October 27, 2011

Prized by Caragh M. O’Brien

Release Date: November 8, 2011
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Pages: 368
Series: Birthmarked #2
Review Source: Netgalley

Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
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?

My Thoughts:
The first notes I wrote about this book are as follows: “Some of the things in this book drove me crazy, but overall I liked it even better than 'Birthmarked'. Seriously good!” And really that describes my feelings pretty well.

What’s interesting about this book is that it takes place in an entirely different community than the one in ‘Birthmarked.’ Gaia finds herself stuck in a place that is eerily insular and has a completely different power structure than the one in Enclave. It’s also interesting because there’s nothing inherently evil about how things are run in Sylum, this new community, yet as readers we see the balance of power and the strict rules as wrong for their excessive nature and their strictness.

I love how strong Gaia becomes in this book in a lot of ways, but I also thought her romantic and personal decisions left a lot to be desired. For some reason there are three guys (including two brothers) who are vying for Gaia’s attention in this volume, and it got to be a little much. I guess I can understand the males of Sylum being attracted to Gaia because she’s so different from the rest of the community, but what bothered me the most is that Gaia acted pretty enamoured with all her male choices. It seemed a little forced that she acted as if she liked all of them, since to me it was pretty clear who she had true feelings for.

For the most part, though, this is a great read. The best part about ‘Prized’ is that it could almost be a standalone book. Even though Gaia’s story continues on from the first book and it comes back around to the Enclave in a roundabout way, ‘Prized’ tells its own individual story. It doesn’t suffer from 2nd book syndrome where nothing happens and the story is dragged out in order for the trilogy to be complete. If anything, ‘Prized’ is even more exciting and dynamic than ‘Birthmarked’. This is a series that definitely deserves more attention for its quiet dystopian nature where the structure of society must be changed through internal forces rather than outside rebellion.

The Cover:
Really pretty, I like it.


Find Prized by Caragh M. O’Brien on Goodreads, Book Depository, & Amazon.


  1. Ooo, it's always so nice when second books live up (or are even better than) the first. We haven't read Birthmarked, but your review is making us think we should pick this series up. Plus they have gorgeous covers. Thanks!!

  2. I'm glad to hear that you liked this one better than Birthmarked! I liked Birthmarked, but wasn't completely blown away by it (maybe it's because I always have a little bit of trouble getting into dystopian books), but I was still planning on reading the sequel because the ending of Birthmarked was such a major cliffhanger.

  3. Really, a different community? Interesting. But it sounds fabulous. I have this on my Kindle...think I'll have to read it ASAP! And it is a very pretty cover (one thing I miss with my ereader).

  4. I really love this cover. It sucks me in and it is so mysterious.

  5. This sounds like an interesting read, but the whole romance polygon would drive me nuts.

    I like the sound of it, and I'm intrigued as to what the rules are in this new place.

  6. Love your observation about "second book syndrome" -- that is so often true. Glad to see that this one did not suffer from that problem.

  7. It does deserve more attention! I was okay with the "love square" just because of the nature of the community...no women, many men. But I get what you're saying about how Gaia was acting! Great review!


Thank you so much for taking the time to comment; I appreciate each one!


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