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Title: Prized
Author: Caragh M. O'Brien
Publisher: Published November 8th 2011 by Roaring Brook Press
ISBN: 9781596435704
Status : FREE Rating :
4.6 out of 5

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Striking out into the wasteland with nothing but her baby sister, a handful of supplies, and a rumor to guide her, sixteen-year-old midwife Gaia Stone survives, only to be captured by the people of Sylum, a dystopian society where women rule the men who drastically outnumber them, and a kiss is a crime. In order to see her sister again, Gaia must submit to their strict soc Striking out into the wasteland with nothing but her baby sister, a handful of supplies, and a rumor to guide her, sixteen-year-old midwife Gaia Stone survives, only to be captured by the people of Sylum, a dystopian society where women rule the men who drastically outnumber them, and a kiss is a crime. In order to see her sister again, Gaia must submit to their strict social code and the oppressive rules of Matrarc Olivia. Meanwhile, two brothers claim her attention as they attempt to understand the environmental trap that keeps the people of Sylum captive, and suddenly Gaia must contend with the exciting, uncomfortable, and altogether new feeling of being desired. But when someone from her past shows up, Gaia discovers that survival alone is not enough and that justice requires sacrifice.

30 review for Prized

  1. 5 out of 5

    Clare Cannon

    This is one of the hardest reviews I’ve ever had to write, both because the book left me heartbroken, and because it was so confusing that it left me quite exhausted. It is also difficult because I highly respect the author, especially for her openness to honest feedback, and though I disagree with some of the things in this book I continue to respect her and will eagerly await whatever else she may write. The other difficulty is that the themes dealt with are highly controversial, and yet they This is one of the hardest reviews I’ve ever had to write, both because the book left me heartbroken, and because it was so confusing that it left me quite exhausted. It is also difficult because I highly respect the author, especially for her openness to honest feedback, and though I disagree with some of the things in this book I continue to respect her and will eagerly await whatever else she may write. The other difficulty is that the themes dealt with are highly controversial, and yet they are too important to leave undiscussed. I considered the first book in this series, Birthmarked, to be a rare find in contemporary YA literature. In my review I couldn’t praise it highly enough. Some of these qualities can be seen (somewhat faintly) in Prized, but it is a completely new story in a different place with different people and different values. In general terms the story seems to have lost its ‘epic’ quality: while Birthmarked created a logical and coherent world and told the story of one girl’s place in it, this book is more about the ups and downs of Gaia’s personal struggles, and the ‘world outside’ in Sylum (her new home) sometimes seems a mere backdrop. This book also places more emphasis on emotions and physical appearance than the first, and it is a lot more morally confusing. Feelings determine right and wrong I must acknowledge Gaia’s admirable appreciation for honesty and her earnestness in wanting to do what is right. However, in Prized, Gaia’s earnestness is set above the question of whether or not she acts rightly, and so her moral choices become cloudy. She no longer asks ‘what is the right thing to do?’, but rather ‘do I feel right about this?’ There are many examples of this that I would have preferred to know about before reading the book, and perhaps others may too... things to do with rebellion, romance, and especially life issues. (view spoiler)[The most confronting example of this is the reasoning behind the ‘about-face’ that Prized has taken on Life issues. Peony, a girl from Sylum, asks Gaia’s help to abort the child she is carrying. Gaia reasons that 1. Though she doesn’t like abortion, she has never had the need for it herself so perhaps her feelings about it could change, 2. Precisely because she feels so strongly that she would never do it herself she must respect the other girl’s decision, 3. The girl in the situation is the only one who can decide what is right, and 4. They will feel better about it if they call it ‘miscarriage’, even though it is neither accidental nor caused by nature. She doesn’t question whether society is right to push the girl into this position by threatening her with banishment or an arranged marriage, and neither does she question whether her own involvement (giving the girl a poison which will kill her baby) is right. She almost tries to disqualify her own misgivings by the fact that she’s never needed one, and if she experienced the need herself her feelings may change. This implies that in order to know what is right or wrong one must experience everything oneself, an assumption that would be difficult to live by. This method for evaluating right and wrong is more easily seen for what it is when the situation above is compared to another at the end of the book. Gaia is called to assist the Matrarc of Sylum’s difficult childbirth. When it is clear that both mother and child will die without intervention, Gaia sees that she may be able to save the child but that the mother has already lost too much blood to survive. The mother tells Gaia to save the child, which she does, and the mother subsequently dies from loss of blood. Gaia feels terrible about this because she knew the Matrarc well – better than she had known the unborn child – and since her understanding of right and wrong is based upon how she feels about it, she determines that because she feels worse, this act is wrong while the previous one was not. In her words, the Matrarc has “made me a killer for real this time.” Yet a simple comparison of the two episodes is clear. With Peony: Mother and child were going to live, Gaia acted, one died. With the Matrarc: Mother and child were going to die, Gaia acted, one lived. Killing and saving are very different things, however bad you may or may not feel about them. Rebellion There are plenty of things about the government of Sylum which are wrong, starting with its presumption that its own laws are legitimate simply because it said so. Laws are not automatically right just because they are established by someone in authority. Instead, just laws must defend the common good of all the people, and if they do not (for example, if they require or approve doing things which no one should ever do, or if they distribute burdens unfairly in favour some groups over others), they are unjust and should be rebelled against. So Gaia is right to rebel against Sylum’s unjust laws and customs, such as the inequality of men and women, or the enforcement of some traditions by unnecessarily harsh punishments, or the odd custom of a game-winner’s right to choose a woman who must spend a month with him. But Sylum has some good values too, such as upholding marriage and family so that children can be raised by loving parents, and prohibiting the killing of an unborn child. And instead of identifying what is actually wrong (or right) with each law and value, Gaia writes them all off as ‘the most backward thing she’s ever heard’. Instead of rectifying the unjust laws she claims that laws and values become outdated with time, and throws the good out with the bad. And Leon. Oh Leon, what have you become? You were such a support to Gaia in book one, as well as being an amazing character in your own right for your ability to learn from your mistakes. You’re no help at all in book two. Sure, you’re always questioning Gaia’s actions and telling her she’s wrong - which gives you the impression of being a moral guide, but it leads nowhere because you’re just as confused as she is. You switch one way and then the other, and then use your power over her feelings to push and pull her in all directions. One minute it’s: “quit holding on to some ideal that won’t ever fit here… and get your life back”, but the next: “they’ve broken you… you have no spirit to fight anymore…” You never help her to look objectively at each thing and discover whether it is right or wrong. Then you are critical of her giving in to the feeling of the moment by kissing Peter, but the next minute you yourself are putting her in a situation of intense physical attraction that she can’t resist, just to prove that your hold over her is stronger than his. You manipulate her feelings by treating her harshly when you are hurt, and then play up her desire when you’re jealous. It’s not that as a good character you’re not allowed to ever fail and make mistakes, but here your errors are passed over as being excusable and natural, which changes you from being ‘a good character who has failings’ to being not such a good character at all. Romance In fact, the romance in general in this book seems to have lost its richness. It is practically all reduced to physical attraction, which is part but not all. Between Gaia and Leon in the first book there was a deeper union which involved love of the whole person and sacrifice for the other person’s good, and this gave credibility and stability to their attraction. Here, however, Gaia’s love is selfish and she hardly even thinks of the other person but only how he makes her feel. No wonder she’s uncertain about marrying Leon, she’s worried about whether he’ll always be able to make her feel that way. But love is more than just trying to prolong the feeling that someone gives you. It should be something generous and freely given, not bought through the power of attraction. (I was really impressed with the book The Love Dare and how it shows what it means to love with deeds, wholly and truly. It’s a little bit corny, but you can skip the religiousy bits and see that its message is accessible to everyone.) Prized is a lot more physical in its description too: men playing sport without their shirts so that the women can stare and comment; or the description of how far Gaia goes with Leon to the point of too much information (this really cheapens their romance), or even just the idea of the games winner getting to pick a girl to spend a month with at the lodge (which conveniently facilitates Leon and Gaia’s ‘togetherness’), and quite a few instant physical attraction moments between Gaia and somebody else. In contrast, the chemistry in the first book was so good because it wasn’t overdone and was warranted by the storyline rather than being thrown in so often simply for gratification. The romance also seemed a little soppy in this book because suddenly Gaia is the attractive and desirable one, all the guys fall for her and find her irresistible. Of course that’s every girl’s dream, but how does it just ‘happen’ to someone considered such an outcast in book one? The one thing that redeemed the romance was that Gaia was helped to see that kissing Peter meant more to him than it did to her, and she must face the wrong she has done him. I’m only hoping that it wasn’t just Sylum’s ‘backwardness’ that believes a kiss means something. It would be so good if the story was in fact questioning the attitude wherein a kiss has come to mean little or nothing. When we lose our sensitivity like this it damages our ability to love. Once again I recommend Wendy Shalit’s book A Return to Modesty: Discovering the Lost Virtue, she explains this point so well. Bowing before unjust pressure One last thing I was disappointed with is the lack of positive initiative in the book, something which was so powerful in book one. I was so sorry that the unmarried and pregnant Peony was not helped in any other way: the baby’s father abandoned her, her family would disown her, society would banish her, and Gaia chose not to help her confront these injustices by standing up to Sylum and defending Peony and her unborn child but instead helped her to give in to their pressure by killing the child in secret. That wasn’t how Gaia dealt with injustice in the first book. In allowing all those negative things to triumph, even offering a long and drawn out justification for it, the book – perhaps unintentionally – reinforces them. If only it had demonstrated a struggle to build an open and supportive attitude towards pregnant women in whatever situation they find themselves, instead of effectively reinforcing the mistaken logic that marginalises such women until they feel pressured into an abortion. Our culture has focused enough on the pressure; couldn’t we now focus on support? (hide spoiler)] That’s about all I can say for now; there are other good and not so good things in Prized but it would take a book to explore them all. And though book one looks a little different in the light of book two, I still think Birthmarked was one of the best YA I’ve read in a long time. Prized is taking time to get over, but as we learned in Birthmarked, there’s always hope.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Queen Keely Tubbs of Salt "the Last of the Moral, Conservative Catholics on the Internet" (aka *Keelskilo*)

