Book Review: Birthmarked (Birthmarked #1) by Caragh M. O’Brien

Birthmarked is yet another ‘lite’ dystopia published in the wake of The Hunger Games' success.  Don't get me wrong - I love dystopian YA and I'm thrilled that the genre has been thriving.  But the fallout of this success is that there are a lot more poorly-developed dystopias on the shelves.  Birthmarked isn’t badly written, but weak worldbuilding and flat characterisation made this one an unremarkable read.

Gaia Stone, the protagonist, lacks personality.  After finishing the book I still wasn’t sure who she was or why O’Brien’s other characters found the few moments when she wasn’t passively narrating life behind bars inspirational.  Gaia’s love interest was a little bit more fleshed out, but still forgettable.

The dystopian society of Birthmarked was interesting, but unoriginal, and the big mystery was completely senseless; there was absolutely no reason for the main conflict and no reason for the actions of the majority of the characters.  I was constantly aware of the author trying to force the plot along, which is never a good sign.

I don’t have any more to say about this one because there’s honestly not a lot you can say about a book that’s this bland.  I won’t be continuing with this series.

Rating: 1.5 stars
Review cross-posted to Goodreads

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