Overall, I felt warm-ish about Birthmarked. When it began, I found it maybe a little juvenile. At some point, I found myself shocked to discover that the book does not take place in some sort of medieval period–rather, it’s more dystopian. Either I missed that explanation completely, or it’s just not made clear at all. There’s a bit of a dead spot about 1/3 of the way through, where I wasn’t sure Gaia would ever stop being confused and naive, and it was starting to irritate me. BUT: she did, and though the change was a tad abrupt, I grew to like her anyway. I liked the secondary characters as well, and in some cases better.
In the end, I enjoyed Birthmarked well enough to check out O’Brien’s next in the series. We’ll see where this goes. It’s certainly squeaky clean, and I can’t complain about that.
(PS: I kind of want to give points off for bad copyediting. Gah. Someone is getting paid to catch comma splices and know the difference between “eve” and “eave.” They are not doing it. Rawr.)