    Oh. My. Goodness. Apparently I'm not safe anywhere from this freakin' epidemic of YA love triangles squares. And that's just the first complaint of many about this sequel. Welcome, welcome, one and all to the new face of young adult dystopian fiction: prostitutes and sex in the desert! First with the second Dust Lands book, (elsewise known as Rebel Heart....and we already know my opinion on that piece of trash...) and now with this thing...Ah, well. Let's take things as they come, shall we? We'l Oh. My. Goodness. Apparently I'm not safe anywhere from this freakin' epidemic of YA love triangles squares. And that's just the first complaint of many about this sequel. Welcome, welcome, one and all to the new face of young adult dystopian fiction: prostitutes and sex in the desert! First with the second Dust Lands book, (elsewise known as Rebel Heart....and we already know my opinion on that piece of trash...) and now with this thing...Ah, well. Let's take things as they come, shall we? We'll save the best for last because, well, this one's a doozy people. 1. Villain. Or villainess? I guess the matriarc of their little society is sort of "villain-y" but she's really just one of those characters who is villainized because of her beliefs, some of which I actually agree on (not the thing about the men not being able to vote or whatever, but as far as Gaia and the babies...um, well, let's just get to that one last of all, shall we?) I'm not sure, because there doesn't seem to be a clear focus on conflict in this book. There are a lot of tiny little problems that sort of (?) come together to mean something but they are pretty randomly placed. Firstly...baby girls are turning into boys in the womb resulting in lack in fertility in men, men who ALSO HAVE UTERUSES? Um. Okay. So, we don't really find out what causes this. We know that the characters have guesses about the cause and we know that the air around the lake is all poisoned and drugged or whatever, but how does this actually affect them? For a series that was pretty interested in science the first time around, this time it seemed sort of like a huge plot gap. Then they randomly mash in Leon again and all those boyfriends and (of course) innocent little Gaia has NO IDEA WHAT TO DO!! (Gasp) Because she LOVES ALL THREE OF THEM SO MUCH!!! Clearly this is a much bigger issue than anything else in the book, so I guess that means it's a "conflict". But most of the story consists of: Gaia ignorantly doing something stupid...then Gaia gets in trouble for breaking the law....then Gaia getting off scott-free while other people get punished for her being stupid...Gaia runs to be comforted by one of her boyfriends until other boyfriend is freed...Repeat cycle. Plot line does not this make. 2. The love square. Because apparently these are necessary to sell a book now. Gaia not only just has Leon now, she gets two BROTHERS both after her too. Lovely. Because that was totally necessary. First off, her main reason for loving these guys is because how they look and because she's rarely been around another boy in her life who's liked her. Let's see what "love" really is like in this book: Leon: Yells and screams at what a b*tch she is. Must be love. Peter: Cuts his beard. Must be love. Will: Invites her to an autopsy. Must be love. Ah, yes. Certainly. Because these guys, in the future, not only have secret OVARIES (well, some of them I guess. the not fertile ones...you know what I mean...) but also have no opinion of "attractive". The first book emphasized Gaia's scar A LOT. I mean, the whole basis for the book was on this. And in this one it is suddenly MAGICALLY no longer relevant. Now, c'mon people, Will and Peter know her for what, less than a day each before starting to fall for her? What guy does that unless they are either a) really attracted to her PHYSICALLY or b) Edward Cullen? That's right--no one. Let's face it, these kids are (what?) 16? 17? I think Leon's like, 20, maybe, but in guy years thats really like saying 13, so...there we have it. What do guys want at this age? Is it to settle down with a few kids and be happy with a girl? Nope. If its anything its to have SEX with her. And guys don't want to have sex with girls who aren't attractive. I don't CARE if there's a 1-20 ratio or whatever. They'd all just be gathering around the few queen bees because TEENAGE GUYS ARE LIKE THAT. You'd have to literally re-write their genetics in this already messed up futuristic world to fix that plot hole and I'm guessing Ms. O'Brien didn't really feel like doing that. 3. The lack of, I dunno--actually DYSTOPIAN aspects of the book. Does anyone know what "dystopian" means as far as fiction goes, class? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Yeah, well, lemme answer that for you. If you thought this book was a good example of "dystopian fiction" then no, no you do not know what it means. Dystopian fiction is supposed to be written based off of current POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC/SOCIAL ISSUES that "might" escalate to disastrous proportions one day. This book had none of that. Boy-to-girl ratio? Um...does the author REALIZE that the OPPOSITE is currently happening? So...check. That's thrown out the window. The whole bit of a "desert world"? Hm. Well, yes, yes that was used for the (growls angrily) Dust Lands books...But lets look at actual research instead of other pieces of fiction. Did you know that (AGAIN!) the OPPOSITE IS HAPPENING IN REAL LIFE? Holy crap, could it be? Did you hear about the polar ice caps melting? Hm. Unless you've been living under a flipping ROCK for the past 12 years and skipped out of school where that seems to be the only thing the teachers talk about...then yeah. You've prob'ly heard about it. Unless you live on mars. What does this tell us? Hmhm. She's just another author trying to write dystopian love triangles (excuse me...Squares Because that's SO much more original...) To try and rival the Hunger Games fad. Like that's ever going to work. It would be like trying to write a series about wizards and saying honestly you're not trying to cop off of Harry Potter or a space adventure that's not based off of Star Trek or Star Wars (Clearly since those two already rival one another, there is NO ROOM for a third wheel. See? SOME people can get it right. No threesomes here, folks.) 4. Total and utter lack of originality. Um...Plot line? As I said: WAS THERE ONE? I'm not sure. I kept waiting and waiting....but I never found it. It took me TOO LONG to finish this book and I'm not actually sure if I read the thing or not. I repressed the memory, honestly. Besides the happenings of...weirdness to try and be original, there was nothing well done about this book! At the risk of sounding too modern here, everything that she wrote about HAS BEEN DONE ALREADY! Eugenics? Done that. It's called "Brave New World" people, and that's not a meme, it's a book. Well, maybe its a meme, I dunno. I already, of course, talked about the rip-offs of the Blood Red Road bits...Oh, and the whole "illegal kissing" thing...When has that NOT been done? We have the basics (not society forbidden but technically forbidden) Romeo and Juliet. Then there's 1984 where it's legally not allowed and then there's just about every other love story written on the face of the planet! Agh! People need to experience real life. Then they may, just may, realize that life (and love) DOES NOT HAPPEN LIKE THIS. Then there's the whole "Let's hide out in the wilderness and defy the system and blah blah blah...BAM LOVE!!! Heard of The Host? It's a movie. AND A BOOK! AND ITS WRITTEN BY THE AUTHOR OF TWILIGHT! If there's anyone whose example you DON'T want to follow, its hers. And the BASIS of the society she runs away from? The whole "they're taking our children" bit? Um...heard of the tithes in Unwind or, perhaps AGAIN The Hunger Games? Hmm...Might want to check that out. 5. The codes. Yes. Those little funsie codes that sorta made sense in the first one (the code that had all of the kids names in it? The one on the ribbon or whatever?) But when a super secret but totally predictable code showed up AGAIN in this one....I think my brain exploded. So, let's see...We have a little secret code here that might have the answers to all of these people's problems in it and NONE OF THEM ARE SMART ENOUGH TO FIGURE IT OUT EXCEPT FOR GAIA??? Umm....no. Just. No. If you remember, she didn't exactly ever "meet" her grandma, so its not as if she had some secret knowledge that helped her and Leon figure it out. And it has been YEARS since ole granny left so these people musta known Gaia's grandmother better than she did. And if no one figured out to check out the grandma's "notes to self" after her.....shall we call it STRANGE death just because matriarc said so? Well....the matriarc said "no autopsies" and that didn't stop Will and Gaia, so....I think my point's made. 6. Ready for this? Are you sure? I don't think you are. 'Member how I was talking about Our Little Witch Gaia's character issues? Well, I mentioned it a bit, but I had to save it all up for this bit because it will BLOW YOUR MIND ACROSS THE ROOM. [Oh, and by the way: spoiler alert. If you hadn't picked up on that already...] So, remember how Gaia got caught in the first one trying to save a baby by cutting it out of the mother after the mother was hanged? 'Member that? Yeah? 'Kay. So, she's Miss Important and Knowledgable cuz she's a midwife? Ya know how midwives are supposed to, I dunno, PROTECT BABIES?? Well, I guess Gaia's exempt from this because she (wait for iiiiiiittt) HELPS A GIRL GET AN ABORTION. In the future. When they don't have a lot of girl babies and might NEED this baby for survival. But, of course, its all okay because the poor girl wouldn't have a FATHER to help her RAISE the baby. Right...Let's protect "women's rights" because that's SO IMPORTANT WHEN SOCIETY IS DYING OFF!!! Not only does the author portray it as an okay thing to do (not like we're pushing a social agenda or anything) but Peony--the girl who gets the abortion--has NO SIDE EFFECTS AT ALL. Hm. I think we just hit an all time low for lack of research. Peony's body was getting ready to carry a baby. That means HORMONES! Yay! So when the baby is suddenly gone and those cells keep dividing quickly...we get what's called CANCER. Wow. Amazing. Biology really does teach you stuff! Now, Ms. O'Brien's opinions are her own. But its just not acceptable to market this sort of book to young adult girls telling them that abortion's okay when its not her right to try and convince them like that. Did you know that abortion is killing both the baby AND the mother because about 21% of women (about) either try to or actually do commit suicide after abortions? Hmm. Wow. And an even larger percent (about 40) suffer from depression. 94% of women say they regret their abortions. There we go. Look it up people. Let's allow young and impressionable minds to form their OWN opinions for once, shall we? Gaia's "waffling" between "well, was it okay?" and "was it not?" and then ultimately deciding that abortion's all happy and fine as long as the mother "wants" it is like brainwashing. Because readers will want to like Gaia and pity Gaia and agree with her blah blah blah. Well, let's go back to point #1 people. Our villainess? The "eeeevvviiillll" lady in Gaia's eyes? She doesn't APPROVE of abortions. Oooooh. That makes her...what, exactly? Could it be that she has a better moral compass than Gaia? Sure, she has a little trouble with the whole guy-gal equality thing, but is she killing people? Uh...no. Not really. Could adjustments to their society be made? Sure. But not like that. And finally, on Gaia's moral issues. Let's take a look at the end of the story when the matriarc's giving birth for the (what EIGHTH?) time and, of course because we can't have someone who disagrees with Gaia around, is going to die giving childbirth. And Gaia can either save neither the matriarc or the baby or save the baby. Well, based off her opinions on abortion, why'd she BOTHER AT ALL?? Let the baby die, Gaia, no one would blame you after what this "eeevvviiillll" woman did. Sure. She imprisoned someone who did something that was AGAINST THEIR LAW. So sue her. Do we have stupid laws in the US? Yes. I have a LIST. But imprisoning someone who breaks the law (no matter HOW STUPID IT IS!!) Doesn't make them a bad person. And, one last point, answer me this: If Gaia figured out how they can LEAVE this toxic-evil-whatever area, why didn't she just stand up and say: Hey, anyone who agrees with me on a, b, and c and thinks this place is unfair, come with me. And then whoever wanted to stay could and whoever wanted to leave could. Wow. Was that such a big deal? Problem solved. REVIEW EDIT:: Okay people. This has, well, not nothing to do with this book (because that was what I was going to say, but it's a lie). It actually has to do with the NEXT book. And don't worry. This won't be a total spoiler, but anywho...I checked it out of the library because, I dunno, my brain is dumb and I need to finish a series in order to sleep well at night. I guess. Maybe? Yes, well, I opened it up randomly (on accident) read two lines, and then closed it again, because it just really wasn't worth it. I could have written a whole review off of those two lines, but I won't. You want to know what they were? (view spoiler)[Person 1: You tried to knife me. Person 2: You stole my ovaries. (hide spoiler)] ......... WHAT???? When you read these two lines in a book, people, you KNOW there's something wrong with the world.... Ciao for now! EDIT 12.7.15 Well, I hate to be rude, but.... MOVE, B!TCHES, GET OUT THE WAY.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ninoska Goris

