Confined to Oasis after the war people are genetically matched via matching birth marks. City Ordinance makes sure mutagen free status is maintained. But in a world of marked people, what happens when you're blank?
Thank you to NetGalley, Sabrina RG Raven, and BooksGoSocial for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Book description from Goodreads: “Confined to Oasis after the war people are genetically matched via matching birth marks. City Ordinance makes sure mutagen free status is maintained. But in a world of marked people, what happens when you’re blank?”
The premise of this novel sounds so very interesting, right? Well, sort of. The pacing of this book was a bit odd. You have three characters: Almara, Zale, and Darnell. Almara and Darnell are Blanks, while Zale has removed his mark. Almara is the only first person perspective, while the other two characters are third person limited. Why?
Anyway, so the beginning of the book (maybe the first six chapters or so) is absolutely amazing. Super interesting, high stakes events going on with all three characters (although their stories do not intertwine until near the end). It felt like the climax was at the beginning of the book. Then the next thirteen or so chapters are like one long falling action, until around chapter twenty when there is another climax, although it doesn’t quite feel as epic as the beginning of the book.
That said, it is still an interesting concept. In this society, people are matched with their significant others based on a matching mark that they are born with. Blanks have no mark, and by city ordinance, are not see an human. Most Blanks are killed or secretly taken to a facility where they become test subjects. They are deemed unsafe because of their “genetic impurity” as it were.
Darnell is a Blank taken away to live in a cabin out in the woods somewhere when he was just an infant. When the authority finally comes for him, his mother is injured and he is on his own out in the world for the first time in his life.
Zale lives in a community that does not follow city ordinance. Far from the main populations, Zale’s community allows same sex relationships (which is unheard of because marks would never appear on someone to allow such a thing). Zale and his partner, Allen, have removed their marks so they may live together as lovers. Blanks are also welcome in their community. But one day, everything changes when the Authority (or so they think) comes raging in to destroy the life they know.
As the events of the book progress, all the characters will find their stories intertwining.
Overall, this wasn’t my favorite book, but it definitely wasn’t bad either. The most negative thing I have to say is that I requested the e-galley AFTER publication, and there are so many…SO MANY typos that it was hard to focus at times. Some of the sentence construction felt off at times as well. That aside, I really liked the dystopian feel of the world and the general concept. The science behind some of the events and explanations was also rather interesting. While I do like the book, I feel like a number of events could have been moved around or done differently to make the book feel even more lively. With enough effort, I think a decent sequel in this world could likewise be an interesting read.
Blank by Sabrina R.G. Raven is a Teens and Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy book. I gave it five stars because it captured my attention from the first paragraph. People are matched genetically via birthmarks.
"Everyone in the world is born with a tattoo that matches their soul mates. We couple for life. I have no idea, even now, how it all works, how that soul mate is always close enough to be found, but I am blank. That is why my parents wept."
"My sister was born when I was three. She had her mark emblazoned on her calf, the same place as my mother. They named her Joy, as they were finally going to be able to get past my deformity. My name, Almara, meant one who is alone. I guess they were right."
This book alternated points of view with Almara, Darnell and Zale, who were all blanks. There were lots of satisfying twists and turns in the story. I will look for more of this author's writing.
I received a complimentary Kindle copy of Blank from Ouroborus Book Services and NetGalley. That did not change my opinion for this review.
Almara, Darnell and Zale are the main characters in this book. Every chapter it changes. Almara was born without a birthmark, a Blank, so she cannot be matched with a partner in life. She’s not welcome in the world. Her mother tries for her to have a normal life, but when she finds out more, the authorities find Almara and put her in the cube. Darnell lives with his mom outside of the city. She’s protecting him, because she knows what happens to the “Blanks”. One day, authorities find them and he escapes and his journey begins. Zale lives with his partner Allen in a place where he and others who have birthmarks are welcomed. They didn’t want to be partnered with their birthmark-partners and have the birthmarks removed, to be with the ones they love. Their compound gets attacked and when the chance of revenge comes days later. He gets captured.
This book started out slow. Finally by 60% it got interesting and fast paced. The characters get together by the end, but the ending?? So disappointing. At 99% to put in a plot twist and that epilogue...that is why I’m taking off one star of my review.
I received this ebook from the publisher and NetGalley for an honest review.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
This book was a bit difficult to read if I'm being honest. I felt at time it was rushed in certain areas. Definitely could have dragged it out more. The whole concept of the storie was really interesting and has got me wondering where the story will go.
I was really excited to have the opportunity to read this book after reading the description, however, I am a bit torn on how I feel about it.
First off, I will list what I did like about the book. I liked Almara and Darnell's character. They seemed to lack depth to me but they were pleasant enough. Though, if I'm being honest, I preferred the secondary characters like Coo, Jaylon, Amma, and Ahn to any of the main characters. They just seemed to have more substance to them than the main characters and had more engaging personalities.
