29 November 2009

Birthmarked; Caragh M. O'Brien

Birthmarked Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'Brien
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Set about 300 years in the future, after the "cool age" (which seems to represent both the time during which we were dependent on oil and possibly pre-serious global warming), this dystopian novel hits all the usual notes: babies born with genetic problems (here, due to inbreeding), a division between the haves and have-nots, babies taken from families are reared elsewhere, etc..

The Enclave's insistence on perfection is what ultimately saves Gaia (yep, the name is significant), who has a disfiguring scar on her face. She's also saved by her naivete and intelligence, and by her non-unexpected knack for getting people to help her (even when they'd be at risk for doing so). None of the characters feel real, they're more like character sketches that still need to be filled in.

While the ending, and the uncertainty of what the rest of America is like at this time, lends itself to a series, my hope is that this is a one-off.

ARC provided by publisher

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