Published date: October 2nd, 2012
Publisher: Roaring Book Press
Pages: 304 (hardcover)
There isn't any way, verbal or written, for me to begin to explain the magnificence of the Birthmarked trilogy. The world that O'Brien has made is one of complete beauty, but also the tinge of malice and hatred lurk in the shadows of Birthmarked's dystopian setting.
At the forefront of the dystopian craze, Birthmarked overshadows all of the others on the shelves. It takes all that we know about the clichéd world of post-apocalypse literature and presents something fresher, more exciting to the long exhausted metaphorical table. From the dry wastelands to the unlake, Gaia's world is an oddity that was one of the first tastes I'd gotten of the YA genre. This trilogy has been always one of my favorites ever since I'd seen the first version of the cover. I regret, sorely, that my reaction to the last book, Promised, was not liken to the first.
I feel like most teen books today focus too much on the romance, (which honestly is more like lust, as I've stated before) but O'Brien has been very good about adding the goods into her books. By that I mean, Gaia actually loves the man she falls in love with. A man who is almost as strong as she is. Since the last book Gaia has grown so much into her new role and with that comes a great deal of courage. She isn't the little girl from Birthmarked anymore. That made me equal parts sad and happy, both for good reason.
Though for some reason I felt that Promised was missing the key ingredient that was so embedded into the first book. It felt like as the trilogy continued it lost some of its spark. The characters all remained lively, but the plot drifted off and became very predictable. But in the end, it felt like everything clicked into place. Missing some characters, but also gaining new ones.
All of them, though, will forever live between the pages of the greatest dystopian series I've read to date.