    Gaia se adentra en los páramos con su hermana casi recién nacida, con pocas provisiones y con un simple rumor a modo de brújula. Aunque sobrevive, es atrapada por las gentes de Sailum, sociedad distopica donde mandan las mujeres a pesar de la superioridad numérica de los hombres. Para ver de nuevo a su hermana debe someterse al estricto código social y a las opresivas reglas de la Matrarca Olivia. Además debe acostumbrarse a ser deseada, ya que dos hermanos compiten por ella y cuando se reencuen Gaia se adentra en los páramos con su hermana casi recién nacida, con pocas provisiones y con un simple rumor a modo de brújula. Aunque sobrevive, es atrapada por las gentes de Sailum, sociedad distopica donde mandan las mujeres a pesar de la superioridad numérica de los hombres. Para ver de nuevo a su hermana debe someterse al estricto código social y a las opresivas reglas de la Matrarca Olivia. Además debe acostumbrarse a ser deseada, ya que dos hermanos compiten por ella y cuando se reencuentra con alguien del pasado descubre que la supervivencia no basta y que la justicia requiere sacrificio.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Penny

    Actual rating 4.5 stars. I am very surprised about this book. It was very interesting the whole time. It made me feel angry so many times towards Gaia and her attitude about everything that was going on that I became frustrated. I love a book that awakens strong emotions in me. I enjoyed it so much! I liked the first book of this series, but Prized is defenetetly an improvement from the first installment. This story is more complex, it evolves fluidly and maintains your attention at all times. I Actual rating 4.5 stars. I am very surprised about this book. It was very interesting the whole time. It made me feel angry so many times towards Gaia and her attitude about everything that was going on that I became frustrated. I love a book that awakens strong emotions in me. I enjoyed it so much! I liked the first book of this series, but Prized is defenetetly an improvement from the first installment. This story is more complex, it evolves fluidly and maintains your attention at all times. I have to say though, that Leon's character disappointed me a bit this time. I was expecting a deeper development in him, explanations to really show us who he is and where he is coming from. One of the thins I appreciate most, is that this series is not immature, it doesn't have a high-school or childiss felling to it even though it is a young adult novel, thus it could function just as well if we where to age the characters. I can’t wait to see where the story is going next. Book 1: Birthmarked - 3.5 stars Book 3: Promised - 2.5 stars

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jillian -always aspiring-

    It seems fitting that I devoured Prized on Valentine's Day as if it were a box of chocolate -- but this book was so much better than chocolate to me. I don't think a book in recent memory has made me dread or hope as much as this one did. Prized made my heart a knotted mess, and then slowly -- painfully -- the knots began to untangle and leave me even more stricken. This book and its predecessor Birthmarked are so much more than run-of-the-mill YA dystopian novels. They are rife with important topi It seems fitting that I devoured Prized on Valentine's Day as if it were a box of chocolate -- but this book was so much better than chocolate to me. I don't think a book in recent memory has made me dread or hope as much as this one did. Prized made my heart a knotted mess, and then slowly -- painfully -- the knots began to untangle and leave me even more stricken. This book and its predecessor Birthmarked are so much more than run-of-the-mill YA dystopian novels. They are rife with important topics (and even some criticisms): the merit of choice for women, their bodies, and their love lives; the shades of sexism that can lead to one sex dominating over the other; and the truth that difficult circumstances ultimately try who you are, what you believe, and who you will become. I love Gaia, the heroine, for being a confused sixteen-year-old who is still more sensible, honest, and free-willed than most heroines in YA today. I love Leon, the hero, for not being the "perfect guy," the be-all-and-end-all for Gaia. He has deep layers and dark shades, but he is not the "bad boy" stereotype many of us have come to loathe. I love that their romance is sometimes difficult, sometimes easy, yet always passionate. I love the story for speaking out about so many important things in quiet and subtle ways. And I love Caragh O'Brien for giving me these books that I'll want to devour again and again. Please keep challenging me, making me ponder, making me fall in love with your characters in both their good moments and their bad. You even have permission to break my heart with your words and your characters (as you did with this installment), so long as you offer enough hope for me to piece my heart back together again. I wait with an anxious (and dread- and hope-filled) heart for the third book, Promised, and can only hope that the characters I have come to love will reach the places they need to be.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker Queen of the Undead

    If the debut book in a series is even semi- good, I will continue with a series. I understand that it is hard for a debut book in a series to knock my socks off because you have significant amount of world building, and brand new characters to introduce. Usually, the plot is deep in the book and so I know patience is the key. Why I wanted to read book 2 in the Birthmarked series? I liked book 1 but I did not love it. I did like the 2nd half and because I thought it had potential, I wanted to see If the debut book in a series is even semi- good, I will continue with a series. I understand that it is hard for a debut book in a series to knock my socks off because you have significant amount of world building, and brand new characters to introduce. Usually, the plot is deep in the book and so I know patience is the key. Why I wanted to read book 2 in the Birthmarked series? I liked book 1 but I did not love it. I did like the 2nd half and because I thought it had potential, I wanted to see where the author was going with the story. Knowing that I liked the 2nd half of book 1, I figured that book 2 would continue where the 2nd half left off. Sadly, I was wrong. I’m not sure why, but the author chose to start all over again. Book 2 is essentially a completely different book than book 1. Brand new characters, brand new location, and brand new world building. Now, hold on before you get all your undies in a bunch, I do know that Gaia ended up at the new location because she escaped the Enclave. But for the life of me, I do not understand why the author chose to create an entirely new world with new rules, a new set of problems, and called it the 2nd book in the same series. It’s one thing to move locations. It’s an entirely different thing to move dystopian worlds. And yes, I hear your arguments. “But Michelle, if the author wants to create a new dystopian world in her book 2 that is her business.” Well that is good and all, but at least build your world (that is why it is called world building)! Have this new world make sense, and not be pieced together via information dump by various characters. Oh and don’t get me started regarding these characters. Gaia- What a horrible character she turned out to be. She reminds me of a 10 year old rather than a strong female heroine. She was whiny (yeah, I know I’m whiny too but I’m also not the lead in a book), selfish, indecisive, and pretty damn stupid in her decisions. Leon- What the hell? Why would the author do this to Leon? I’m not talking about what happens to Leon in this book but what happens to his personality. Seriously, Leon is basically a new character in this book. All the other ridiculous characters in the book. I honestly believed that the author wrote her story and inserted the characters after the fact. She created flat, boring, one-dimensional characters out of a need to move the story along with a complete disregard to the overall impact those characters would make on the reader. They were either boring or just well… boring. I was so frustrated with this book. Even writing this review is difficult because it makes me want to rant and considering my writing while calm is a bit rough, my writing while ranting is an adventure in itself (thus, I’ll edit this later when my frustration dies down again).

