Sunday, October 9, 2011

Prized by Caragh M. O'Brien

My Review ~ I will try not to spoil much here:

This story starts out where Birthmarked leaves off, after Gaia has escaped the wall of the Enclave with her baby sister Maya, and has set off to find her grandmother's settlement in the wasteland. When she finally comes across a matriarchal community called Sylum, where women are far more scarce than men. 

Because the ruler of these people in Sylum has saved both her and her sister's life, she is indebted to them. They respect and honor her for being female, and value her skills as a midwife. In many ways they treat her well, and better than she had been treated both on the outside and inside of the walls of the Enclave. But, because of Gaia's unwillingness to respect and value all of the customs and laws of Sylum, she is also harshly punished at times. Gaia suffers from what I will call a strange version of Stockholm Syndrome where she has to fight her internal struggle to both value and help this new community to thrive, while also wanting to rebel against it's laws and government.

I'll blame it on her inner confusion, but I found that at at times  she would make sacrifices for one cause or another (even when she was not sure if it was the right thing to do) that had potentially catastrophic consequences. Other times where it seemed obvious what she should do to help someone that needed her, she would do nothing and leave someone she was really indebted to, without her help. I really didn't agree with a lot of her decisions in this book. This is something that really bothered me when I was reading this book. But I understand that not every character in every story is going to do what I want them to do. While I'm talking about things that I personally don't like, I will also say that I get queasy with the talk of the pregnancy exams and uterus issues, and blood and things of the like. This was in the first book and is here again because of course Gaia is a midwife. I know it's necessary but it makes me queasy! There I've said it. 

On to brighter things! Given the male-to-female ration here, Gaia has no shortage for love interests. And because the love triangle is a very common theme in many stories, Gaia is unique in having more than just two options to choose from!

I really enjoyed Birthmarked and I also really enjoyed the story told in Prized as well (aside from my already mentioned issues) I look forward to continuing this series and seeing where it goes. Because this story and even the culture and setting of Prized was so different from Birthmarked, I would really like to see the two 'worlds' of the two books collide and see how that plays out. I am hoping that is where book number three will be headed.

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