the NerdHerd Reads

Just a self-proclaimed nerd who likes to read and review (mostly YA) books. You can find me on my blog The NerdHerd Reads or on Twitter @nerdherdreads. Might drink too much coffee ;) 

Birthmarked {by Caragh M. O'Brien}

Birthmarked - Caragh M. O'Brien

This review also appears on the NerdHerd Reads


This was an interesting book. Gaia, sixteen and with one side of her face burned, is in training to be a midwife like her mother. The first three babies born from each midwife are "advanced" inside the wall, to the Enclave, where they become the children of the elite society. The people outside the wall live in poverty. But everything is not as it seems with the Enclave. When Gaia's parents are arrested for seemingly no reason, Gaia bravely sneaks inside the wall to find out what is real and what is not with the Enclave.


Gaia was a likeable character for me. She wasn't like other heroines in dystopian novels. I've read a lot of dystopian, being so popular right now, and I don't often like the girls. But Gaia was realistic. She was scared, she just wanted her parents back, she followed her heart, albeit impulsively. She saw something wrong and wanted to fix it.


Another thing I liked was the fact that there wasn't an actual romance until the second book. Now, the rest of you may be asking "what is wrong with you? That's what makes a book worth reading!" But often in dystopian novels, I find that the heroine isn't trying to change society because it's wrong. She is trying to change it because she realizes it's wrong because society won't let her be with the one she "loves". (Matched, and Delirium are examples. No offense to the books, I liked them enough.) But Gaia is trying to change the Enclave because she legitimately finds it wrong. True, I suppose she didn't think so until her parents were arrested, but she was having thoughts before then.


I also find, in some instances, that a romance takes away from the point. A dystopian novel should be more than a love story. Ever read a book, and the main characters are running from something or someone and then they decide that this is the perfect time to confess their love and make out and you're just screaming at them because they're like, 3 second away from dying or being captured? (And then that something happens and you're just like I told you so) There was a scene like that in this book. I was convinced that at any moment they were going to do the same thing, and everything would be for naught because they would just be caught and did. But it didn't happen. They kept running because they kept their priorities straight. And as strange as I may be, that made me happy.


I think all that was just to say that these characters had common sense. Which is something I find lacking in characters nowadays. I enjoyed the series a lot more than I thought I would. I read all three within a few days, and would definitely recommend it.