Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Birthmarked, Caragh M O'Brien

Some ladies in my neighborhood started a book club and this was the first book. Luckily it also fit into my 2016 Challenge as a Dystopia.

I give this 3.5 stars, rounded up in Goodreads to 4 because it was entertaining and captivating. I read it in just a few days.

This one doesn't have a whole lot of back story about how the world became what it currently is, but it takes place near what used to be one of the great lakes that is now dried up and referred to as the "unlake". There is a society built inside a wall and people who live outside the wall. Reminiscent of 'Divergent' there are genetic problems-for the people inside the wall, it was starting with a too small population and the genetic fall out of inbreeding. So in exchange for meager supplies for survival outside the wall, there is a quota of babies born each month that are forced into being given up for adoption by citizens within the wall. Gaia, our protagonist, is an assistant midwife to her mother, who is the midwife to citizens outside the wall. All is as it should be until Gaia's parents are arrested and then of course, everything she thought she knew about the "system" is shattered and the adventure ensues.

While not terribly original, there's no love triangle, there were some twists and turns that I wasn't expecting. And while Gaia is incredibly naive, it's fairly believable, given her circumstances. I still don't get this society though. For instance, on genetic fall out is that hemophilia is surfacing at an epidemic rate and several children die from bleeding out. However, the doctors in the society are forbidden to keep a blood bank or anything that could save them, because that would take too many resources and they can't focus on the "one" because they have to think for the good of "all". One Dr. gets arrested because she is attempting to find a way to treat it, because of that ideology. But doesn't helping one help all? I mean, if they DID find a cure by trying things out on one, couldn't they reproduce it on a large scale for all? So far, it seems that the governing body only sees a solution in increasing the gene pool's diversity by increasing the baby quota instead of just opening up their city to everyone and doing away with the wall. There is a fun little code to crack, but it's much simpler than the one, say in, "Gregor the Overlander" series. This one was obvious to me quite quickly, whereas the other one had me guessing for awhile.

I didn't realize this was a series until I got near the end and realized that there was no way there could be a solid ending. But I guess there are 3 books and 2 novellas. Luckily for me, they're all published so I won't have to wait. I'm definitely interested enough to see what happens, but I'm not chomping at the bit to get them. I'm going to finish the other two books I have going first. And the one on hold at the library that'll be coming soon (the last Selection one, the sequel to The Heir). Then I'll come back to these maybe in between books for the annual challenge and the Rory Gilmore challenge.

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