Author: Caragh M. O'Brien
Genre: Teen Fiction, Dystopian Fiction
Publication Date: November 8, 2011
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
ISBN-13 Book: 9781596435704
Source: I received a copy of this book from NetGalley. This is my honest review!
Prized by Caragh M. O'Brien
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Prized takes place shortly after the events of Birthmarked. We join Gaia who has run away from the Enclave with her newborn sister, who is barely surviving the wasteland. When she is found and taken to a nearby settlement, Sylum, Gaia hopes that she can nurse her sister back to health and find the grandmother who left the Enclave years ago, but when her sister is taken from her and she finds that her grandmother has been dead for years, Gaia must decide to leave Sylum without her sister, or stay in this rather unusual matriarical society. When she disobeys the Matrarc, she finds herself under house arrest, unable to help either her sister or Leon who has followed her to Sylum.
I enjoyed Birthmarked when I read it last year, and was eager to know what would happen to Gaia in her quest to leave the Enclave and find her grandmother. Gaia is a strongwilled character, and that was one of the things I liked about her. In this novel, the Matrarc seems determined to break Gaia, and make her into one of her proper Mlasses. I didn’t like some of the turns the story took, but O’Brien’s writing kept me interested enough that I definitely wanted to know what was going to happen.
This novel is a good sequel to the first, and it definitely keeps you interested, but I found myself wishing Gaia could have found her safety in a place that didn’t have controversies as bad if not worse than the Enclave. Aren’t there any normal societies left in Gaia’s world? I guess her finding a new home and living happily ever after wouldn’t have made nearly as interesting a story.
Characterizations are well done, and O’Brien is still finding time to drop those SAT vocab words—I loved finding those in the text, they were like little gems! While I knew what they meant, I know some of my teens will definitely be reaching for the dictionary. It’s nice when YA lit proves that it can be smart as well as entertaining.
Overall, this is a good sequel to Birthmarked. It is not a novel you will really want to tackle unless you have read the first, because you will need to know much of the characters’ histories in order to understand much of the emotional impact of the novel. If you like dystopian and you enjoyed Birthmarked you might want to see what comes next.
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