Oh, wow. This book was everything I hoped it would be- and more! From the very first chapter, I had my nose stuck in it. (and trust me, my poor teachers weren’t too thrilled ;)) I can’t believe I even have to say this, but I totally recommend this!
Birthmarked is about a teenager named Gaia Stone who lives in a future society. The city is divided into two parts- a bustling, rich city inside a wall, called the Enclave, and those who live outside of it in relative poverty. Gaia and her mother are midwives. Each midwife must ‘advance’ (meaning take the baby from the mother and give it to the Enclave) her first 3 babies of each month. When Gaia’s parents are taken to jail inside the Enclave, she decides to rescue them, no matter the cost.
I’ll give you a little bit of a hint here. The Enclave is pretty messed up. Terrible things happen inside that wall. The Enclave is in a time of trouble, because they don’t keep track of who the babies come from when they are advanced. This has lead to many, many people unintentionally marrying their siblings, making the gene pool smaller, and currently the majority of babies born inside the wall have hemophilia.
I did not expect to find so much adventure in this book. Gaia has to be one of my favorite heroines now! I hate to make comparisons to The Hunger Games, but I think it is called for in this case. I think so many people enjoy Katniss as a strong female lead because of her ferocity, her unwillingness to give up on what she believes and who she loves. Katniss’ downfall, in my opinion, is her coldness. She is sometimes unfeeling because that is what is necessary for her to do to survive at the time. I always struggled with that aspect of her, because I enjoy characters with a little more warmth to them. Gaia has all of the ferocity, gall, power, nerve, strength, and wit of Katniss, but she always follows her heart as well as her head. She is not cold, she has emotions. And while Katniss can find these things inside of her relatively easily, Gaia has to put a lot of effort into finding these parts of herself.
This book changes very much from the beginning. Once you start, you definitely won’t want to stop, but where you end up at the end is much different from the beginning. It took me on an emotional roller coaster ride as well. I tend to get a little overly sentimental when it comes to books (especially the romantic bits), but WOW. I won’t spoil anything, but there is one particular scene that captured my heart. (if you’ve read it, it is the scene where Leon and Gaia are trying to leave. I cried so much. In class. It was embarrassing.) It tugs at the heartstrings, but in a pleasant way.
This is a book that no one should miss. There are a few bloody birth scenes, death scenes, and a few mentions of incest. Nothing gross or over descriptive, though. And nothing that wouldn’t be appropriate for anyone middle grade-ish and up.
I am ordering the sequel, Prized, to my local library this instant. I am still in awe of this book.
Do you have any recommendations for me? Have you read this book? 🙂