivering her first baby and just spews the name of the birth mother, unasked? Yeah. Keep records, folks. Come on.

And as other reviewers mentioned, I did NOT understand why _everybody_ Gaia comes into contact with is willing to bend over backwards and endanger their own lives to help her. Seriously. She's a 16 year old girl, with no special, unique talent. Sure, she's a midwife (who gets VERY lucky I'd say, based on the fact that not ONE infant dies... pretty great mortality rate for a 3rd world type area, wouldn't you say!?) but there are many others.

She's just a bit of a Mary Sue, you know? Spluh.

In the author's notes, the author thanked one of her children for making her "not kill off all the babies" which I think would have added significantly to the realism of this story/world... sad though it may be! Also, it appears she consulted with a midwife for some technical advice. Pity she didn't consult an OB for advice on the physicians in the story - the description of a breech baby being delivered is laughably unrealistic.... right up there with a sitcom birth scene.

All in all, the plot holes are pretty bad. But if you can just push them out of your mind, it's okay. I think I might read the others just to find out what happens. The "end" of this book is, again, laughable. It definitely feels like the end of a first act.
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