  7. 5 out of 5

    AH

    Prized continues the story of Gaia Stone, a 16 year old midwife and refugee from the Enclave. Accompanied by her newborn sister Maya, Gaia is found out in the wastelands by Chardo Peter. Both Gaia and her baby sister are close to death. She finds herself in Sylum, which is just as bad as Enclave only it is run by women. Sylum is a strange settlement. In Sylum, the men outnumber the women, but the women have all the power. Sylum is a puritanical place. A simple kiss can result in an attempted rape Prized continues the story of Gaia Stone, a 16 year old midwife and refugee from the Enclave. Accompanied by her newborn sister Maya, Gaia is found out in the wastelands by Chardo Peter. Both Gaia and her baby sister are close to death. She finds herself in Sylum, which is just as bad as Enclave only it is run by women. Sylum is a strange settlement. In Sylum, the men outnumber the women, but the women have all the power. Sylum is a puritanical place. A simple kiss can result in an attempted rape charge. Women are encouraged to marry young and have at least ten babies. Oh, and once you arrive in Sylum, you can never leave… This book was not exactly what I expected. I enjoyed the world the author created in Birthmarked and I was excited to see what would happen next in Prized. Prized felt like a completely different book. New world, new rules, and Gaia does the teenage angst thing. Gaia’s rebellious streak bothered me – it just felt like she chose the wrong battles. I also found it odd that after working so hard to save her sister, Gaia would just accept that a complete stranger should raise Maya. I’m not sure if I liked Gaia in this book as much as I did in the previous book. Gaia acts like a petulant child in this book. She refuses to cooperate with the Matrarch Olivia, preferring to be isolated rather than solving her problems. When she is given a note from Leon, she destroys it instead of reading it. I saw that as a betrayal. I also did not like her behavior around the men. While Gaia did not really understand the customs of Sylum, she still caused a few misunderstandings. I didn’t really like the introduction of multiple love interests. Leon – I missed him so much. Then, when he finally gets to be around Gaia, the tension between them was so antagonistic. Leon was hardened and angry, nothing like the Leon of the previous book. He felt like a whole new character. Leon earns the respect of Sylum when he wins a sporting contest. When we finally get more Leon, the story picks up. The book was an OK read for me. I did like it and I will continue to look for more books by this author. Thank you Netgalley and McMillian Children’s Publishing Group for a review copy of this book. Check out this review and more on Badass Book Reviews

  8. 4 out of 5

    Katy

    I'm really giving this book a 3.5 (between liked and really liked) because I really did like it but there were a lot of things that bothered me about it. THIS REVIEW WILL MOST LIKELY CONTAIN SPOILERS IN ORDER TO MAKE SENSE. My biggest problem with Prized is I felt it was a totally different book from Birthmarked. None of the characters were the same. Gaia is supposed to be this strong young woman who stands up for what she believes. While she does redeem herself at the end, I found that she gave u I'm really giving this book a 3.5 (between liked and really liked) because I really did like it but there were a lot of things that bothered me about it. THIS REVIEW WILL MOST LIKELY CONTAIN SPOILERS IN ORDER TO MAKE SENSE. My biggest problem with Prized is I felt it was a totally different book from Birthmarked. None of the characters were the same. Gaia is supposed to be this strong young woman who stands up for what she believes. While she does redeem herself at the end, I found that she gave up to too easily in giving up her sister, in not standing up to Olivia, in not convincing Peony to believe in what's right, and in letting Leon tell her everything she's doing wrong and not defending herself, among other things. I know the story is about Gaia losing herself for a while, but she's not the character that I loved in the first book. And Leon, the one who was so sweet and caring and the one who sacrificed everything for her is such a cold jerk. Again, I know it was because he was hurt, but he was just SO mean. The other thing that I didn't like about this book was the romance involved. I started reading the book thinking "Where in the world is Leon and who are these random new guys?" Why, oh why, did you put a love triangle (no, make that rectangle) in the mix. I didn't like how Gaia's role switched from being the ugly duckling in the first book to being a very desirable woman in the second book. And I didn't like how the O'Brien had to involve BOTH Will and Peter. If she was going to introduce an interest, just put one. Will was just kind of thrown in there. And so was the relationship with Adele. It felt out of place and unnecessary. I also don't understand what's going on with Peter. Yes, she likes him, but I don't that he kissed her and we're left with the assumption that he did it to almost force her into choosing him. So after she decides she doesn't think she's right for him, he treats her the same way Leon had treated her, after he scolded Leon about it. I know he's hurt, but I thought he was a better character, and those two things just made me dislike him. I also wished that O'Brien gave us a happy ending where the series could have ended. I know the third installment is probably going to consist of the group going back to the Enclave, but I hope it's just her having the courage to tell Leon how she feels. Really, I don't want them to take one step forward and then two steps back in the third book where he'll be "she loves me, she loves me not." I also have a feeling this may not be the last of Peter and Will that we see pulling her emotional strings. Leon and Gaia have been through so much together, I just hope that a love triangle won't be thrown in just to keep drama there. Otherwise, I think the book was good, and I enjoyed reading it. I like O'Brien's style, and the dialogue wasn't cheesy or anything. I also like that she tried to introduce a new concept (women being in charged) but also not in a way of the Amazons. The men weren't treated equal, but other than the part about Josephine treating Leon in the cabin, the men weren't being treated like servants. I just wish there were some things that would have been done differently. I know I'm not the author, but I just hope that this wasn't extra drama to bridge the first book with the third (and maybe last).

  9. 4 out of 5

    Steph Su

    The trouble with the first book in a trilogy rocking your world is that, as much as you anticipate the first opportunity you get to read its sequel, you simultaneously fear that it won’t live up to how much you enjoyed the first. Sadly, in PRIZED’s case, this was true. Whereas I couldn’t put Birthmarked down, I struggled at times to push myself through PRIZED’s copious use of info-dumps and inconsistencies in characterization and plot that really pushed the limit on my tolerance of YA lit cliché The trouble with the first book in a trilogy rocking your world is that, as much as you anticipate the first opportunity you get to read its sequel, you simultaneously fear that it won’t live up to how much you enjoyed the first. Sadly, in PRIZED’s case, this was true. Whereas I couldn’t put Birthmarked down, I struggled at times to push myself through PRIZED’s copious use of info-dumps and inconsistencies in characterization and plot that really pushed the limit on my tolerance of YA lit clichés. I read Birthmarked in one night, forgoing sleep in my complete absorption within the Enclave and my desperation to discover the fates of these beloved characters. Unfortunately, I did not feel as invested in PRIZED. Perhaps rereading Birthmarked would have helped, but I also felt like PRIZED veered off in an entirely different direction: little but the names of the main characters carried over from the first book into the second, with the result that PRIZED had to create for us an entirely new dystopian world—and not necessarily with complete success. The rules of Sylum are explained to readers mostly through “tell-all” conversations with little plot and nothing concrete to tie all the Sylum-related facts that are unloaded onto readers in one fell swoop after another. I felt like the motivations for various characters’ actions were never fully illustrated. Why did the Matrarc demand such rigid obeisance to their society’s rules? Why was Gaia so insistent on defending her actions without fully considering their impact on herself and those around her? Why did she so strictly divide public opinion regarding her when she doesn’t really do anything at all? For that matter, why is Gaia so appealing to everyone? If you thought love triangles were getting a bit ridiculous in YA lit, wait until you catch a whiff of this book’s love square. Sure, readers love when the protagonist is loved by someone who sees the beauty in them despite her awkwardness/incompetence/insecurity, but Gaia’s situation felt like extreme overkill, like an intervened twist in the story purely for reader gratification. The utter unnaturalness of the situation really prevented me from becoming emotionally and intellectually invested in the story. PRIZED unfortunately seemed to cut corners in explanation of character motivation or plot progression. With little to no relevance to the first book, except through the recurrence of a handful of characters and a promise at the end of a reconnection in the last installment, this could have been an entirely different YA dystopian series—not exactly what you want from the second book in a trilogy. I think I’ll still read the last book, if only to see how Sylum and the Enclave tie back together, but overall it was a rather large disappointment.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Natasa

