Like many of its predecessors,
The Blemished focusses on the moral and social issues surrounding cloning and how human desire for perfection leaves little to be desired from the human race. Sarah Dalton creates a very intriguing society where those who do not carry the preferred genes (known as the blemished or blems) are shunned. This might be down to a distant relative having a mental illness, something very prolific in today’s society which makes the situation really hit home. She creates a very vivid society which is essential in such a dystopia, as we are able to imagine the horrific state of the slums as well as the immaculate homes of the GEMS (the clones).
Our protagonist, Mina, is a teenager with a difference – she possess the ability to move objects with huge surges of emotion. This proves a challenge for her, however it is one of the main drives for the story and definitely catches your attention when you’re reading the book as it is not expected in the dystopian genre. Whilst the characters are interesting, all holding their own complicated pasts within them, they are not fully developed within the book, perhaps because of the rushed pace or the author’s trait for packing in action. This did make the book quite hard to bond with as we did not feel a connection between the characters and are only given the facts through the eyes of our protagonist, leaving lots of things unexplained.
As with all the current YA dystopias, we find our protagonist Mina stuck in the middle of a love triangle, or, in fact, a love square. This helps to mix things up as, not only is our protagonist torn between two potential love interests, but these boys have admirers of their own. This creates believable conflict within our heroine, which reflects how we as the readers may feel in our own lives. This was a good decision by Sarah Dalton as it broke up the bleakness of the society putting some light into the situation, however it again leads to too much being crammed into the book.
The Blemished has unfortunately fallen foul of many self published YA dystopias in that it would have benefited from a tighter edit to quicken the pace and build the atmosphere. At times certain events came across as being quite repetitive, perhaps because of the natural style of the writing or the traits of our heroine. However, don’t let this spoil what is an interesting take on the future and where our current obsession with desirable characteristics will go.
If you’re looking for a dystopia that comments on the fixation of the western world as well as lots of action and unique concepts, then The Blemished is one for you. Even if it isn’t, you should definitely give it a read as Sarah Dalton creates a very realistic society, with comments on our future in the UK and society as a whole.
Here’s where you can get a copy:
Age recommendation – YA