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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Prized (Birthmarked #2) by Caragh O'Brien

Publication Date: 11-8-2011
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Pages: 368
Format: e-book
Source: netGalley

Goodreads Summary:
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.  

I didn't find Prized to be as amazing as Birthmarked, but I think it's because it wasn't what I was expecting.  I knew things would change, but I didn't realize we would be introduced to so many new people and things.  There were a lot of new changes to get used to while engaging in it.   Overall, I liked Prized and can't wait to see what happens in the final book of this trilogy.  O'Brien has set this up in such a way that I can't even predict what will happen in book three.  I think that's why I'm so excited and just want to read it now!  There are a lot of ways this trilogy could end, but I have a feeling it isn't going to be any that I expect.  Anyway, I think if you enjoyed Birthmarked you will likely enjoy Prized (even if it's not as much), and you will certainly be looking forward to the third and final book in this series.

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