dystopia · fiction · romance · science fiction · young adult

Birthmarked by Caragh M. O’Brien


Author: Caragh M. O’Brien

Pages [hardcover]: 361

Available Now!

Opening Lines: In the dim hovel, the mother clenched her body into one final, straining push, and the baby slithered out into Gaia’s ready hands.

Favorite Character: Captain Gray, Maya


After climate change, on the north shore of Unlake Superior, a dystopian world is divided between those who live inside the wall, and those, like sixteen-year-old midwife Gaia Stone, who live outside. It’s Gaia’s job to “advance” a quota of infants from poverty into the walled Enclave, until the night one agonized mother objects, and Gaia’s parents are arrested.
Badly scarred since childhood, Gaia is a strong, resourceful loner who begins to question her society. As Gaia’s efforts to save her parents take her within the wall, she herself is arrested and imprisoned.
Fraught with difficult moral choices and rich with intricate layers of codes, BIRTHMARKED explores a colorful, cruel, eerily familiar world where one girl can make all the difference, and a real hero makes her own moral code.


I have a sort of love/hate relationship when it comes to dystopian novels. There’s The Forest of Hands and Teeth, which I didn’t like at all, and The Maze Runner, which I quickly fell in love with. [Can’t wait for the sequel!] It seems like I either love it, or I hate it. I loved Birthmarked.

It started out a little slow-then again, it takes time to get used to a radically different world, the key ingrediant to all dystopian novels. Gaia’s world is the result of a dramatic climate change, where Lake Superior has dried up to become Unlake Superior. There are no hospitals, or medicines, or countries, for that matter. There’s only Gaia’s poor hometown and the rich, bright, and merry Enclave, seperated from the town by a wall.  

Gaia is a stubborn, strong young woman who lives with a scar covering half her face. This disfigurement has caused her to loose friends and be the target of bullies. But when her parents are arrested for no apparent reason, Gaia will stop at nothing to get them back.

I loved this book. Throughout the entire novel I was trying to figure out what was coming next, why Gaia’s parents really were arrested, and if there was some deeper conspiracy going on than was originally let on. The book builds and builds and finally-it ends, right after the climax.

I for one did not know there was going to be a sequel. Going into this, I expected to get into Gaia’s world and leave immediately at the end of the novel. And now I’m waiting anxiously for a sequel that I’m glad will exist. There’s so much more to be explained, more secrets to reveal.

I give Birthmarked 5/5 stars. Go get it! 😀


8 thoughts on “Birthmarked by Caragh M. O’Brien

  1. I love this book! And I love your site! 😀 Did you read the sequels to Birthmarked? There are also novellas that fall between each of the books that are cheap or free on Kindle.


    1. Thank you so much! No, I haven’t read them yet! I keep forgetting to check them out, but I’ve been planning to reread Birthmarked soon so I’m hoping to fall back into this! 😀 Did you enjoy them? I’ll need to find those ebooks too!


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