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 thanks to Reading Addiction Blog Tours for allowing me to be a part of the tour for The Blemished.
How about that cover? I think it's so pretty.
Any fans of YA dystopia out there? This will be another to add to your list. What makes so many dystopian books great is that they take "real" issue we have now, like cloning, and throw it into the future where it is ballooned into something especially frightening yet realistic. The Blemished is set in a world of clones. Anyone not cloned is said to have blemished genes, unwanted and worthless, because of weaknesses both physical and mental.
Mina lives among the Blemished and lives a lesser life. Although she doesn't have riches and is constantly put down and bullied, Mina still has a kind heart. I really love that. There is a scene where Mina realizes that there are people out there, not far from her, who have even less than she does. I think sometimes when we are feeling low or picked on, it's always good to remember that there are probably people out there who have even less than you.
I'm so glad I get to share an excerpt with you from this book today. This is one of the scenes that really stood out for me probably because I felt the humiliation and violation right along with Mina.
I entered the classroom. It felt wrong. The chairs were arranged differently – pushed together into a circle. The rest of the Blemished girls stood around unsure of where to sit and why the strange arrangement. In the centre of the circle was a single chair as though one of us would be the focus.
“Everyone take a seat except Miss Hart.” Mrs Murgatroyd’s voice made me jump. There was a hard edge to it, even colder than usual. I shivered. “Miss Hart, I believe there is a place for you in the middle of the circle.”
With shaking legs I stepped through a gap between two chairs and made my way to the centre. I turned and eyed each of my classmates in desperation while Mrs Murgatroyd looked down at me with a strangely tense smirk on her face. It was as though she was mentally battling with an inner conflict. It made her look frightened and cruel in equal measure. With my chest feeling tight and my breathing coming out in rasps I took my seat in the circle. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Angela’s concerned face.
“For today’s lesson I needed an example, which is why you see Miss Hart at the centre,” said Mrs Murgatroyd as she slowly walked around the outside of the circle. “Today’s lesson is about boys. You see, there are some among you who seem to have had some experience in this area. Isn’t that right, Miss Hart?”
“I… I… suppose,” I stuttered.
I tried to rein in my emotions, to concentrate and be in control. I couldn’t use my gift in front of all these people. It would be too obvious. I glanced down at my hands hoping that she wasn’t going to beat me in front of the class. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Billie shaking her head and remembered what she had said in the garden.
“Yes, Miss,” Angela replied with a shaky voice.
“Tell the class how a good Blemished girl should behave around members of the opposite sex,” Mrs Murgatroyd instructed.
“Not to look at them directly. Modestly,” Angela recited.
“That’s correct.” Mrs Murgatroyd never stopped her laps of the chairs with slow paces and her hands folded behind her back, the picture of control. “And why is that?”
“Um, we don’t want to give them the wrong idea,” Angela replied quietly.
“That’s correct,” said Mrs Murgatroyd. “You are not here to mate. Your genes have been proven unworthy. You are here as servants to the GEMs, which is your rightful place. And if you are lucky and behave appropriately for a Blemished then you may even get a job. Now Angela, could you tell me one more thing? How should a Blemished girl behave in the company of a male GEM?”
“W… we shouldn’t talk to them. Or look at them. Unless we are spoken to,” she answered quietly.
“Excellent,” Mrs Murgatroyd said. “Now, class. I would like you to answer together. Should you talk to a GEM boy?”
“No,” said the class in unison.
“Should you reveal your hair to a GEM boy?”
I didn’t join in the chant. At this point the tears began to roll slowly down my cheeks and my lips trembled so badly I couldn’t open them.
“Should you let a GEM boy touch you?”
“And how about you, Miss Hart? Should you let any of these things happen?” Mrs Murgatroyd moved into the centre of the circle and bent low to speak to me. I felt her hot breath on my cheek.
I shook my head feebly in answer.
“Yet you did. Didn’t you?” She yanked at my headscarf and began to unwrap my hair. Her pointed nails scraped on the back of my neck and her rough fingers pulled my head back and forth. “Do you think you are better than everyone else in this room?”
“No,” I said hoarsely. I could barely see through my tears now. I shut my eyes against the stares of my peers.
“Then why do you act like it?” she said cruelly. She grabbed my hair and pulled my head back. “You bring everything on yourself, Miss Hart. When will you learn your place?”
On the last word she yanked my head back even further and pulled a pair of scissors out of her jacket pocket. The rest of the class gasped. I stared at them – wide-eyed. For a horrible moment I thought she might stab me, but then she did something almost as awful. With a ghastly smile on her face Mrs Murgatroyd cut chunks out of my hair; big, uneven, ugly chunks. I watched in horror as the long strands fell to the floor.
Uugh. Awful, right? This gives you a really good taste for the book though. I really enjoyed reading it. It had those tense action scenes and those moments of romance too. What a great start to the series. There was a bit of a cliff hanger so I'm anxious to see where Mina and friends end up and what is going to happen.
Content wise, there is some swearing (mostly hell and the B word) and a few instances of profanity.
I'm so happy we get to have a giveaway for this book today. The giveaway is open to all and ends on 10/5.
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Sarah grew up in the middle of nowhere in the countryside of Derbyshire and as a result has an over-active imagination. She has been an avid reader for most of her life, taking inspiration from the stories she read as a child, and the novels she devoured as an adult.
Sarah mainly writes speculative fiction for a Young Adult audience and has had pieces of short fiction published in the Medulla Literary Review, PANK magazine, Apex Magazine and the British Fantasy Society publication Dark Horizons. Her short story ‘Vampires Wear Chanel’ is featured in the Wyvern Publication Fangtales. The Blemished is her first full-length novel.
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*Disclosure of Material Connection: I am a member of Reading Addiction Blog Tours and a copy of this book was provided to me by the author. Although payment may have been received by Reading Addiction Blog Tours, no payment was received by me in exchange for this review. There was no obligation to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, publisher, publicist, or readers of this review. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision’s 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning Use of Endorcements and Testimonials in Advertising*