Review Detail

4.8 4
Young Adult Fiction 4780
Solid Dystopia
Overall rating
Writing Style
Birthmarked is a good read, not incredibly fast paced, the way The Hunger Games is, but it moves along steadily. The characters feel realistic and multidimensional. My only real criticism of the novel is that I could not picture any of the characters. O'Brien does wonderful descriptions of the places and the codes, but does not tend to describe people, except some of the details. This may be a good thing, if you are one of the people who likes being able to create the character's physical appearance in your mind. (Personally, I like to have a 'correct' picture, by which I mean based on the canon of the author's description.)

I do not want to spoil anything, because I know that is unbearably obnoxious, but I will say that this book flows much more like a traditional dystopia and less like some of the more cheerful ones coming out for children now. Some comparisons could be made here perhaps to The Handmaid's Tale, although obviously less harsh for the teen audience. O'Brien came up with a different plot line, focusing less on how the society came about and more on the problems within it (particularly the unforeseen complications a small population can bring). I highly recommend this as one of the better written and more original books coming out now.
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