Customer Reviews for

Prized (Birthmarked Trilogy Series #2)

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

A page turner!

Wow, I seriously couldn't put this book down! In fact, I read this in one sitting because I couldn't put it down.

The hopelessness, the fear, the anxiety, these were so well instilled in this book. Knowing that she doesn't have anywhere else to turn, Gaia ends up in...
Wow, I seriously couldn't put this book down! In fact, I read this in one sitting because I couldn't put it down.

The hopelessness, the fear, the anxiety, these were so well instilled in this book. Knowing that she doesn't have anywhere else to turn, Gaia ends up in a different dystopian society. Except that this one is run by women, as opposed to men, which is obviously very different from the Enclave. Gaia has her baby sister taken away from her because she's been deemed incapable of providing for her.

To go back to the traveling, Gaia traveled for two weeks and then was rescued and taken by horse to Sylum. I found myself wondering exactly how far she had walked, and how far the horse ride back was. It wasn't entirely clear in the book, but to me it seems like the two societies are pretty close to one another. Which is sad considering people in the Enclave feel like they're the only people who exist.

I was ecstatic when Leon arrived into Sylum, although his entrance wasn't that grand. I wanted to be furious with Leon. I tried, I really did. But I couldn't help but see his point of view regarding this new life. He made some really good points regarding Gaia and the society they were now in.

Prized ends with a nice set up for the third book, which obviously I'm going to want to read since I could barely put down the first two books.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

posted by Jenny_Geek on February 4, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Great read but doesn't quite live up to the first

I ADORED Birthmarked, as you can tell from my review of it way back in March. I have been waiting on pins and needles for this second book ever since then and as a result, I believe my standards were simply set too high. This book, while quite the enjoyable read, didn...
I ADORED Birthmarked, as you can tell from my review of it way back in March. I have been waiting on pins and needles for this second book ever since then and as a result, I believe my standards were simply set too high. This book, while quite the enjoyable read, didn't quite live up to my expectations.

Prized begins with Gaia alone in the wilderness, running away from the Enclave with her baby sister. Her sister is clearly suffering and Gaia herself is weak. The pair has long since run out of most supplies and is barely getting by when they are kidnapped/rescued by a mysterious man on horseback. He takes them to Sylum, a whole new world that is different that anything that Gaia has every imagined. The women run everything, despite a population of mostly men, and relationships are strictly controlled.

O'Brien's world-building really shines in this second book as she creates a whole new dystopian society. A part of me felt like this was a bit unnecessary since we already had an established society in book one, but I guess I understood that she had to create something new since Gaia was entering unknown territory and leaving behind the Enclave (and these new people had no real knowledge of the Enclave).

While the world-building was superb, the characters--specifically, Gaia--suffered a bit in this book. Gaia goes from the incredibly smart, strong girl who saved a dead woman's baby and escaped the Enclave prison to a weak, timid, and easily manipulated young woman. I couldn't believe the ease with which she seemed to fall into the woman's role in Sylum and leave behind her strong beliefs. I understand that she faces some really difficult things when she first gets there, but she seems (to me) to concede far too easily to the demands of the Matrarc. When she first submits, I hope that it's a show and in private we'll still see the strong, courageous Gaia of Birthmarked, but it was not so. Towards the end when things finally get crazy, Gaia seems to rediscover her passionate, courageous nature and finally stand up for something. She finally makes the tough decisions that she knows in her gut are right. She redeems herself quite a bit in the final chapters.

Overall, I really did end up enjoying this novel, simply not as much as the first book. Since this is set to be a trilogy, my hope is that book three will continue with Gaia as the strong woman that we know she is and possibly (hopefully) return our characters to the original setting--the Enclave. As Sylum has a lot of problems, I see this as highly likely and look forward to the confrontation that would seem to loom on the horizon. My hope is that this book simply suffers a little from "middle book syndrome" and Ms. O'Brien will once again completely "wow" readers in book three. Despite some of my problems with this book, I am definitely still looking forward to a fabulous conclusion to this trilogy!

posted by ReadingCorner on October 15, 2011

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  • Posted February 4, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    A page turner!

    Wow, I seriously couldn't put this book down! In fact, I read this in one sitting because I couldn't put it down.

    The hopelessness, the fear, the anxiety, these were so well instilled in this book. Knowing that she doesn't have anywhere else to turn, Gaia ends up in a different dystopian society. Except that this one is run by women, as opposed to men, which is obviously very different from the Enclave. Gaia has her baby sister taken away from her because she's been deemed incapable of providing for her.

