by Sarah Dalton
Published August 2012
Amazon * Smashwords
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.
My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this book. I love dystopian novels, and this was both fresh and entertaining. The story is set in Britain where there are two kinds of people, the GEMS and The Blemished. With advances in cloning and genetic mapping, parents are now able to choose their children's genetic makeup, eliminating and outlawing the need for traditional pregnancy. Those who are genetically enhances are considered GEMS. Those who are not, are labeled as blemished and are forced to live segregated from the GEMS, wearing clothing identifying them as blemished, serving the GEMS, and are basically considered damaged goods. They are the result of a normal pregnancy but have some sort of genetic predisposition or familial trait that is undesired. Mina and her father have moved to a new town, a new area, in hope of a fresh start. Mina and her father are considered blemished. She meets a new friend on her first day of school, Angela, and they really click. Mina has a big secret, which she and her dad have tried to keep hidden. Then she meets Angela's brother Daniel, who also has a secret, a secret which involves Mina. Daniel is quite the hottie and he is very taken with Mina. Also is the picture is a GEM, Sebastian, who is very interested in her also, even though it is forbidden. Events unfold, friendships are formed, romance is kindled, and choices are made which will forever change the lives of Mina, her friends, and her family.
Wow, I was so delightfully surprised with this book. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The story is original, fresh, and entertaining. The characters are so well written, and you really get to feel like you know them. I loved Mina. I loved her strength and her determination. I really like Daniel also. He is quite hot, and the chemistry between him and Mina is supercharged. There are quite a few secondary characters in the book that also add a lot to the story. The book is fast-pasted and filled with action, mystery, and murder, with twists and turns that keep you guessing and turning the next page to see what happens. I actually read it in one day. The romance is great. There is a bit of a love triangle, or "square" as Mina would say, and I am anxious to see how that works itself out in the next book in the series. Mina is quite the heroine, and no matter what, Daniel has her back. The Blemished is a great YA dystopian, with the romance included which in my opinion helps make the book. For all you dystopian fans out there, this is one book you should check out. Great debut novel from author Sarah Dalton.
Guest Post: Inspiration and Themes in The Blemished
The Blemished is a book with many themes. I suppose the most obvious is the theme of cloning and the idea that parents can ‘design’ their babies. I’ve always been interested in the idea of cloning and the complexities of genetics. I’m not necessarily against the idea of using cloning techniques in genetics, but I wanted to explore the politics and possibilities of living in a world where there was no one around to govern it.
What I immediately thought about was the impact cloning would have on women; after all it is the women who go through labour and child-birth to keep the species alive. Pregnancy empowers and oppresses women in equal measure – it is something a man can never experience and is the reason why many women struggle to catch up with their careers, it is a gift to many women and a burden to some others. But what if you didn’t need to give birth anymore? Even worse – what if you were forced from giving birth because of your genes?
In the Britain I’ve created clones are designed to be beautiful but this beauty is exploited by the Government as a kind of trophy to the rest of the world. Whilst those who have been labelled genetically inferior live in poverty the beautiful clones are paraded in beauty contests and competitions for film roles. Their world is one designed to distract the world and The Blemished from the real oppression which is going on, but the main character, Mina, sees right through this.
In the midst of a crumbling society, one which people are finally waking up to and realising how empty and insignificant it is, Mina is trying to grow up. She is lumbered with a special power. She is different and for her that isn’t a good thing. She is trying to make friends, relate to her dad and work out her hormonal emotions.
Like all dystopias The Blemished is about rebellion. It is about standing out and being different in a world where that is frowned upon. But it is also about entertainment! There is enough adventure and chase and romance and friendship and action for you to curl up on a rainy Sunday to get lost in a new world. But if after that Sunday ends you are still thinking about some of the themes in The Blemished then I’ll have done my job.
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