Author-Caragh M. O'Brien
Published- November 8th, 2011
Roaring Brook Press
Received through PBS
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?--Goodreads
I absolutely loved this novel! It was quite possibly better than Birthmarked (it is rare for me to enjoy the second book in a series more than the first). I have heard quite a few mixed reviews for this book and it makes me wonder why?
I thoroughly enjoyed learning about Sylum, the society that Gaia's grandmother had presided over ten years before she arrived. It was almost a bit creepy because having a shortage of girls like Sylum did could possibly happen one day in our own world.
In the beginning of the book, Gaia is found by a man named Chardo Peter (in Sylum, children take the mother's last name and place it as their first name). He brings Gaia and her infant sister Maya back to Sylum where they are greeted by the Matrarc who is the ruler of Sylum. Gaia learns that kissing is illegal and the society is ruled by women. Maya is taken from Gaia and placed with a suitable family. I felt sadness along with Gaia. It was almost as if you could feel her longing to see her sister. The Matrarc also tells Gaia that if she decides to stay, she must live there permanently as the gateway sickness to leave Sylum would kill her.
One of my favorite elements of the book was the love square. Yes, you read that right, a love SQUARE! You already know I adore love triangles, but a love square is infinitesimally better. Gaia is caught between her longing to be with Chardo Peter (her rescuer), Chardo Will (the morteur) and Leon (her love from the Enclave). It felt myself fall for each of them as Gaia did. If I were her I don't think I would have been able to decide which to choose. I would have probably chosen Will just because of his quirkiness and quiet charm.
Throughout the book Gaia is trying to find out why so many men are infertile and why so many men and so few girls are born. When Gaia finds her Grandmother's letter she finally discovers the studies her Grandmother conducted which include the secret to leave Sylum. She shares it with Leon and the Matrarc. I don't want to spoil the rest about what happens, but let me just say it was good!
Never once during this book did I find myself bored or wanting to read another book. Prized was action packed and full of surprises!
I cannot wait for the next book to be released in October! I have a feeling there will be quite a bit of conflict!
I will be giving Prized five stars!