July 13, 2013

Book review: Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'Brien

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In the Enclave, your scars set you apart, and the newly born will change the future.
In the future, in a world baked dry by the harsh sun, there are those who live inside the walled Enclave and those, like sixteen-year-old Gaia Stone, who live outside. Following in her mother's footsteps Gaia has become a midwife, delivering babies in the world outside the wall and handing a quota over to be "advanced" into the privileged society of the Enclave. Gaia has always believed this is her duty, until the night her mother and father are arrested by the very people they so loyally serve. Now Gaia is forced to question everything she has been taught, but her choice is simple: enter the world of the Enclave to rescue her parents, or die trying.
A stunning adventure brought to life by a memorable heroine, this dystopian debut will have readers racing all the way to the dramatic finish

Rating: 3 stars (out of 5)

There were many similarities between Birthmarked and The Line, a book I reviewed in April. Both had interesting premises, based on their descriptions, both turned out to be different types of stories than I anticipated, and both failed to live up to expectations.

Like The Line, the main problem with Birthmarked was how slowly it moved. Whenever the plot reached a point where I expected it to pick up, the author stretched it out with long scene descriptions or having the characters make choices that lessened the tension. Whereas The Line was agonizingly slow in the beginning and then picked up, Birthmarked maintained its sluggish pace throughout. However, it was a better book than The Line overall.

I wouldn't say that I hated the novel though. After all, it received three stars, not one or two. There were parts of it that I liked, for example the small reveals that the author provided as the plot unfolded. I also liked the male protagonist almost from the beginning. Birthmarked had a lot of potential to be better. Unfortunately, it never got there.

I read this book as part of the Authors A to Z reading challenge. Next up: Private Games by James Patterson.

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