How can I put my feelings about this book into words..? I don't think I can. This book is amazing. And it's terrifying.
This is an extremely well written Young Adult dystopia which could actually happen. And that's why it's terrifying. Look around you at the world, at the way women are treated even in this day and age, at the way beauty comes before all else (no matter how you kid yourself) and then this story becomes real.
The characters in this book are amazingly well written. Mina is so real, so believable. Even the secondary characters are real. There are flaws and strengths and confusion and loyalty and love and hate shared between all of the characters.
The plot twists and turns and jumps and keeps you hooked. I could not put this down, I turned page after page as quickly as I could. It's shocking and brutal but at the same time shows love and compassion. This is amazing writing.
Feminism is presented subtly in this book. And it's done right. It isn't about rights for women, it's about rights for everyone, which is as it should be.
In this world there are the Blemished and there are the GEMs. The GEMs are superior in every way - they are genetically modified perfection who live a privileged life centered around their beauty and intellect. Then there are the Blemished, those who aren't genetically perfect. This is where the feminist issues are strongest - it may be easier to "control" the fertility of men, but oh no. The women go for "the operation" which is essentially to de-sex them, and it screws them up forever. The young blemished girls go to school to learn how to serve the GEMs. And god forbid if a woman falls pregnant. If she does she is taken away and then killed. Because it's not that man's fault, is it? And the anger I feel on this is reflected in the pages of this book and OH MY GOD IT'S AWESOME. Sorry, that just slipped out.
The message I took the most from this book is that your own choices are important. Imagine a world where you didn't have a choice? Because neither the Blemished or the GEMs have any control over their own lives.
I've only read two of Sarah Dalton's books, but I'm hooked. She's fast becoming one of my favourite authors, and I will definitely read on in the Blemished series.