by Caragh M. O'Brien
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?
Why I Picked This Book: I loved Birthmarked. It was a no brainer I had to pick up book two as well! Not to mention the cover is just stunning.
After reading Birthmarked, I highly looked forward to book two. O'Brien is a very talented writer, and I couldn't wait to see where Gaia would find herself next. Prized from the get-go had me worried. The opening felt very rocky, and from then on out... It just kept rocking.
In book two, Gaia finds herself in the Dead Forest. Hidden inside is yet another dystopian community, where she finds herself trapped because of a strange addiction in the air. In this community, the woman rule. And the women are dying out. Her skills as a midwife are valuable and needed, but can she change everything that she is in order to survive?
It was an intriguing plot that seemed like it could go well with book one. O'Brien's writing is amazing, and her words always pull me along. The problem for me is: it didn't feel connected at all to Birthmarked. Prized is book two in the series, picking up almost directly where the other book left off. But everything felt different.
To me, it felt like not very much happened in this story. I kept waiting for something awesome, and kept finding myself walking in the same circles. It felt like that final spark just never flared to life, which left my bumming.
Oh... and there is a love square. Literally. Three guys, all fighting for Gaia in their own ways. Leon is back, angrier and more surly than ever. I just wanted to smack him. Peter, the boy who saved Gaia and doesn't mind bending a few rules to get her attention. And his brother Will, the silent devoted type. Sigh. Too many guys for me, to be honest.
I think one of the few redeeming facts of this book, aside from the writing, are the topics it dares to touch on. Abortion. The right to raise your own child regardless of your living circumstances. Pregnancy. Love and the right to fight for it regardless of the law. O'Brien is a brave author to touch on some of these topics. It is done in a very tactful way, without being too overbearing, which I appreciated.
Overall, it was not a horrible read. If read solely for the enjoyment and experience, I do not regret it. I am just disappointed about how disconnected it felt from Birthmarked. And the level plateau that it never seemed to rise from. Still, I do not doubt I will pick up whatever O'Brien has up her sleeve next.
(3 out of 5 stars)