Review: The Blemished by Sarah Dalton

The Blemished

A beautiful world comes at a price...

In a world filled with stunning clones Mina Hart is Blemished. Her genes are worthless and that takes away her rights: her right to an Education, her right to a normal life and her right to have a child.

Mina keeps a dangerous secret which she never thought she could share until she meets Angela on her first day at St Jude's School. But their friendship is soon complicated by Angela’s adoptive brother Daniel. Mina finds herself drawn to his mysterious powers and impulsive nature. Then there is the gorgeous clone Sebastian who Mina is forbidden from even speaking to…
The Blemished is a frightening take on a fractured future where the Genetic Enhancement Ministry have taken control of Britain. It will take you on a ride filled with adventure, romance and rebellion.

(cover image and summary lifted from Goodreads)

Series: Blemished #1
Publisher: Createspace
Publication date: September 11, 2013
Source/Format: I received an e-copy of this book from the author as part of the 2015 YA Spring Fling. This in no way affects my views.
Purchase links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
My Rating: ★★☆☆☆

My Thoughts:
The premise of the book has immensely intrigued me. There is this fifteen-year old girl, Mina, who is among the Blemished. She is new in town (Area 14) and in School (St. Jude). She and her dad escaped from their previous place because, a great secret about Mina that will get her more ostracized was revealed. She was born just as Britain’s government was overtaken by people who want nothing but perfect genes to run on humanity. The Blemished, who are born from the natural way, are required by the new sinister government to serve the GEMs, who are genetically modified clones. There are lots of iniquities going on in this dystopic world, among them are having to wear tunic and headscarves for Blemished girls and having no right to go to school for Blemished boys.  Also, the Blemished girls are operated on by the government upon reaching the age of sixteen so that they lose their capacity to reproduce. This Operation has something malicious to it because it has resulted in women going a bit haywired. Most of the Blemished children are orphan or with parents who are not capable of taking good care for them.

All of these unfortunate circumstances made me root for Mina at the start. But as I was traversing along my read, I got really annoyed with Mina’s character and I doubt that the author deliberately made her an unlikable heroine. There were these tight situations where Mina has wounded into because she made a bad choice but she always gets saved at the last minute. And the ways she got out of trouble was always too-convenient and felt contrived for me.

Another thing that I don’t appreciate is the shallowness of Mina’s relationships. First, she got instantly close friends with Angela after she was betrayed by one supposed friend from Area 10. Second, I didn’t find any moment with Daniel or Sebastian swoon-worthy. I guess it’s because these moments were less romance and more teen hormones. Just like Daniel said, Mina is just curious. Third, there is this uncle whom she have known for only a matter of hours and then got captured by the Enforcers. (if the author is trying to pull a Sirius-Harry relationship here, it failed miserably). I will reserve my judgment on Mina’s relationship with her dad until I finished the series because he is a totally cool guy (Gandalf-cool) and I got the feeling that he has a major revelation on why he did what he did to Mina. Lastly,  I wish that Mina’s feelings for her mother, who left her for The Resistance when she was young and is now presumed dead was delved into deeper.  The narration is from Mina’s point of view so at least I was expecting  that in her late night thoughts she is either pining for her mother’s love or she is in rage for what her mother has done. But none or little of that in this book.

And speaking of the narration’s being in the first point of view, I wish that Mina’s insecurities as a Blemished and her fears of looming dangers are expressed more in her thoughts. But I guess, Mina ain’t got no time for deep ruminations like that because just as I said this girl is busy courting dangers like it’s her mad business. If there is one thing good that I can say about the book, it is the fast-paced, action-packed narration. It is the thing that kept me reading. I’ll pick up and read the sequel just to find out if Mina’s character will grow but not for now. There are book series where you want to immediately pick up the sequel but this book is not that for me. I guess I need to take a bit of a break from Mina’s streak of senseless trouble-making antics but I still want to see her succeed in the end.
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