    To go back to the traveling, Gaia traveled for two weeks and then was rescued and taken by horse to Sylum. I found myself wondering exactly how far she had walked, and how far the horse ride back was. It wasn't entirely clear in the book, but to me it seems like the two societies are pretty close to one another. Which is sad considering people in the Enclave feel like they're the only people who exist.

    I was ecstatic when Leon arrived into Sylum, although his entrance wasn't that grand. I wanted to be furious with Leon. I tried, I really did. But I couldn't help but see his point of view regarding this new life. He made some really good points regarding Gaia and the society they were now in.

    Prized ends with a nice set up for the third book, which obviously I'm going to want to read since I could barely put down the first two books.

    I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2011

    Liked it but......

    I have to say this book was a very entertaining read for me. At the same time i didnt like gaias attiude in the middle of the book. One moment her soul is broken the next shes her old defiant self. Still a huge fan of the series and eagerly awating the next one.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 10, 2011

    A great sequel to Birthmarked!

    The sequel to Birthmarked finds Gaia struggling to save her baby sister as she tries to reach her grandmother. But when she is rescued by a stranger and taken to the town her grandmother use to run, Gaia finds the rules of that society are also constricting. The number of men far outweigh the number of women and so the women hold all the power. But power can be corrupting and the men are getting tired of being the underdogs. Gaia finds unfairness at each turn along with someone from her past who provides another source of conflict for her. While there is no such thing as a perfect society, it seems that all Gaia can find is dysfunctional ones. This time she moves to one where the rules seems unfair to her and, frankly, chaffed me as well. The Matrarc of the town immediately takes away her baby sister and her freedom. And it left me angry at how quickly Gaia or any stranger is treated like a criminal simply for being from somewhere else. The action moved pretty quickly even as Gaia is kept locked up. But the romance angle felt like it was too much and it was a little unnecessary. I am curious to see what happens next with Gaia and her tendency to overthrow dystopias. This series is turning out to be a real page turner.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 13, 2011

    Great dystopian novel!

    Prized is the second novel in the Birthmarked series. It picks up right where the first book (Birthmarked) leaves off, but it can be read as a stand-alone novel. Still, I recommend reading them in order.


    For a fairly new author, Caragh O'Brien is very polished. The story starts off fast and just keeps going, never dragging. Prized is in such a different setting than Birthmarked that if not for the characters Gaia and Leon, I might have felt I was reading a different series. That was fine with me, I was impressed with how O'Brien masterfully created two different worlds and bridged them together in the two books.


    This is a fascinating dystopian series. It will be published on November 8, 2011. Officially it's for young adults, but us older kids are allowed to enjoy it, too!


    *Disclaimer: I received this book for review from the publisher through Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 15, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Prized is a hard book to give a rating to that reflects its qual

    Prized is a hard book to give a rating to that reflects its quality. On the one hand there are a few things that are very well done, such as the idea of a matriarchal society—truth is, I don’t think there are any YA books that explore this idea—and the gradual way Caragh M. O’Brien transforms Gaia from a headstrong leader into a submissive follower. However, there are some things that prevented me from giving it the five stars I wanted to.

    I’ll start with those to get them out of the way. Throughout the story there are three guys declaring their undying love for Gaia. You heard me. Three. Still, it’s not that ridiculous if you place it in the context of Sylum’s matriarchal society where the men outnumber the women nine to one.

    What irritates me is that Gaia becomes a pile of mush and is plagued by guilt from the desire she feels for the other two whenever she’s near one of them. Um, who are you and what have you done to the Gaia who never lets anyone tell her what she wants? Plus, there was absolutely no need for this angst because even the most clueless reader could guess Leon would turn out to be the lucky guy.

    And now for the things I liked. Unlike with Birthmarked, this time round I felt more connected to the characters. The writing seemed to have improved, really drawing me into the story and enabling me to relate to characters more so than the first book. I realized this when I almost threw the book when Gaia gives in to the Matrarc’s demands.

    Believe me, there’s nothing worse than reading about a strong heroine who has to submit and put herself under another’s power. From that point on the story flowed smoothly and I read it right to the end in one sitting.

    The word “abortion” is never mentioned throughout the whole book, not even once, which is very crafty especially since this is one of the main themes of the book. I love how Gaia’s view is neither for or against it and believes the choice is ultimately up to the mother.

