As you read the reviews on Bookshop Talk, you'll notice that every review is positive. No, we're not a bunch of literary
pushovers who love everything we pick up; we just see no point in telling you about a book if we didn't like it.

January 5, 2012

BIRTHMARKED and PRIZED, by Caragh M. O'Brien, 2010, 2011

In the Enclave, your scars set you apart, and the newly born will change the future. Sixteen-year-old Gaia Stone and her mother faithfully deliver their quota of three infants every month. But when Gaia's mother is brutally taken away by the very people she serves, Gaia must question whether the Enclave deserves such loyalty. A stunning adventure brought to life by a memorable heroine, this dystopian debut will have readers racing all the way to the dramatic finish.  (Goodreads on BIRTHMARKED)

Review by Lynn Hicken - Dystopiaddict

You can guess from my tagline that I love dystopia.  They seem to be my favorite reads out of the YA genre.  Not only is this series set in a bleak future with a menacing society oppressing poor people who struggle to survive (that’s pretty much all it takes to get me interested) it also has a unique and clever main character named Gaia.

But Gaia isn’t your typical YA lead, she isn’t the pretty girl that everyone loves or even the pretty girl who doesn’t think she’s pretty *coughbellacough*.  Gaia is different because when she was a baby, her face was badly burned on one side of it.  As a result, people have treated her differently her whole life.  When they look at her, all they see is the burn, with the exception of her own parents and one best friend.  It has brought her shame and rejection time and time again.

So when a handsome and complicated boy comes into the story, it isn’t Gaia’s unbelievable beauty that wins him over, it’s because she is amazing, all on her own.  She is brave, and strong, and stands for what she believes is right.

When I read BIRTHMARKED and PRIZED, I couldn’t put them down.  And when I was done reading them, I couldn’t stop thinking about them.  I still can’t stop thinking about them.  Which is why I’m here, writing this review.  The only thing I don’t understand is why more people haven’t read this.  If you like YA dystopia, go pick this one up.  Along with its sequel, Prized, which as it just so happens, only makes the story better and more interesting.  There is a third book called Promised, due out in the Fall of 2012 and that will be the conclusion to the series.

Market: Young Adult
Language: None
Sensuality: Mild
Violence: Moderate
Mature Themes: Taking a newborn baby from its mother, death, imprisonment, abortion.

Book formats:


Alice said...

Sounds like another great read to put on my long list of to be read books.

Anonymous said...

This sounds like a terrific series! Thank you for the great review, Lynn!

Leesa said...

It's an incredible series, very spot-on review, Lynn! Still one of my favorite "undiscovered" reads - I hope this review and blog help to spread the word!

The Art of Kim Kincaid said...

Good reveiw. I too have thoroughly enjoyed this series. Just stayed up until 3:00 am finishing "Prized". For any who might be interested, featured a short story by Ms. O'Brian, entitled, "Tortured". It describes what happens to Leon after he was captured trying to escape the Enclave.

Here's the link: