Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Birth Marked, Caragh M. O'Brien

As is proper for post-acolypic dystopian agricultural narratives, Gaia is named Gaia. (I wonder what after?) She's also a teen midwife. Which, you know, is not the most common of tropes. Especially since part of the job description around here "advancing" four babies every month to the walled city known as the Enclave. They supply the shanty town outside with food and a measure of medical supplies, and in return the town takes their children.

Just so you know, the babies aren't being used for organ harvesting, if that was what you thought first. You have a terrible, dark wicked mind. *pause* Let's be friends! *cough* No, the kids are being adopted. They have a chance to live much better lives than the kids outside the wall. Lots of food, lots of water, better schooling, all around comfier lives. However, the Enclave only takes "perfect" children, which is why Gaia was never up for advancement. She has a fairly blatant scar across her face, caused by hot candle wax when she was small.

Anyways, there's a bit of the world. When the story opens, Gaia's just successfully completed her first solo job, and as a part of it, had to advance a new baby. It's not the best way to start a career as a midwife, for sure. She's come home in search of some tea and a hug from mom, and found that the day just got significantly worse. You don't like the government regulations on your job? HA! Try the government kidnapping your parents and sending an annoying officer down to question you about how loyal you are! Things can't get worse now! Well, except for the news that execution is on the menu for her family, you know...

Gaia quickly formulates a plan some might call foolish, or even insane. That would be because it IS insane, but let's not dwell too much on that. I mean, what else could go wrong? Aside from the public hanging...

I really liked the characters here. They weren't the kind who start shouting about their emotions all over the page, which I have heard people complain about, because "you never get to know the characters," but I like it. I mean, how often in real life are we privy to people confessing exactly how that makes them   feel in the middle of extensive trauma? Because, let's face it, these are people who have been through a lot, and none of it making them inclined to trust easily. And sometimes actions speak louder than words, after all. *smiles* I'm sorry, the romance just makes me melt inside a bit. I am so behind that relationship it is not even fit. The fact that I started shipping them from the first meeting is probably a sign of my deeply flawed idea of romance, but let's not be too nice about the details, okay?

Oh, and the death scene was one of the best ones I've read in a long time. It's just, quietly devastating.

I gave it four stars out of five. And I had to write the author, and she said there IS a sequel in the works, WHEW. If read it, you'll know why I closed the book and promptly went to her website to find the contact form. It's a very. Um. Modern ending.

P.S. Finding science in the book is a bonus game. :D Play it with your friends!


Bahnree said...

Sounds fun. Only not at all. And I want to read it. Only not at all. Hm.

Snazel said...

I think I still have here! You can take it home with you, if'n you want. ^___^

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