    Prized is a hard book to give a rating to that reflects its quality. On the one hand there are a few things that are very well done, such as the idea of a matriarchal society—truth is, I don’t think there are any YA books that explore this idea—and the gradual way Caragh M. O’Brien transforms Gaia from a headstrong leader into a submissive follower. However, there are some things that prevented me from giving it the five stars I wanted to. I’ll start with those to get them out of the way. Through Prized is a hard book to give a rating to that reflects its quality. On the one hand there are a few things that are very well done, such as the idea of a matriarchal society—truth is, I don’t think there are any YA books that explore this idea—and the gradual way Caragh M. O’Brien transforms Gaia from a headstrong leader into a submissive follower. However, there are some things that prevented me from giving it the five stars I wanted to. I’ll start with those to get them out of the way. Throughout the story there are three guys declaring their undying love for Gaia. You heard me. Three. Still, it’s not that ridiculous if you place it in the context of Sylum’s matriarchal society where the men outnumber the women nine to one. What irritates me is that Gaia becomes a pile of mush and is plagued by guilt from the desire she feels for the other two whenever she’s near one of them. Um, who are you and what have you done to the Gaia who never lets anyone tell her what she wants? Plus, there was absolutely no need for this angst because even the most clueless reader could guess Leon would turn out to be the lucky guy. And now for the things I liked. Unlike with Birthmarked, this time round I felt more connected to the characters. The writing seemed to have improved, really drawing me into the story and enabling me to relate to characters more so than the first book. I realized this when I almost threw the book when Gaia gives in to the Matrarc’s demands. Believe me, there’s nothing worse than reading about a strong heroine who has to submit and put herself under another’s power. From that point on the story flowed smoothly and I read it right to the end in one sitting. The word “abortion” is never mentioned throughout the whole book, not even once, which is very crafty especially since this is one of the main themes of the book. I love how Gaia’s view is neither for or against it and believes the choice is ultimately up to the mother. With this kind of controversial issue it’s always best to have an open mind relative to the situation; if she had taken an absolute stance on something like this that’s neither black or white, as we saw in Birthmarked, she wouldn’t be the Gaia we know and love. All in all, Prized is a well-rounded book that in some ways is better than Birthmarked and in others falls short. Nevertheless it’s a solid continuation of the series and I will definitely be reading the next book.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Cassi aka Snow White Haggard

    Warning: This will contain some spoilers for Birthmarked that will probably make no sense if you haven't read it. But be warned. 4/5 Stars I remember liking Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'Brien. I remember the basic plotline - girl midwife in a dystopian society where they're taking babies from the poor and advancing them to the rich. Girl discovers flaws of society, rebels, story ensues. This is how Dystopians tend to go and I've read a lot of them now. But I very much remember liking this one, as va Warning: This will contain some spoilers for Birthmarked that will probably make no sense if you haven't read it. But be warned. 4/5 Stars I remember liking Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'Brien. I remember the basic plotline - girl midwife in a dystopian society where they're taking babies from the poor and advancing them to the rich. Girl discovers flaws of society, rebels, story ensues. This is how Dystopians tend to go and I've read a lot of them now. But I very much remember liking this one, as vague as that memory has become because the piles of books I've read since. So when I saw Prized on Netgalley I felt obligated to request it. Then I started to worry that I wouldn't remember enough about book 1 to read book 2. Luckily, that was not the case. Prized started out great, throwing me immediately back into Gaia's story without forcing me to read a lot of backstory. Not remembering was OKAY because the story kept moving forward. I was relieved. The first chapter rocked, fast paced, throwing life-or-death risks and new problems at me immediately. Then there were a couple chapters where I'm not going to lie, this book made me nervous. I get a little worried when I feel like an author's politics are showing. It's a little like your bra strap sneaking a peak to the world. There's a place for your politics and just like a bra there's a way to use them wisely and subtly that really makes an impact. I'm not going to play coy with you because I really think you're smarter than that. Because this book involves a midwife, it's the abortion issue. I like books that broach these issues with enough sensitivity that neither side of the debate is off-put by the conversation. And books bringing up the topics need to be more conversational and less soapbox. I quickly realized it was not so much the issue itself that bothered me, but the introduction and execution felt a little clunky and deus ex machina in my opinion. Gaia has just arrived somewhere new. She's there for less than 2 days when this young lady approaches her about helping with a miscarriage. Nobody knows Gaia and there's no time spent building that trust or her reputation as a midwife. It's just thrown at you a little too quickly. It does become integral to the plot, but like I said it needs to be executed better. Then I nearly went into panic mode when I thought there was going to be a long-drawn out love square. But thankfully Leon from the first book appeared and that shifted the balance of the book very quickly. He was angry at Gaia, a little bit bitter, and a huge reality check for our main character. His character's words and story gave me the most guttural reaction, almost bringing tears (really!). From there I was engrossed and everything started clicking in place for me. Gaia saw herself, her flaws and her mistakes for the first time and had to face her own selfish behavior. Most YA heroines have a selfish streak (as do most teenagers & most people) but rarely is that acknowledged. Once this book hit it's stride I stayed up past midnight reading, but oddly not for Gaia but because my heart ached for Leon. He brought an honesty and bite that stopped the love square woe in it's tracks. He called her out, spoke the truth and for me made this book. In the end I liked this book and will look forward to the next in the series. For the most part it's an intelligent dystopian, with flawed main characters that are more human than we're used to. I really like that aspect, really like the balance between the two main characters and am glad I stuck with the book through my doubts.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    "THIS. BOOK. SUCKED. I loved Birthmarked SO MUCH, and Prized just ground all those happy emotions into the dust. I said one word throughout the entire book, over and over again: Ugh. But. Butbutbut. There were... Some okay moments. But there is a lot of moral issues that bothered me, making it hard to continue reading... And the love square was just plain ridiculous. The fact that Gaia acknowledged that it was a love square made it all the worse. And while I did enjoy the technical elements, and th "THIS. BOOK. SUCKED. I loved Birthmarked SO MUCH, and Prized just ground all those happy emotions into the dust. I said one word throughout the entire book, over and over again: Ugh. But. Butbutbut. There were... Some okay moments. But there is a lot of moral issues that bothered me, making it hard to continue reading... And the love square was just plain ridiculous. The fact that Gaia acknowledged that it was a love square made it all the worse. And while I did enjoy the technical elements, and the puzzles, and the political adversity... I just found that Gaia lost herself in this book. She wasn't Gaia Stone anymore, she was Mlass Gaia, the faithful midwife. There's a big difference, and it's evident. *SPOILERS AFTER THIS POINT* Okay. Leon frustrated me, and made me (quite honestly) hate him. I hated him. But, I also hated Gaia. I hated her so much in this book, it surprised even me. I am only fifteen, and I have grown up in a house where my parents told me exactly what was going on, in the world and in my family. For that reason, and for the reason that my aunt is a nurse who also was very vocal in what she knew, I know exactly what abortion is, and I have hated it and the doctors who practice it my entire knowing life. Abortion is the murder of an unborn child. No matter the reasoning or logic behind it, it is wrong. I think people use the term 'fetus' to make the child seem less human, less alive, so that the wrongness isn't so prevalent. But enough on my anti-abortion thoughts. My problem with this is, well, obvious, because Gaia helps a woman abort her child. And while the reason is understandable, it still shocked me. It shocked me that Gaia, who was so defensive of the unborn in Birthmarked, would just as easily kill the child when his or her mother didn't want them. This turn of events not only upset me... But disturbed me, angered me. It seemed so unlike Gaia, unlike her character, to do something so heinous. And then the Matrarc is made out to be the evil dictator for commanding her to stop. My conscience bothered me throughout the rest of Prized due to this. O'Brien disappointed me, and, for this fact, the closest I'm coming to reading Promised is the Wikipedia synopsis. Maybe.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kyra

    I became so attached to the first book when I read it. . . I absolutely cannot wait for this to come out!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Dea

    I read Birthmarked in March and couldn’t wait for Prized ever since. Imagine my delight when I saw the title on NetGalley! Everyone who knows me is fully aware that I’m a dystopian buff. Leaving whatever I was reading was such an easy decision when I found out that my request got accepted. All those months of waiting are definitely worth it! I loved Prized more than I did Birthmarked and I’m anxiously waiting for the last book in the trilogy. Prized begins where the first book left off. After esc I read Birthmarked in March and couldn’t wait for Prized ever since. Imagine my delight when I saw the title on NetGalley! Everyone who knows me is fully aware that I’m a dystopian buff. Leaving whatever I was reading was such an easy decision when I found out that my request got accepted. All those months of waiting are definitely worth it! I loved Prized more than I did Birthmarked and I’m anxiously waiting for the last book in the trilogy. Prized begins where the first book left off. After escaping from the Enclave, Gaia arrived at Sylum where the society is matriarchal and the women’s number is continuously decreasing from an unknown cause. She is forced to live within the stretch of the newfound society to be with her sister and adjust to the way the laws are enforced in Sylum. Caragh O’brien handled everything with virtuosity. Prized held me entranced from the very first page until the last. It has everything that the first book lacked of and exceeded my expectations. The romance was fun to read, especially that it’s a love square! It’s good that Gaia doesn’t fall in love quite easily. I adored the two new guys but my heart will always be for Leon. Prized was also full of surprises and mysteries. I hardly remember every detail in the first book so I’m glad to be reminded of bits of them. In spite of having many dystopia books being released these days, this series still kept a unique identity for its readers. I’m taking Genetics this semester and I was delighted to find a little of it in Prized! Anyway, I’ve always admired Gaia for her skill in midwifery. She’s just my age but her talent is unbelievable. Prized deals with the issues of justice, love, trust, gender egalitarianism, and leadership. I can’t say enough how much this series is a must read for people in all ages. You’re seriously missing out on something if you haven’t heard of this, especially if you love dystopians as much as I do. Now I have to wait another year for the third book! But I know it’s going to be worth the wait.  Thank you to NetGalley and Roaring Brook Press for providing an e-galley of this book!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Drottni

