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.
At first the summary of this book didn’t pique my interest enough for me to pick it up. Then one of my friends kept bugging me about reading it so I finally caved and got it from the Library. This book really surprised me. Out of the sea of dystopian fiction that has been coming out this is definitely one of the better, and more original stories. I’m really surprised that it hasn’t gotten more recognition.
Gaia Stone is the best “strong female” character to come around since Katniss Everdeen of The Hunger Games. She knew what she wanted and she wasn’t going to let anyone stand in her way. I also loved that Gaia showed a real value for human life. She stands up for the life of someone who others would have normally overlooked. Gaia was a fighter in every sense of the word.
One of the most fascinating characters in Birthmarked was Capt. Leon Grey. He started out being totally deplorable. I just hated him! But then more of the truth about the government is revealed and Leon started to change and I started to like him. He wasn’t just a “hot” soldier anymore. He developed a lot of good character qualities. I especially liked that he was able to look past Gaia’s scar and love her for who she truly was, not what she looked like. The only thing that bugs me about him now is his name. I think I read a book once where the villain was named Leon and so now all I can picture is some slimy creeper guy and that’s totally not who Leon is. I definitely need to update my mental image of people named Leon.... Haha.
Birthmarked was a lot more mysterious then I would have ever guessed by the summary. There was code solving, and government secrets, not to mention prison breaks and disguises made out of baked goods. In fact the book doesn’t even explain the true reason for why the Enclave took Gaia’s parents until more than halfway through. Besides the adventure and mystery, there was also a small bit of romance and I thought it was the perfect amount. Just enough to be noticeable, but not enough to take over the whole story.
The concept of babies getting taken from their mothers to get adopted by people inside the Enclave was really sad. Mothers had no say over whether or not their baby got taken. It all depended on when they were born. One thing that kind of bugged me was that it wasn’t really explained how the society had become the way it was. Why was everyone so segregated? Why were some people on the outside, while others were privileged insiders? All the book tells you is that its about 450 years into the future. Maybe more will be explained about the societies history in the sequel? I hope so!
Overall Birthmarked was an exciting dystopian read. There were lots of unexpected plot twists and I really liked the characters. The cliffhanger ending definitely has me looking forward to the sequels! I give Birthmarked 4 and a half out of 5 ice cream cones!
This is a planned trilogy and I am so curious to see where the story ends up going. I don't know when the next one comes out but hopefully soon because I cannot wait.