Review: Birthmarked and Tortured by Caragh M. O'Brien

Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'Brien

Release Date: March 2010
Publisher: Roaring Book Press
Pages: 361 pages
Source & Format: Birthday gift; Kindle e-book
Series: Birthmarked #1

The Summary (from Amazon)
In the future, in a world baked dry by the harsh sun, there are those who live inside the wall and those, like sixteen-year-old midwife, Gaia Stone, who live outside. Gaia has always believed it is her duty, with her mother, to hand over a small quota of babies to the Enclave. But when Gaia's mother and father are arrested by the very people they so dutifully serve, Gaia is forced to question everything she has been taught to believe. Gaia's choice is now simple: enter the world of the Enclave to rescue her parents, or die trying.

Thoughts on Birthmarked
I wanted to read this book ever since I saw that prettybooks had given it such a great review! After reading the summary, I thought it'd be nice to read a dystopian that takes a completely different path than some of the others I've read. In this future, the society is divided between the privileged members of the Enclave and the impoverished community outside its wall. Gaia lives Outside, and it's the only life she's ever known. Her mother is a midwife, and she is happy to train alongside her. The role of the midwife? Aside from assisting in births, they are also responding to "advancing" the first three babies born every month into the Enclave.

Gaia returns home from her first solo delivery to discover that her parents have been arrested. They're hiding a secret, and the authorities want Gaia to help them find out what her parents were hiding. For the first time in her life, Gaia is confronted with a huge decision: assist her parents' captors or attempt a rescue.
One thing I really loved about this book was that it started right in the middle of all the action. Rather than taking a few chapters to introduce the society and the new world, you're thrown right into Gaia's world and you learn more about it as you read along. I really appreciated that because it helped me get into the story from the very beginning! The mystery unravels at the perfect pace as you learn more about why babies are advanced and why Gaia's parents are imprisoned.

Secrets and unraveling codes play a role in this story, and it was interesting to watch Gaia struggle to put together the puzzle pieces. She so desperately wants to save her family, but she's never really questioned the society before. Throw in a little romance with an Enclave guard named Leon (who has a few secrets of his own!), and I was one happy reader.
This is one series where I'll definitely be picking up the next book. I can't wait to see what happens to Gaia and Leon, as well the Society. This book had some mixed reviews, but if you like dystopians this would definitely be one worth checking out!

So Quotable
"There are some things, once they are done, that we can never question, because if we did, we wouldn't be able to go on. And we have to go on, every single day."

Release Date: December 2011
Publisher: Roaring Book Press
Pages: 30-ish pages
Source & Format: Birthday gift; Kindle e-book
Series: Birthmarked #1.5

The Summary (from Amazon)
"But what about Leon?" Now, in this new story that bridges the gap between Birthmarked and Prized, Caragh M. O'Brien answers her readers' most common question with a tale of suffering and determination from Leon's perspective. Be warned. The story is a spoiler for the first book in this award-winning trilogy. This promotional e-book includes this exclusive bridge story, as well as a teaser chapter for Prized, book two in the Birthmarked trilogy, available wherever e-books are sold November 2011.

Thoughts on Tortured
This is just a little short story that is meant to bridge the gap between the first and second books of this trilogy. I haevn't read the second book yet, so this book was a nice littler teaser for it. I'm looking forward to continuing on in this series! I won't mention anything that happens, since that would be a spoiler for the first book, but it is written from Leon's perspective. That was a nice little change that really helped you get a sense for how he felt about Gaia. I was sad it ended so soon (it's really very short), but if you enjoyed the first book, you'll definitely want to look into this.


  1. Oh. My. Gosh. I love the Birthmarked series! I read this because the author was going to be at an event I was going to so I thought, hey this sounds okay...and I was BLOWN away! I cannot get enough of Gaia and Leon, I actually put them on my TTT Best Romances, so much love for them :)

    1. I loved them in Birthmarked too! I have finished reading the rest of the series yet - mostly because I can be terrible at follow through when there is a long gap between me finishing a book and the next one coming out. Glad you love the whole series! I definitely need to finish it then!


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