Publication Date: 11-8-2011
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
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?
Prized began where Birthmarked left off, leaving Gaia with little supplies left and trying to find a way to provide for her younger sister, who she is certain is going to die shortly without help. She is brought into the city of Sylum, where she finds more than she bargained for. Women are in charge yet they are outnumbered by the men. A kiss could lead to a sentence of death or imprisonment, and the rules seem to ever change to accommodate those in charge. Gaia doesn't understand a lot about this society, but she didn't try very hard to either. I can't deny that she kind of upset me in this novel. She took a step back and wasn't the strong heroine that I remembered. She was stubborn, whiny, and made some crazy stupid decisions. At the same time, I tried to remind myself that she is 16 and shouldn't be expected to always make the smartest decisions.
Her relationships with people she knew changed dramatically, and she causes a lot of trouble for those in town. She doesn't conform the way they would like her too, but is constantly questioning and trying to change their laws and standards. At times I thought she was doomed, but she ultimately surprised me and became stronger throughout the novel. She seemed to come into herself more and figure out exactly what she was supposed to do to help this society, her sister, and those in the Enclave.