AH's Reviews > Prized

Prized by Caragh M. O'Brien
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's review
Aug 21, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: arc-netgalley, dystopian, young-adult, zzread-sept-2011
Read from September 06 to 10, 2011

Prized continues the story of Gaia Stone, a 16 year old midwife and refugee from the Enclave. Accompanied by her newborn sister Maya, Gaia is found out in the wastelands by Chardo Peter. Both Gaia and her baby sister are close to death. She finds herself in Sylum, which is just as bad as Enclave only it is run by women.

Sylum is a strange settlement. In Sylum, the men outnumber the women, but the women have all the power. Sylum is a puritanical place. A simple kiss can result in an attempted rape charge. Women are encouraged to marry young and have at least ten babies.

Oh, and once you arrive in Sylum, you can never leave…

This book was not exactly what I expected. I enjoyed the world the author created in Birthmarked and I was excited to see what would happen next in Prized. Prized felt like a completely different book. New world, new rules, and Gaia does the teenage angst thing. Gaia’s rebellious streak bothered me – it just felt like she chose the wrong battles. I also found it odd that after working so hard to save her sister, Gaia would just accept that a complete stranger should raise Maya.

I’m not sure if I liked Gaia in this book as much as I did in the previous book. Gaia acts like a petulant child in this book. She refuses to cooperate with the Matrarch Olivia, preferring to be isolated rather than solving her problems. When she is given a note from Leon, she destroys it instead of reading it. I saw that as a betrayal. I also did not like her behavior around the men. While Gaia did not really understand the customs of Sylum, she still caused a few misunderstandings. I didn’t really like the introduction of multiple love interests.

Leon – I missed him so much. Then, when he finally gets to be around Gaia, the tension between them was so antagonistic. Leon was hardened and angry, nothing like the Leon of the previous book. He felt like a whole new character. Leon earns the respect of Sylum when he wins a sporting contest. When we finally get more Leon, the story picks up.

The book was an OK read for me. I did like it and I will continue to look for more books by this author.

Thank you Netgalley and McMillian Children’s Publishing Group for a review copy of this book.

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Reading Progress

09/07/2011 page 37
09/09/2011 page 155
42.0% "Book 2 feels like a whole different world from book 1. Out of the frying pan, into the fire, so to speak."

Comments (showing 1-10)

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message 10: by Literary Ames {Against GR Censorship} (last edited Sep 27, 2011 04:53PM) (new)

Literary Ames {Against GR Censorship} 'I also found it odd that after working so hard to save her sister, Gaia would just accept that a complete stranger should raise Maya.'


'When she is given a note from Leon, she destroys it instead of reading it.'


'I didn’t really like the introduction of multiple love interests.'


I am not reading this. 1 star. Oops, I forgot you can't rate it before you read it.

Great review, AH. Thanks for the heads up.

message 9: by AH (new) - rated it 3 stars

AH It felt like a different book from the first. Just how I saw it.

Literary Ames {Against GR Censorship} I wonder why she didn't stick with the quest to find grandma, that's what I would've been interested in. Looks like she got sidetracked by this Sylum idea which should've gone into a later book in the series or a separate stand alone.

message 7: by AH (new) - rated it 3 stars

AH OK, I'm using the tags now - consider yourself warned (view spoiler)

Literary Ames {Against GR Censorship} Oh, okay. Still not reading it.

message 5: by Cindy (new) - added it

Cindy Did you feel like it was "middle book syndrome"? Kind of sounds like it. I loved the first book. I thought she was going to find her grandmother, what happened there I wonder. Leon was great, and they were great together in the first story. hmm, I am still going to read it, but now I don't have such high hopes for it, to bad. I hope the third will be better.:)

message 4: by AH (new) - rated it 3 stars

AH Maybe it is a middle book syndrome. It did continue the story of Gaia. Leon does appear eventually. It just didn't strike me the same way as the first book. I do want to read the third book when it comes out. I'm just a bit curious about it.

message 3: by Cindy (new) - added it

Cindy Me too! Thanks:)

message 2: by AH (new) - rated it 3 stars

AH The author is planning another book isn't she?

It would be interesting to see where she goes with the characters. I'd love to see a happy ending, but since she surprised me so much with this book, I'm not sure.

It just struck me as bad timing on Gaia's part to have all that teenage rebellion hit in this book, especially after what she went through in the first book.

message 1: by AH (new) - rated it 3 stars

AH It was just the choice of conflict for me. I was rolling my eyes and thinking Now? Now you want to go through teenage angst? It was just a strange place in the narrative for me.

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