I also love the dystopian theme and I thought that the set up and plot of this story was really well done. It takes from some popular ideas but definitely is still unique with its own spin on things.
And for what I didn't like. First off, Zale. I honestly thought his character was terrible. He is boring, whiny, impulsive and constantly talks about Allen (which felt really stifling and unnatural for this genre). They talk to each other like a parent does to a toddler. Also, Zale can't make it long without dropping f-bombs or other use of foul language. It really just makes his character seem highly uneducated, as he lacks a diverse vocabulary, and really crude. At the end of the book, I found some of his actions to be terribly selfish as well. As long as he has Allen, he doesn't seem to care about anyone else. Allen isn't too bad, but his character seems rather inconsistent as he jumps from being really helpful and knowledgable to having breakdowns. the next minute.
As an additional warning, this book is labeled as YA, but I highly disagree with that. It has TONS of foul language and mature violent content. As an adult I did not feel comfortable with some parts and had to skim because it bothered me so bad. There is no way I would let my child read something like this.
All three of the main characters lacked depth. They weren't very relatable or interesting, though I did enjoy reading Almara and Darnell's story. Often because of the other characters that helped make the story more interesting.
The story did seem to have some inconsistencies and the pacing seemed rather unbalanced at points, but overall it was an interesting read and left off on a huge cliff-hanger. I would probably be interested in reading the next book or a detailed review of it to see where the story goes.
A few things that would be nice to see in a sequel to this book: more dynamic growth in the main characters, WAY LESS bad language, and for Zale to finally drop his clingy attachment issues and become more independent (you can be in a relationship and still do things on your own!).
I am a huge fan of young adult novels. I feel that they sometimes tackle tough subjects in a less encumbered way.
Blank is one such novel. The topic is what some could call a drive towards genetic 'purity' with residents of Oasis being matched for compatibility by their birthmarks. Yet, some children are born blank and ultimately taken from society. Along with the need to be marked, the society also frowns upon anyone who deviates from their genetic match.
This novel follows the path of a few different blank children and people who intersect their lives. You also meet some who fell in love with someone who was not their genetic match and try to escape to a safe haven community.
I was completely engrossed in this novel with serious dystopian tendencies. The end is left where the story could be continued. I hope the author decides to do just that as the themes of diversity and love are crying out for more.
Note ~ I was provided with an advance reader copy from NetGalley. No review was promised and all thoughts are my own.
I found this book to be a good book. I'm not normally a fan of birthmark stories matching for their soulmates as I believe their overdone, little did I know that this wasn't that kind of story. When my nine year old niece asked if she could read it, I strictly told her that it was not a book for her. Seeing some scenes made me realise that the author herself, Sabrina was not kidding when she said that it was an adult book.
The ending for me was a bit confusing, I had to reread it a couple of times to process what happened as it was a bit fast. As it is a solo novel I wasn't expecting for it to cut off when they just arrived to the other region. But I suppose it's good for an open ending.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
In a world of marked people, life is unfair to those who are unmarked known as blank. Those who are marked are genetically modified to find the perfect match, their birthmark partner. The story follows three different main characters with different backgrounds and circumstances. In this world blank people are arrested and secure in the Cube, the organization responsible for studying them and do others less ethic procedures. We get to know through the book the dark side of that perfect lifestyle. Like any society there are always those who are left out and, since they are a danger to the welfare of this idealism, treated as aberrations. Good characters, each one with engaging stories of love, drama and suspense. The way their story constructs around this marked system is very interesting. I liked the fact I couldn’t predict the story, there was always something to surprise you, good or bad. I also liked the way was written and with different narrations helps the reader get a better global perspective of their world. The ending was a little disappointing so I hope there will be a sequel. I would love to know what happens next. I enjoyed the book and I would recommend to anyone who likes dystopia sci-fi. I received a free copy of this book on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Ebook provided by NetGalley for review. Thank you.
This started out as a 5, then I thought a 4 and by the end it had dropped to a 3. The ending was disappointingly open and apparently with no plans for a sequel.
The characters were a mixed bag, I liked Darnell and loved Zale but Almara was flat and under-developed, she had very little growth compared to the others. The world-building was rich and interesting and perfectly set-up for scope to expand into a series. I loved the authors take on the soulmate idea and I highly appreciated the inclusion of gay characters.
I loved plot of Blank! Wonderful characters, Darnell as naive as he was. Almara headstrong, and a will to live. Zell honestly not a fan....This is a world where Blanks are seen as defects, and are put to death, the society doesn't want them seen or to interact with them..Why? Well they love in a world where everyone is born with a birthmark, and which allows them to find their person, soulmate. To be without a birthmark makes you a problem....