Series: Birthmarked by Caragh M. O’Brien
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press, 2010-2012
Genre: YA, Dystopian
Recommend: Good series, especially for those who love issues with genetics.
Favourite Line: “Even the worst feeling, with time and familiarity, became tolerable.”
Complex. That’s how my feelings are for this series. They’re complex. I started off liking the series and found it interesting. I hadn’t read a Dystopian novel yet that focused so heavily on birth, genetics and science. It seemed a bit more realistic and a little less fanciful than some of those other Dystopian novels. Great protagonists, full of teenage angst and determination. Gotta love that age, everything is so ripe!
In Prized we see our female protagonist escape from her colony with new found knowledge, a sister and pain. Where she lands is even more bizarre to me. She ends up in this female-led colony where women are the dominate and the heads of the households even though there is 1 female for every 10 males in the colony. My inner feminist was confused, was the author trying to explore the plight of women by flipping the situation around and making them the dominant? Would readers understand the control and abuse some women go through by paralleling their pain through the subservient men in Prized? What? Example. A father was in jail for killing a woman (a crime punishable by death) and his defense was that he acted in self-defense because she was an abusive spouse and mother. Ok. Obvious references to contemporary society. Yes, but, what was the purpose in all that? I got really confused as to the authors intentions with this part. I didn’t really like the women as the dominant, they weren’t considerate of their partners and babies were hoarded like candy. Jeesh. What am I not getting?
Maybe it’s because I had to wait a year to read this book, but I really didn’t like it. I couldn’t connect with the characters struggle and that ending, everyone just decides to get along? Really? Humans are that willing? I just found it to be a bit too farfetched and the protagonist wandered into annoying-and-condescending territory, and she delved so deep she couldn’t find her way back. All in all, I found the final installment to be tolerable but not enjoyable. For me. Let it be known, that I didn’t like it but I’m sure others will enjoy this conclusion to the series.
I wouldn’t say that the Birthmarked Trilogy is my favourite Dystopian series (Hunger Games anyone? Delirium? Divergent?) but it isn’t the worse. The author takes on a very popular topic and attacks it in a different way. It reminds me of the Pure series actually, but since this one came first, I’ll say that it influenced the Pure author.