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 and the oppressive rules of Matrarc Olivia. Meanwhile, two brothers claim her attention as they attempt to understand the environmental trap that keeps the people of Sylum captive, and suddenly Gaia must contend with the exciting, uncomfortable, and altogether new feeling of being desired.
But when someone from her past shows up, Gaia discovers that survival alone is not enough and that justice requires sacrifice

I had a really hard time with Prized, the second book in the Birthmarked series by Caragh O’Brien. I enjoyed Birthmarked and the dystopian world it created. The second book is a brand new world and almost completely a new set of characters, other than a few familiar places. I am having a hard time writing a review without spoilers, so I am just going to give pros and cons:

  • The world building of Sylum is really interesting
  • The characters are well-written with interesting personalities and strong traits
  • Gaia does falter in her personality but stays true to herself
  • Story moves along solidly and compels me to listen (audiobook) because I wanted to know the end of the story

  • I was SO agitated during this book with the way people acted
  • The Matrarac was so frustrating with her choices and her lack of seeing outside her box
  • The discrimination of men was so crazy, not even educating them and treating them like slaves
  • Leon! What the heck is wrong with him, I understand that miscommunication causes issues, but SERIOUSLY
  • The town people not wanted to better themselves even though they are living in a town that is “killing” them
  • The love square, geez wiz! A love triangle is bad enough and this was TOO much

Not a horrible book, definitely going to want to read the ending of the series to see what happens next, Promised.

I was searching in Goodreads and saw that Caragh was born in Minnesota, so that is neat that I am reading material from another Minnesota native. I can understand why she wants to write about warmer climates when it is -40 below here!   


  1. Oh! I remember Birthmarked! I'd totally forgotten about that book, because, it. >_< I can't even remember why! I'm tempted to get it out again and have another go. I remember the premise was pretty intriguing. A love square, eh? That sounds...intense. ;) I haven't read many good love-squares, but it definitely brings a different angle to a story.

  2. I have Birthmarked on my TBR, now I want to add this one. Maybe I should bump them up. :)

  3. You will like the third book better. I also thought Prized was a bit of a slump, but the trilogy recovers. The cons you listed about the book were actually pros because these are the things she wants you to start thinking about in life. Most YA Dystopians have a message and/or make a statement. Part of the joy of reading is discovering these things within a story.

    1. I do love the imbedded messages in Dystopian work - I am really glad to hear that the third book is back up to par. It did feel like this book has the middle book syndrome!

  4. I remember being meh about this book too. It wasn't bad, but I totally agree with your cons on this one. I'll have to go back and remind myself of what I thought of the final book in the trilogy. I think it got better, but I honestly can't remember for sure right now.

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction


I'd love to hear what you thought of the book or others you think I will like! Please share your thoughts! Thank you for the thought, but I am not participating in awards.