Friday, August 19, 2011

Book Review and Giveaway: Prized by Caragh O'Brien


NOTE: This is book 2 in the Birthmarked series, so there are light spoilers for book 1. (read my review of BIRTHMARKED)

After escaping the Enclave with her baby sister, Gaia is rescued from the Wasteland and taken to the settlement of Sylum, a matriarchal dystopia where a kiss is considered attempted rape and men outnumber women 10 to 1.  Here, Gaia is confronted with new mysteries – why are hardly any girl babies being born? And why can’t people ever leave Sylum alive?

BIRTHMARKED, with its genetics mystery, introduced a very different type of dystopian society than what we usually see.  And even though I thought the big reveal was ultimately kind of disappointing for all the build-up, BIRTHMARKED was a solid read.

I enjoyed PRIZED even more, especially because I was prepared for the mystery to be less sinister here than where my mind naturally went.  O’Brien shows us what a society might become where the number of males far exceeds the number of females, but where females are firmly in control.  Marriage is sacred, abortion is a crime, and every month there are games to determine which man gets to pick a woman to spend a month with him in a winner’s cabin.

What I especially liked here was the exploration of how living in such a society affected Gaia.  Trained as a midwife, Gaia is able to play an essential role for the women, but she quickly butts heads with the leader when she refuses to snitch on someone for breaking a law.  Also, Gaia is at a loss when confronted with her sudden popularity among men and becomes entangled in a love quadrangle.  Because men and women don’t touch here, the barest brush of a knuckle can send hearts racing, so Gaia has to look beyond chemistry to really figure out who she wants to be with.

There are no simple answers here, no clear villains, no 100% clear choice for Gaia to make – and that’s part of what makes it all so fascinating.

Zombie Chickens say: Compelling, unique and discussable – highly recommended.



Series order:



BIRTHMARKED – available in hardcover
PRIZED – coming November 8, 2011
BOOK 3 – Coming Fall 2012

Find out more about the series at the author’s website.

Song for the Ultimate Dystopian Playlist: Fresh Blood by The Eels. Sample lyric: “In a moment of clarity, summon an act of charity. You gotta pull me out of this mud. Sweet baby, I need fresh blood.”

Prize pack up for grabs! One lucky winner will get the BIRTHMARKED hardcover and the PRIZED ARC. To enter, fill out this form by August 27, 2011 at 11:59 pm CST. Prize & shipping provided by publisher and therefore US and Canada only.

21 comments:

Charlotte said...

I'm glad this was good--I've been looking forward to it!

My 5 Monkeys(Julie) said...

I have beeen waiting for book 2 of this series :) sounds good.

Cecelia said...

I meant to read the first in this series...oh, last year. Never got around to it. One day I WILL read these. Hopefully it's someday soon. Great little review!

Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf said...

This sounds like a diverting series...I think I' am going to put book 1 on my TBR list. Thx

Pam (@iwriteinbooks) said...

Ok, I’m probably going to be banned from commenting on your posts pretty soon because all I can talk about is cover art. But seriously? This is awesome! I don’t know how I missed the first one for this but I’m going to go find it…

Stephanie said...

I have been interested in reading this trilogy so thanks for a chance to read them with your giveaway!

Zibilee said...

This kind of sounds like the polar opposite of The Handmaid's Tale, and I am really interested in all the rules of this strange society. I can imagine that if just brushing someone's skin can be so enticing that there must be endless possibilities for one to get themselves into real trouble! Great review on this one. I must check out these books!

Scoot said...

I can't wait for this one! Thanks for the review.

Bookish in a Box said...

I haven't read either of these yet, but the premise is so cool. Most dystopians assume violent or government control, so I'm intrigued by the idea of a matriarchal society. Great review!

Michelle said...

Man, I have got to get on reading Birthmarked. It's been on my shelf for awhile. This might just be the thing that pushes me over to pick it up sooner than later.

melissa @ 1lbr said...

So so so want to read this one. I loved Birthmarked!

Elizabeth Briggs said...

I really want to read this series.

You have so many amazing prizes, I want to win them all!

Alyce said...

I'm excited about the giveaway, but I skimmed so that I wouldn't accidentally see any spoilers from the first book. I have it on hold at the library.

Beth F said...

I love it when the choices are clear -- Thanks for the giveaway, I bet I'll really like these books.

Jessy said...

I loved the first book in this series. I thought it was such an interesting topic and I can't wait to read Prized. Thanks for the chance.

SusieBookworm (Susanna) said...

Thanks for the review and giveaway! I haven't read the first book yet, though. :/

lulilut said...

I enjoyed the the first book and your review says the second one is even better? Wow, it also sounds darker. I wonder how all this will play out? Thanks for the giveaway!

danya said...

I haven't read Birthmarked yet but have heard so many great things about it - definitely one that's on my tbr list! Thanks for the chance to win :)

Miss Lauren said...

I absolutely flippin loved the first book. I can't wait for the second one!

sRy_ said...

This sounds an interesting trilogy, I hope to read the first book soon :)

Dragonfly Daydreams said...

I can't wait for the 3rd book to come out!