    ahhh what happened? where is the world and the characters I came to love and care for and was looking forward to read about... -Gaia's character ended up just like all the other boy obsessed, selfish, and stupid female leads out there. Here was a character who was strong and independent, brave and resourceful, and smart. Suddenly she is weak and pathetic, stupid in her decisions, and falling head over heels for every guy that gives her a second look. -Although I found Leon's abrupt character chang ahhh what happened? where is the world and the characters I came to love and care for and was looking forward to read about... -Gaia's character ended up just like all the other boy obsessed, selfish, and stupid female leads out there. Here was a character who was strong and independent, brave and resourceful, and smart. Suddenly she is weak and pathetic, stupid in her decisions, and falling head over heels for every guy that gives her a second look. -Although I found Leon's abrupt character change to be a bit annoying as well, I felt as though his observations of Gaia were completely true and she deserved his harsh behavior. Other than that Leon does absolutely nothing, besides giving Gaia confusing advice and trying not to flirt with her while really, he was flirting with her. -The new world that Gaia ends up in doesn't make sense and is never properly explained. Why would a majority that is stronger than the minority just stand by and let their rights and justice be taken away? The half-hearted explanations given did not make sense to me. This book was filled with flaws and disappoinments. However I was still fully engrossed in it and finished it quite quickly. It managed to catch my attention and keep it, but left me feeling like it was not nearly as good as I was expecting it to be. Will read the next book.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Giselle (Book Nerd Canada)

    Another wonderful addition to the BIRTHMARKED trilogy. Even though they're in a different setting, the dystopian society stayed the same. Just touching a female would land a male in jail for attempted rape. This society have women in charge and the men as second-class citizens. I didn't really understand it but I did accept that because there was a shortage of females they allowed women to be in charge because they were so valuable. I still don't understand how there were hermaphrodites and how Another wonderful addition to the BIRTHMARKED trilogy. Even though they're in a different setting, the dystopian society stayed the same. Just touching a female would land a male in jail for attempted rape. This society have women in charge and the men as second-class citizens. I didn't really understand it but I did accept that because there was a shortage of females they allowed women to be in charge because they were so valuable. I still don't understand how there were hermaphrodites and how they came to be. The love square was rather weird and it didn't need to be added in to the story. But I guess it's to bring tension to the story. Gaia was different in this one and I can't say I liked it. Also someone is a jerk in this one and I just wanted to punch him. Wasn't fair at all. Terrible how he treated her. There was a lot of mystery that surrounded the infertility and I wanted that to be the focus, not the love square. I am still invested in the whole story to see what happens in the last book. This is definitely a highly interesting and creative dystopian series that I recommend anyone to check out.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Nafiza

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Hear that? The silence? The long-drawn wondering silence that is tinged with wonderment. That was my reaction after I finished the book. In case you didn't read my review of the first book, let me tell you that I loved it. I liked the characterization, the world building, the terrifying possibility of the eventual extinction of the human race. I also loved Leon and Gaia. The way they complemented each other, their complex relationship. I loved Birthmarked 1 enough that I was more than keen to rea Hear that? The silence? The long-drawn wondering silence that is tinged with wonderment. That was my reaction after I finished the book. In case you didn't read my review of the first book, let me tell you that I loved it. I liked the characterization, the world building, the terrifying possibility of the eventual extinction of the human race. I also loved Leon and Gaia. The way they complemented each other, their complex relationship. I loved Birthmarked 1 enough that I was more than keen to read the second book in what I hope is a trilogy. I was disappointed. I was massively disappointed. I was so disappointed it hurt. Well okay, it didn't but somewhere in me there lives a tiny bibliophile and every time she reads a disappointing book, she dies a little death. If you remember the end of the first book, Gaia flees to the wild lands to escape from the Government kind of people, you know, the one with the guns and the water? Yeah, them. She leaves Leon behind and takes her baby sister. She ends up somewhere in the wilds and is taken captive by a man who delivers her to a community where women rule. Hehe. When I say women rule, I mean, men are treated like second class citizens. And women rule because there are so few of them. And you see, since there are so few women, all the women who are present and who do not choose otherwise, have to have ten or eleven children. Because otherwise the population is going to die out. And women rule. Look, I'm sorry, okay? When women rule, I doubt they'd agree to have eleven children no matter how much the population is on the verge of extinction. Giving birth, as I've been told by various women, is difficult. And that might be an understatement. But anyway. Yeah. Women give birth and there's this matriarch who takes Gaia's sister because Gaia's deemed unfit to care for her sister since she you know, took her away from her home and traveled with her for so many miles. Almost killing her and all. Okay. My problems with this book are plentiful. First, there is barely a plot. Okay, fine, there is no real plot. There is a semblance of one but a real plot? Nope. Second. You know how I whine about hating love triangles? Well, this book had... um, defied shape making because there were three boys who were madly in love with Gaia. The author tries, bless her, she tries to make it seem logical and to a certain point, I suppose it is. Since there is a shortage of women, and Gaia is so bloody awesome, obviously she'll be the choiciest meat on the market. And I could have handled that. However, the manner in which Gaia behaved with all three of her harem members, in a word, disgusted me. Yes, I don't usually evince such strong sentiment against main characters but bloody hell. She's smooching one, cooing at another and making eyes at the third one. And Leon? He has a love/hate thing going on with Gaia. As in he loves her but hates that he loves her and she doesn't help by smooching the other two (who happen to be brothers, must do awesome things to their relationship, huh?). Gaia's development into the person she was in Prized made me hate the novel. Also, (view spoiler)[at the end, she is chosen as some sort of leader and by them, I was snorting. There were other women who had more experience, were older and this young girl who can't even decide which man she wants, is chosen as the leader? Colour me disbelieving. (hide spoiler)] And even though she smooches Leon (after they somehow make up? I don't know, I must have been rolling my eyes and missed that part), she lets him know that she hasn't chosen him yet. She wants to keep her options open and smooch him when she feels like it. It doesn't matter how he feels about it because clearly his feelings don't matter. She's the only one whose feelings matter. Ugh. Oh and finally, I hate this whole "I'm so good, I'll forgive the wicked character" trope that's going on. I hate it. For once, I'd like to see the villain being hated till the very end. Die Voldemort, die! How would you feel if Harry was to go, "I forgive you, Voldie! You were just misunderstood and unloved! That's why you became this bastard with a snake and all bald without a nose! Come, let's hug and make up!" See my point? Anyway, I didn't enjoy the book. O'Brian writes fine, she's great at creating tense atmosphere and smexy scenes but her plot, dudes. Her plot and her characterization of Gaia. Ergh. I sound really bitter but I had many hopes for this book and well, I AM bitter. I'm not reading the third one. It's going to have more romantic gymnastics and I don't see the point of it. Unless someone can convince me otherwise, that is. :(

  18. 5 out of 5

    Cici

    The first book, Birthmarked is one of my favorite books! I really loved all the characters and coding and puzzles. I can't wait to get a hold of this book! :) Prized is AMAZING! I LOVED it! It feels very different from Birthmarked (maybe because of the place setting and how Gaia is treated) but I loved it just as much. Definetly a new favorite. Gaia Stone and her baby sister, Maya escape the Enclave with hope of finding a better life for them in the Dead Forest(Sylum). Sylum, Gaia discovers is comp The first book, Birthmarked is one of my favorite books! I really loved all the characters and coding and puzzles. I can't wait to get a hold of this book! :) Prized is AMAZING! I LOVED it! It feels very different from Birthmarked (maybe because of the place setting and how Gaia is treated) but I loved it just as much. Definetly a new favorite. Gaia Stone and her baby sister, Maya escape the Enclave with hope of finding a better life for them in the Dead Forest(Sylum). Sylum, Gaia discovers is completely different from her own home and not necessarily in a good way either. Something is wrong with Sylum, something in their environment makes it impossible for people to leave once they've been there for a few days, leaving will mean death. Also there's a shortage on girls. 1 out of 10 babies born are female. Eventually, Sylum will die out. Sylum is lead by a woman, the Matrarc, who I found to be a very fascinating character. Women are in charge, they inherit and carry the family line. They vote and make the decisions. The children take the mothers last name instead of the fathers. Touching a woman without being married is a crime. In the Enclave, Gaia's scar made her ugly and an outcast. In Sylum people barely noticed her scar, she is treated with respect and a quite a few men actually swooned after her. Gaia really grows in this book and becomes such a strong character. We do get to reunite with a character from the first book that will make Birthmarked fans happy. Well, that's all I'm saying, I dont want to give much away! Read it, you will love it. (Read Birthmarked first, you'll love that one as well) Amazing books! :)

  19. 5 out of 5

    Carla

    I enjoyed this one more than the first book! Like I said before the writing style isn't my fav but the story is still exciting :)

  20. 4 out of 5

    Gökçe

    Serinin 1.kitabına 5 puan verdiysem mantık olarak buna 10 puan vermem lazımdı. 1.kitaptan daha daha güzeldi. Bayıldım ! Hiç böyle olacağını beklemiyordum.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Von.Wörtern.gefesselt

    Teil 2 ist genauso gut wie Teil 1, voll überzeugt!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Pati Kantún

