Lady Bren's Reviews > Birthmarked

Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'Brien
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really liked it
bookshelves: ya, audio-books, fantasy, read-heard-in-2014
Read 2 times. Last read January 12, 2014 to January 13, 2014.

** spoiler alert ** I was so intrigued by the idea of this book as it reminded me of Margaret AtwoodThe Handmaid's Taleand it didn't fail to live up to those expectations.
Set in 2300 United States the population is divided into those who line in the Enclave and those who live outside. Why or how the population was originally divided was never quite explained however as this is a series I'm sure it will be further explored. Those inside the Enclave have technology, school and abundant resources. The population outside the Enclave while devoid of even the basics including abundant supply of water have one thing those inside don't ~ healthy babies.
Gaia is the daughter of , a midwife and a tailor. She's their third child yet the only one they've been allowed to keep. Every month each midwife in every section outside the Enclave are required to turn over the first three healthy children they deliver to the Enclave within 90 minutes of those births to be Advanced. Gaia's older brothers were advanced to the Protectorate and her parents light two candles every night in their honor.
Why the population of Wharfton allows their children to be taken from them was so frustrating to me. Was it because they wanted their children to have a better life inside the Enclave or simply out of fear if they refused to oblige.
We meet Gaia at her first solo delivery. She's decided to follow her mother's path and serve as a midwife for her district. The delivery goes smoothly and she follows everything her mother has taught her down to the 4 needle pricks in the infant's ankle. After she leaves the distraught mother and delivers the baby to the Protectorate she returns home to discover her parents have been arrested for crimes against the state. Just before walking in her house Old Meg meets her in the shadows. She gives Meg a package from her mother with instructions to hide it by tying inside her leg.
Gaia is determined to discover what happened to her parents. The only way she can truly know is to get inside the Enclave. However getting inside isn't her only obstacle. Gaia won't easily blend in as she bears a large scar on her face. It was this scar that saved her from being taken and Advanced as a baby. How can Gaia trust anyone inside the Enclave to help her when everyone's so devoted to this way of life? Why does the 4 marks she, like her mother, leaves on the babies' ankles matter?

Caragh O'Brien has written a wonderful tale. I was so pleased that things were not easily sewn up. Mistakes happened to the characters along the way, not ever problem was solved, everyone wasn't nice or trust worthy; you don't find that in many books lately. Gaia had real questions, struggled for their answers. Her feelings about her life, what could of been questions, were those I would have asked. The story was quite difficult to put down. Unexpected twists occurred in unexpected places.

The only reason I didn't give this 5 stars was that I listened to the audiobook. The quality of the recording was not up to par with anything I've listened to lately. More than once I could hear turning of the pages or a break being taken by the narrator[author:Carla Mercer-Meyer|6863192. I enjoyed her voice I think the problems lie with the Editors of the company that produced the recording Tantor Media. With the amount of programs allowing anyone to make quality recordings at home I expect much more of a professional recording. Had I paid for this book rather than borrow it from my library they would most definitely be hearing from me!!

My rating:
Story 5 Crowns
Audio CD 4 Crowns
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Reading Progress

January 12, 2014 – Started Reading (Hardcover Edition)
January 12, 2014 – Started Reading
January 12, 2014 – Shelved as: audio-books
January 12, 2014 – Shelved as: ya
January 12, 2014 – Shelved
January 12, 2014 – Shelved as: fantasy
January 12, 2014 – Shelved as: read-heard-in-2014
January 13, 2014 – Finished Reading
January 13, 2014 – Finished Reading (Hardcover Edition)
January 14, 2014 – Shelved (Hardcover Edition)

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