Birthmarked trilogy; book II
It has been a while since I read Birthmarked, and I think that it was the lengthy break that made me hesitant to read the sequel. I didn't remember any of the plot details too well either, which I was concerned about.
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 Expectations: I remember hugely loving Birthmarked but since my memory was foggy, I was worried Prized would disappoint :/ Also, I've been reading mixed reviews.
Delivery: YESSS it was awesome!!
I feel like whenever I give a 9 rating, it feels half-assed. At least an 8.9 is reaching for that precious 9, and the 9.1 is a stand-out from the rest of the plain 9’s, but that’s just it… 9’s are plain. But that doesn’t mean they’re bad, because bad is the farthest form of an adjective I’d give for Prized.
Guys, Prized is fantastic. Almost as fantastic as Birthmarked (which was unfairly fantastic) and if you haven’t read this series yet, get your lazy arses off the computer and reserve it at the library or something, because I’m smacking myself in the head for waiting so long to getting around to reading this.
The big difference between this sequel and its predecessor is that there feels like a lack of action that I was accustomed to and fell in love with in the first book. It feels like a second-in-a-trilogy* with some astounding character development, and I really, truly mean astounding.
Gaia Stone. Ms. O’Brien, I truly applaud you for creating such a fantastic character and developing her so flipping well. Gaia is real, and she’s flawed and consistent and she grows so much through the book. There’s a specific part where she questions if she can trade who she is as a person, to trade pretty much her sense of self, for Leon. And it’s an in-your-face type of question that she tackles head-on and that choice really exposes who she is.
Her stubborn defiance towards the Matrarc as her freedom is stripped from her isn’t just a childish streak; it pretty much exactly pinpoints who she is. She’s loyal almost to a fault, and won’t break her own beliefs even when freedom is as close as a simple lie. Well.. at first… things get pretty interesting.
To say she’s faultless is just so far from the truth, because there is a scene between her and another character where the other person just rips into her and I see exactly where he’s coming from, because it’s true. Gaia tries so hard to do the right thing and sometimes it’ll come back and hit her in the face but the fact is, she tries. She’s a do-er. She’s curious and she wants to know more instead of settling into the passive role that had potential for happiness. And that’s really why I fell so hard for her character and this book, because I recognized all these small things that made her a dynamic, changing, and growing character.
I thought I’d mention here that there is a love square. SQUARE. I’m serious, and I thought I would end up being extremely exasperated, and I’m glad I didn’t. While I thought one of the tips of the square was kind of unnecessary, I didn’t hate it at all, which is such a bonus (though let’s face it, only one of those boys really stood a chance and any other result would be blasphemous).
Rating in HP Terms: Exceeds Expectations
Recommended for: All YA dystopian fans! :)
Acknowledgements: I forget.. I don't have my copy with me :(
9/10 – because it was just awesome. In addition to the character growth I raved about, the plot is tight and kept me more than engaged. I loved exploring the new world that O’Brien had created because it made me think and question this sort of gender role reversal. There was a mystery (yay!) and another code (yay!) and yes, a very swoony kiss, so this girl here is happy.
*which means the final book better be an adrenaline-filled book of kick-assery.