Review – Birthmarked by Caragh O’Brien

Today we hear from Bookbabbler Luke..

Birthmarked – Caragh O’Brien

In the future, in a world destroyed by the harsh sun, there are those who live in luxury inside the walled enclave and those, like sixteen year old Gaia stone, who live outside- struggling to survive. Each month the people outside must deliver a quota of babies to the Enclave, to be raised by the parents within and brainwashed to forget about the world outside.

This is the way it’s always been, and the way Gaia thinks it should be…..until here parents are arrested on suspicion of hiding a code; a code revealing the secrets of the “advanced” babies. Realising she is her parents only hope for survival, Gaia ventures inside the wall to rescue them. But she soon discovers that the Enclave is not as perfect as it appears; the gene pool has become too small and genetic irregularities are developing-something the brutal government want to stop. At any cost. Can Gaia break the code and discover the truth, before its too late?

Must say I started this book with reservations as the first page began with the birthing of a child, but after reading the blurb I decided it was worth continuing. We follow the story of 16 year old Gaia who is following in her mothers footsteps by becoming a midwife in Wharfton, an area outside the Enclave. Every month the first three children born from each district are given to the Enclave to be raised within by adoptive parents. It soon becomes clear that all is not well in the Enclave which is regarded by the inhabitants of Wharfton as utopia. Gaia’s parents are taken prisoner in the Enclave and Gaia has no idea why. We follow her as she enters the Enclave to find her missing parents, and to discover why they are being held prisoners. One of the first things she witnesses is the public hanging of a man and pregnant woman. They have broken the rules of the Enclave by having a child together when it was deemed genetically incorrect to do so. It appears that the gene pool in the Enclave is resulting in a high case of haemophilia and to stop this illness then the people of the Enclave are not allowed to marry or reproduce with anyone that may carry the gene.

Gaia’s parents kept an encoded record of all the births they quoted to the Enclave, and this is the answer to the Enclaves future.

To give away any more of the story would spoil it for any potential readers, but I would highly recommend this book. Gaia is a warm, intelligent girl who you can empathise with in her search for her parents. The book is very easy to follow and comes to a great conclusion leaving you wanting more from Gaia. I hope there is a follow on from this book, if not about Gaia then about Wharfton and the Enclave.

Thoroughly enjoyed.

Thanks, Luke, and thanks to Simon & Schuster Childrens Books for sending us a copy. It’s here for you to buy now..