    Empezaré por escribir que me gustó mucho más este libro que Marca de Nacimiento. La historia se desarrolla en una sociedad distópica en un poblado llamado Sailum, que resultó ser más severa y dura que el Enclave. Es una sociedad gobernada por las mujeres con una autoridad máxima llamada Matrarca, lo curioso es que en este pueblo los hombre superan a las mujeres 10 a 1 lo que nos da una base coherente de porque un personaje como Gaia es suprimida y despojada de su libertad otra vez y se convirtió Empezaré por escribir que me gustó mucho más este libro que Marca de Nacimiento. La historia se desarrolla en una sociedad distópica en un poblado llamado Sailum, que resultó ser más severa y dura que el Enclave. Es una sociedad gobernada por las mujeres con una autoridad máxima llamada Matrarca, lo curioso es que en este pueblo los hombre superan a las mujeres 10 a 1 lo que nos da una base coherente de porque un personaje como Gaia es suprimida y despojada de su libertad otra vez y se convirtió en alguien complaciente y falto de voluntad. Me decepcionó por momentos y extrañe a la Gaia del Enclave pero es algo que como escribí se entiende puesto que tiene que enfrentarse cara a cara y convivir con la Matrarca que es alguien que ostenta el poder de forma muy severa y que exuda autoridad y confianza de forma casi arrogante, cosa que no pasaba en el libro anterior puesto que aunque tuvo sus encuentros con el Protector nunca tuvo un trato directo con él ni se vio directamente agredida y suprimida por su personalidad. A eso sumemosle que atraviesa por un momento de soledad y adaptación a esta nueva sociedad radicalmente diferente al Enclave y sin posibilidad de abandonarla con vida de ninguna manera. Cuando pasamos por momentos de angustia, incertidumbre o dolor somos propensos a quebrarnos y ser la sombra de las personas que éramos sobre todo si no tenemos una esperanza o una motivación, y eso no nos hace débiles ni carentes de fuerza y de voluntad, lo que nos hace débiles es rendirnos, conformarse y eso es algo que Gaia atraviesa, todos los problemas le explotan en la cara y además está su encuentro con Leon, un Leon que sigue siendo un personaje fuerte y decidido y fiel a sus creencias y que ha pasado por muchas cosas solo para estar con Gaia, pero que debido a las malas decisiones que toma Gaia se encuentra molesto, herido y resentido con ella y aunque al principio sentí que Leon era injusto con Gaia, la verdad es que lo comprendí. En este libro leemos sobre un Leon que es distinto y a la vez el mismo personaje del libro anterior, se ha desarrollando a lo largo de la historia de tal manera que a pesar de las cosas crueles o hirientes que puede decir o hacer nos hace ver la intensidad de sus sentimientos y de lo que en verdad vale el amor y Gaia para él. Madura y se convierte en un hombre de verdad. Al menos a mí me lo pareció. Es algo difícil de describir, pero Leon se ganó mí corazón al 100%. Dejando los problemas amorosos entre Leon y Gaia, hay misterios que rodean este pueblo que no deja salir a sus habitantes sin una sentencia de muerte, y como no podía ser de otra forma, las respuestas a este misterio están decodificadas por un personaje importante del pasado de Gaia y que como en el libro anterior se me hizo muy interesante e ingenioso la forma en que descubren la solución a este misterio y que le agrega más acción a este libro. Gaia se reivindica y de una forma como solo ella puede hacer y que me dejo satisfecha y orgullosa de ella, porque esa es la Gaia sobre la que Leí en el primer libro y la que tanto me gusta, ahora más porque, a pesar de todo pudo salir adelante y ser fiel a sus principios y a ella misma. La relación amorosa entre ella y Leon fue otra cosa que me dejo muy satisfecha. Es justamente este amor el que ayuda a Gaia a salir adelante, no la convierte en dependiente de Leon ni la hace una pusilánime ni mucho menos, aunque no hay un romance empalagoso o soso me llego muy claro el mensaje que la autora quiso transmitir: El amor es una fuerza que no debilita ni suprime, que sí es verdadero y esta fundamentado en la confianza y en la completa aceptación de una persona tal cuál es, es decir, con sus virtudes y sus defectos es una fuerza imparable. Sí, soy una romántica sin remedio pero al menos eso es lo que me transmitió la autora con la relación de Gaia y Leon. Hay personajes nuevos, situaciones, acontecimientos y demás cosas que me hicieron imposible dejar de leerlo, ahora me muero de sueño, pero valió la pena. La única cosa que yo encuentro reprochable fue el "Cuadrado amoroso" En primera porque los triángulos amorosos a mí no me van, ya no digamos un cuadrado. En segunda la relación que desarrolla Gaia con los hermanos Chardo (Will y Peter) nunca se me hizo lo suficientemente profunda o complicada como para que en algún momento me pasará por la cabeza que Gaia se enamoraría de uno de ellos, o más aún que yo haya deseado que se quede con alguno, es una cosa muy similar que paso con la relación que se leía con Leon en el libro anterior. Sí, son guapos y los dos me cayeron bien y entiendo que Gaia se siente emocionada por tener la atención de los dos y por la novedad de sentirse deseada y una chica normal pero no sentí nada más por su parte. Y en tercera porque dicho cuadrado ni siquiera resultó ser uno, la cosa se debatió entre un hermano Chardo y Leon. Uno de los Chardo hizo el papel de enamorado y se la jugo por el afecto de Gaia pero el otro ni siquiera tuvo una oportunidad y en el libro tampoco se específica que el sintiera algo más por Gaia que atracción, eso sí que fue muy caballeroso y me cayo muy bien. Yo creo que la autora se dio cuenta que estaba metiendo la pata porque suficiente tiene que atravesar la pobre de Gaia, como para además tener quebraderos de cabeza por amor, cosa que no sucede tampoco porque sí que tiene dudas pero desde el principio sentí su amor por Leon era algo tangible y que ella lo sabía pero como la cosa estaba complicada se hizo a la tonta. Siento que la autora quería llevar la situación por un camino, se dio cuenta que no era necesario y que podría arruinar la escencia de Gaia y de la historia y lo intento llevar por otro lado pero tampoco le dio tiempo o no supo como pulir el lío que había creado y dejo ese "cuadrado amoroso" como le salió. Es algo que no me cuajo pero que tampoco se me hizo pesado ni le resto a la historia porque ese "cuadrado" se quedó en un término entre el desastre y algo emocionante o interesante. Creo que es la reseña más larga que he escrito y seguro esta llena de Spoilers pero en verdad me gustó mucho, mucho, mucho este libro y creo que deberían darle una oportunidad. Yo estoy ansiosa por comenzar con el tercero y ver que nuevos retos y situaciones enfrentan Gaia y Leon en el camino para vivir una vida en libertad y por consiguiente feliz. 10/5☆

  23. 4 out of 5

    Karen’s Library

    In Prized, Gaia is found in the wasteland with her baby sister, both of whom have almost succumbed to starvation. When brought to Sylum, she discovers another community, this time ruled by women. Within the same series, Caragh O'Brien has again created another crazy dystopian world with completely different rules, classes, and rulers. In both worlds, Gaia is one of the few who dares to challenge what's in place. Although... There was a time when Gaia did disappoint. But, in the end, she once agai In Prized, Gaia is found in the wasteland with her baby sister, both of whom have almost succumbed to starvation. When brought to Sylum, she discovers another community, this time ruled by women. Within the same series, Caragh O'Brien has again created another crazy dystopian world with completely different rules, classes, and rulers. In both worlds, Gaia is one of the few who dares to challenge what's in place. Although... There was a time when Gaia did disappoint. But, in the end, she once again became the strong willed Gaia I grew to love in Birthmarked. I am most definitely picking up the final book, Promised, and continuing on with my binge reading of this series.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jacinda

    *This is the second book in the Birthmarked series. This review may contain spoilers for the first book* I read Birthmarked, the first book in the series, prior to having a blog of my own. Of course that means I never reviewed it. I can tell you it was a book I absolutely knew I would want to read the sequel too. Many first books in a series I read and never have the desire to pick up book number two…Birthmarked had me wanting to read Prized right after reading the last page. I even picked up my *This is the second book in the Birthmarked series. This review may contain spoilers for the first book* I read Birthmarked, the first book in the series, prior to having a blog of my own. Of course that means I never reviewed it. I can tell you it was a book I absolutely knew I would want to read the sequel too. Many first books in a series I read and never have the desire to pick up book number two…Birthmarked had me wanting to read Prized right after reading the last page. I even picked up my review copy the day after I received it, that’s how much I wanted to read this book! Birthmarked initially was written as a stand-alone. You could never tell by how well everything flows together from book one to book two. We’re left in book one with Gaia leaving the Enclave with her baby sister and we have no idea what’s in-store for her. Gaia is brought into a different society of people in Prized. In book one and in book two, the lives of everyone revolve around genetics…it’s a huge part of the story. The problems with genetics are totally different from the two books. Gender roles are flipped within this different group of people. I was surprised by this, but it does make sense for what the characters are living through, but at the same time I personally hate it. A villain who you wouldn’t expect is in Prized, I seriously despised her from the beginning. I could see where many people may sympathize with her…I loathed her. I normally am someone who complains about having to learn about a whole new world when the book is a second in a series. This book is the exception to the rule for me…I enjoyed learning the ways of a completely different set of people in the same world and time. The people and society Gaia stumbles upon is Prized in different than anything else I’ve ever read. the world stands out on it’s own. If you’re looking for a dystopian unlike any other the others out there right now, the Birthmarked series is for you! I can’t wait to see what Caragh has in-the-works for us for book number three! Sidenote: Gaia gets herself stuck in what she calls a “love square” which had me dying laughing. It works well for the story because of the situation the characters are in.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Arooj

