After defying the ruthless Enclave, surviving the wasteland, and upending the rigid matriarchy of Sylum, Gaia Stone now faces her biggest challenge ever. She must lead the people of Sylum back to the Enclave and persuade the Protectorat to grant them refuge from the wasteland. In Gaia's absence, the Enclave has grown more cruel, more desperate to experiment on mothers from outside the wall, and now the stakes of cooperating or rebelling have never been higher. Is Gaia ready, as a leader, to sacrifice what--or whom--she loves most? (from GoodReads)
After reading and enjoying both Birthmarked and Prized, I was very much looking forward to the conclusion, Promised. While I like this trilogy overall, I think Promised was the weakest of the three books.
I had trouble getting into Promised, which never happened with the first two books. First, I couldn't remember what had happened or even who certain characters were. Apparently, this book skipped ahead a year, but I'm not exactly sure. It's also been awhile since I've read the sequel, so I'm probably rusty. But Gaia is the Matrarc, meaning she is the leader of New Sylum. I thought it was neat that she had so much authority, but it went to waste when many of her subjects didn't listen to her and she wasn't the best at decision-making. I shouldn't be too hard no Gaia because she is only seventeen, but I can't deny that she's pretty immature.
Much of Promised is Gaia trying to convince the Protectorat to give her people water, and this involves her sneaking in and out of the Enclave several times with no results. There was a lot of back and forth - will he give them water? Will Gaia be killed if she enters the Enclave another time? I started getting tired of it and just wanted something to happen! Luckily at the end there is a lot of action which makes up for the rest of the novel.
Two points I wanted to make that I didn't like about Promised: one, I couldn't stand how there was a love quadrangle. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Gaia has no less than THREE male suitors. Love triangles are bad enough but three men vying for Gaia's affections?!? What was even worse was that she hardly interacted with Will or Peter, so what was the point? I love Leon so I didn't really mind but I couldn't help rolling my eyes every time it was brought up.
Another thing I disliked was how preachy Gaia would get whenever discussing babies. There's a subplot where a group of women become surrogate mothers, and Gaia could not understand how a women could give up a baby she carried, even though it's genetically not hers. I totally get if that's not your thing, but you don't have to insult a person who decides to do that.
So it probably sounds like I didn't enjoy Promised at all, which isn't the case. I still think Caragh M. O'Brien is a good writer and that definitely made me enjoy this novel more. I still like this world-building and wanted to know what was going to happen at the end. I would also definitely read more by this author. There were just a few things I didn't like in Promised that weren't really in the other books.
Rating: 7 out of 10.
FTC: borrowed from the library.
2012/Roaring Brook Press/304 pages.