Friday, November 25, 2011

Birthmarked and Prized by Caragh M. O'Brien

I devoured “Birthmarked” and “Prized” by Caragh M. O’Brien almost as fast as I did my Thanksgiving meal yesterday. Yum! I love a good dystopian and Ms. O’Brien’s story does not disappoint. It’s a very simple dystopian, but it works. The story is set in the future of Earth, hundreds of years after Lake Michigan dried up and resources around the world have become extremely limited. Society now lives in small little civilizations that are incredibly far apart and do not communicate with one another. In book one, “Birthmarked”, we meet Gaia. Gaia’s mother is a midwife and Gaia has been in training to be one too. We first meet her on her first solor birthing. Her family has faithfully served the Enclave, or so she thought. After Gaia is forced to separate the baby she just delivered from its mother and deliver it to the Enclave as is the law, she returns home to find out her parents have been arrested. Gaia doesn’t know who to trust anymore and how she’ll be able to save her family from the powerful Enclave.

That’s the basics of the story, but it’s so much more than that. It’s about a girl who has been treated by her society as damaged goods her whole life due to a scar across her face. She has to learn how to survive on her own and save her family. During all this, she’s confronted with so many obstacles including meeting a young man who drives her insane - in both a good and bad way. She has to make the decision between striking out on her own or trying to ignore what she’s learned and live a simple life in veiled ignorance. What do you think you would choose? Hrmmm....

The story evolves in book two and honestly, you could probably read book two without reading book one. The story is definitely ongoing, but once you settle in to the world, you’d figure out what’s going on. That’s all I can really say without spoiling it, but I really liked it. Gaia has to wrestle without a lot of emotional issues. There’s a bit of a love triangle going on. It’s interesting. I love how simple and clean the writing is. It’s an easy read, but not in a dumbed down kinda way. The words just flow. It’s easy to relate to the characters and understand the world they live in. It’s very cinematic. I could see it making an excellent movie. It’s solid and I say that as a huge compliment. I cannot complain about one thing.

Oh wait.. yes, I can. Book 3 doesn’t come out for awhile yet. I want to know what happens to Gaia. GAAAAAAAAH! ;o)

The “Birthmarked” series by Caragh M. O’Brien is published by Roaring Brook Press (Macmillan). I purchased “Birthmarked”, but I received an ARC of “Prized” from the publisher. (I know, I’m a very lucky lady.) Both books are available now - so go! Get a copy today.

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