Saturday, December 31, 2011

Prized by Caragh M. O'Brien

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, but how can she deny her sense of justice, her curiosity, and everything in her heart that makes her whole? (from GoodReads)

I loved Birthmarked and I've been waiting a long time to read this. I'm very glad to say that I enjoyed it a lot, even though it was very different from its predecessor.

In Birthmarked, the reader is introduced to a new, dystopian society and the same thing occurs in Prized. Obviously, it's the same world, but the society is extremely different. In Sylum, the women are the rulers and the only ones allowed to vote, which is especially important because men outnumber women nine to one. Propriety is taken very seriously and men and women are not allowed to touch. Even though I don't like the harsh rules in Sylum, I do understand why they have them. With so few women to go around, I can see how things might get crazy.

Like the readers, Gaia is very confused in Sylum, since it's so drastically difference than the Enclave. She has to make certain decisions regarding her behavior and do things she might not agree with to achieve her ultimate goal, which is to fit in and have a life in Sylum. It was interesting to see Gaia's struggle because I think I would have the same issues as she does.

Most novels these days have a love triangle, but Prized goes the next step and employs a love square. Yes, three men are vying for Gaia's attentions, which is a little ridiculous if you ask me. Because there is so much going on, one of the men is only a minor romantic interest, so Prized had more of a love triangle. I did like the romance in this book, especially because the characters were so different. I pretty much knew who Gaia was going to choose but it was still nice to see the other characters anyway.

The only thing that I didn't like (and this also occurred often in Birthmarked) was that Gaia figured things out so easily. Letters written in code? Decoded within a day. Male infertility in Sylum? Gaia finds the cause. The acclimation sickness? Gaia also finds the cause and the cure. Besides attracting the entire male population, she also is a genius. Obviously, the book moves faster when characters aren't dwelling on solving all these little mysteries, but it would be nice to allow some issues to develop more before Gaia pulls the answer out of thin air.

Besides my issue with problems being solved so quickly, I still enjoyed Prized a lot. It was very different than Birthmarked, but in a good way. I'm definitely excited to complete to the trilogy and can't wait to read the next book.

Rating: 9 out of 10.
FTC: borrowed from library.

2011/Roaring Brook Press/368 pages.

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