    *sigh* This book...I just did not enjoy it. At all. The first book was an interesting start to the series, but this book was not what I expected it to be. First of all, this series doesn't sound dystopian at all to me. In Birthmarked I could have believed it, but not so much now. This world just doesn't make sense to me. I also didn't like how after learning so much about the Enclave, we now have to learn about another society. It was just plain boring. All Gaia did was sit around for weeks as a *sigh* This book...I just did not enjoy it. At all. The first book was an interesting start to the series, but this book was not what I expected it to be. First of all, this series doesn't sound dystopian at all to me. In Birthmarked I could have believed it, but not so much now. This world just doesn't make sense to me. I also didn't like how after learning so much about the Enclave, we now have to learn about another society. It was just plain boring. All Gaia did was sit around for weeks as a prisoner. Same thing that happened in Birthmarked. And Gaia? She completely ruined the book for me. She just forgets about her sisters and follows the leader of the society because she was "too scared". What happened to the Gaia who stood up to the rulers of the Enclave? It was as if Gaia liked this society more just because it was the women who were in charge now. She was completely different. And when a certain someone sends a message to her, asking for help, she just ignores it. Again, because she was "afraid". I'm sorry Gaia, but I am so disappointed in you. Even Leon changed - and not for the good. I understood his anger towards Gaia, but he just wasn't the same. I actually skimmed the last half of the book because otherwise it would have taken me FOREVER to get through it. Guess I won't be continuing this series.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Imani

    So Gaia left and set out for the Dead Forest after the first book. She's now been in the Wastelands, with her sister near death, when she is rescued only to be brought into a whole other dystopian society. Alrightie then. I won't complain- it was another interesting society to explore- where women rule and men don't. Intriguing. The plot was still good, and the writing was as beautiful as it was before. I was a bit worried for Leon in the middle of the book D: but luckily that didn't last. My So Gaia left and set out for the Dead Forest after the first book. She's now been in the Wastelands, with her sister near death, when she is rescued only to be brought into a whole other dystopian society. Alrightie then. I won't complain- it was another interesting society to explore- where women rule and men don't. Intriguing. The plot was still good, and the writing was as beautiful as it was before. I was a bit worried for Leon in the middle of the book D: but luckily that didn't last. My ONLY complaint was Gaia for like half the book. She became a coward, but eventually she rose up again. HOWEVER I'M STILL UNHAPPY WITH HER in regards to Leon. LIKE REALLY??? What's there to think about?!! He's the one for her!! Her need "to think" about it just struck me as really stupid. I get it- the author did it so that maybe we can see some resolve between them in the last book in the trilogy. Fine. That doesn't mean I had to like it.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kathi

    Wenn ich nur den Anfang und das Ende bewerten würde, würde ich dem Buch mind. 4,5 Sterne geben. Allerdings fand ich den Mittelteil super langweilig, weil einfach gefühlt nichts passiert ist. Das war auch der Grund dafür, dass ich so lange für das Buch gebraucht habe. Die Charaktere mochte ich wie immer super gerne und auch die ganzen neuen Charakteren sind mir direkt ans Herz gewachsen. :)

  28. 4 out of 5

    Trisha

    “She’d heard of love triangles before, but a love square?” I'd never planned to continue this series. I hadn't loved the first book and only had sketchy memories of it. But I wanted an audio book and this one was easy to get, so I grabbed it. Imagine my surprise. The adventure of her travel, being found by Peter and the adventure into the new land was fascinating. I liked learning about the new rules and the town, the people and their lives. The fact that she was a midwife was an interesting twis “She’d heard of love triangles before, but a love square?” I'd never planned to continue this series. I hadn't loved the first book and only had sketchy memories of it. But I wanted an audio book and this one was easy to get, so I grabbed it. Imagine my surprise. The adventure of her travel, being found by Peter and the adventure into the new land was fascinating. I liked learning about the new rules and the town, the people and their lives. The fact that she was a midwife was an interesting twist that added more depth to the story and the town. but the struggles with all the boys made me want to shake Gaia. She was so frustrating, seeming wise beyond her years as far as delivering babies and taking care of mothers but she was completely out of her depth about boys. Her love square was so aggravating, I wanted to stop reading multiple times but didn't. I'm glad I stuck with it. The end was worth it. I'm not sure I'll read the next one but I might.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Isa Lavinia

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Prized (Birthmarked Trilogy) Birthmarked is one of my favourite YA books, it has it all: great world-building, well-developed characters who make realistic choices, a real sense of terror considering what was at stake and, oh wonder of wonders!, no love triangle, no insta-love, no Mary-Sue for a heroine.   There was very little of this in Prized. I don't know, maybe because Birthmarked was so amazing my expectations for Prized were too high. But really, what flowed so beautifully in Birthmarked wa Prized (Birthmarked Trilogy) Birthmarked is one of my favourite YA books, it has it all: great world-building, well-developed characters who make realistic choices, a real sense of terror considering what was at stake and, oh wonder of wonders!, no love triangle, no insta-love, no Mary-Sue for a heroine.   There was very little of this in Prized. I don't know, maybe because Birthmarked was so amazing my expectations for Prized were too high. But really, what flowed so beautifully in Birthmarked was stunted and just felt forced here.   The love quadrangle: I get it, new setting, new rules. But Birthmarked was special because the heroine was unwanted. It was special because there was no insta-love between her and the love interest, because what happened between them was built slowly, and it felt beautiful, it felt real. It wasn't even a major part of the plot but it was all the more cherished for that.   In Prized we get Gaia making absurd decisions and going back and forth on the ones she does make. I like flawed characters, the thing is, this just made her inconsistent and unrealistic. Surely, with all that was happening, she had more to occupy her mind than wasting time wondering whom she loved more?   While in Birthmarked there was this feeling of "there may be romance here, but really, now is not the time" (and it really wasn't!), that was set aside in Prized, and in my opinion the book really suffered for it.   Insta-love: I kind of (almost) understand the thing she had with Will, but Peter? What was even the point? If you needed another one for a love triangle (and believe me, you never need a love triangle), Will at least had something in common with Gaia, something Leon did not have. What was the point of Peter even existing?   Leon: That was just... I get it, but I'm really, really sorry to say this because I genuinely like Caragh M. O'Brien's writing... it was poorly executed.   All in all, this book left me feeling that O'Brien was not only trying to make it more conforming to what is generally perceived a YA audience desires but also that she was rushing to meet a deadline.   I hope this is just second book syndrome, like I said, Caragh M. O'Brien's writing is great - I'm giving this a two, I know this sounds horribly unfair, but if it were another writer, one I'd never read before, I'd probably give it a 3.5. But the thing is, I have read a nearly flawless book by O'Brien, and you just can't follow that with... this. I'm sorry! I feel terrible because, as I've mentioned several times, I love her writing, so I have every hope that Promised will amaze me.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Eve

    I didn't think O'Brien could do it again, but she did. And it was perfect. Again. Let me start by saying how much I loved Birthmarked. Usually, I never expect the second book to be as good, or even slightly better,than the first. This totally blew away my expectations. Everything about this book was great. O'Brien's writing just flows so perfectly. She's very descriptive, and definitely gives you a good vision of what this "magical land" actually looks like. Amazing. That's really it. Definitely I didn't think O'Brien could do it again, but she did. And it was perfect. Again. Let me start by saying how much I loved Birthmarked. Usually, I never expect the second book to be as good, or even slightly better,than the first. This totally blew away my expectations. Everything about this book was great. O'Brien's writing just flows so perfectly. She's very descriptive, and definitely gives you a good vision of what this "magical land" actually looks like. Amazing. That's really it. Definitely some spoilers, so if you haven't read this book yet, I suggest you don't continue reading :) LEON IS BACK. Thank the Lord! Honestly don't think I could've read an entire book without him. When he first arrived, he was full of hatred and nastiness toward Gaia, but really, he did have an excuse. I mean come on, he went to heck and back for Gaia, and you don't expect him to be furious when she offers him a horse to leave with? Seriously. I'd be pretty PO'ed too. Yet soon enough, he goes back to his old swoon worthy self. And I mean swoon worthy. In italics. Ugh, so of those things he said...just...sheesh. I love him. That's pretty much all I can say. Oh Lord, and that last chapter? When he basically confesses his eternal love to her? Dear God. *swoons* I love Gaia. Again. Her character is always so strong, and .. well, for lack of a better word, perfect. She never gives up. And although I was a little irritated when she went all smoochy on Peter, I guess it made sense. Leon was being a complete jerk. Still, throughout the entire book I loved reading about her. There wasn't even one part where she aggravated me, because there was always a somewhat logical explanation behind it. Not some stupid excuse because she was feeling lonely and need a friend because little Leon hurt her feelings. I mean, heck, if someone as sweet as Peter wanted to kiss me while I was feeling down, I'd probably do the same thing ;D That sounded weird. ANYWAY.... The rest of the characters were awesome. I loved the whole book. What else can I say? Hmph. Oh, I really loved the "map" layout before the book even started :) It actually lets you see where things are located. And the whole woman/man thing was weird! I wanna find out how Gaia is gonna handle her position as Matrarc (if thats how you spell it :P) in the next book! Just read this series. Please. You won't regret it ;D K BYE. -missrosey

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