    With this kind of controversial issue it’s always best to have an open mind relative to the situation; if she had taken an absolute stance on something like this that’s neither black or white, as we saw in Birthmarked, she wouldn’t be the Gaia we know and love.

    All in all, Prized is a well-rounded book that in some ways is better than Birthmarked and in others falls short. Nevertheless it’s a solid continuation of the series and I will definitely be reading the next book.

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  • Posted February 23, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Can't wait for the next book !

    Oh Prized , There are things that i liked and disliked about this book but its still a awesome sequel .

    It started when Gaia escaped the Enclave with her baby sister , Maya . I loved the whole , running away for your life thing in this book , it made different from other books. Gaia was rescued by a man later known as Peter ( Oh my god Im so mad at Gaia for getting involved with him ). Anyway he takes her to the Dead Forest or also Sylum . There Gaia was forced to give up her sister and never look for her again .That was so cruel and sad . I wish Gaia could have her sister , Shes been through so much , Shame on M'lass Olivia for taking her away from her , even if it is the law .

    Then finally Leon comes ! I was so excited and was so surprised to finally see him in the story again. But he wasn't the old Leon anymore , he was so cruel and mean to Gaia ,He hated her . I understood Gaia a little when she got involved with Will and Peter, because Leon was pushing her away so much that she was looking for love and happiness with someone else . Oh Leon i can't believe how mean her was being, even though he knew he loved her with all his heart. I wished the author gave me more romance , i understand its not a romance book but i begging for a teensy weensy more romance . PLEASE AUTHOR.

    While in conclusion , Im eagerly waiting for the last book .So many questions not answered and life's at stake . I will try to wait patiently till fall .You should read it , This book is different from other books now a days :)

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  • Posted January 31, 2012

    Enjoying this trilogy so far...

    What I Liked: 1) Leon. Leon, well, honestly, he wasn't too nice in this book. Except that he actually was nice, Gaia just didn't perceive it as nice at the time. Through his...animosity towards her, he is actually able to snap her out of the mindset she's fallen into while being held in Sylum. 2) Sylum. Okay, I didn't so much like it, as I liked being able to make Sylum the antagonist. I guess you could say I liked hating it, the societal rules that were driving Gaia to change to drastically. It was almost like brainwashing. But despite wanting to hate Sylum, I found myself understanding why they did some of the things they did. Not agreeing with it, but at least seeing their point of view. I think that's a great quality in a book. 3) The introduction of new characters. Because Gaia has traveled from the Enclave to this new community of Sylum, we're introduced to many new characters, several of them I hope stick around for the next book. Many of them become very real, because they are very likeable and personable. I particularly liked Peter and Will. 4) The plotline. The storyline and details all flowed very well, without many big skips and jumps, or a lot of stopping and starting that can plague a novel. It moved with deliberate pacing, which I always appreciate. I know that when I can read a book uninterrupted for hours, and have to pull myself back to reality when I'm through, then I was really immersed in the story.

    What I Didn't Like: 1) Gaia, whom I thought was great in the first book, had changed drastically in this book. Her strength and rebelliousness was zapped from her personality, and she became very two-dimensional. I do think that this was part of the story, because, as I mentioned before, she's become kind of brainwashed, I look forward to seeing her strength and leadership return in the third and final book, Promised.

    Overall thoughts: I always get worried right before I open book 2 of a series that I really enjoyed the first book. No need to worry with this one, Miz O'Brien delivered an interesting continuation of Gaia's story and kept me engaged and intrigued with new characters and new problems for the MCs to face. I had the teensist of issues with Gaia's personality changing so drastically, but I have a feeling in the next novel, she'll be back to her old self. Maybe just a more mature, grown-up version. Excellent companion novel, can't wait for the next one!

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  • Posted December 3, 2011

    Pretty good read

    This book started out a little awkward to me but then it finished very strong. Gaia's story ends in the first book in this series with her escape from the Enclave walls and her running into the wasteland to look for the Dead Forest and her grandmother. This Dead Forest turns out to be another completely different dystopian society with completely different rules and background than where she came from. Here, there is something in the environment that causes many of the males to be sterile and causes very very few females to be born. So the women get their pick of men, and they also rule over them. Men can't vote or be part of any important decisions in this world and also touching is forbidden unless you are married. Gaia starts out trying to follow what she thinks is right but she ends up causing more problems for herself and those she cares about. Leon starts out really different and mean in this book. I'm looking forward to book 1.5 that explains more about what happened to him after he helped Gaia escape. Gaia and Leon redeem themselves though as they fight to bring equality to this community.

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  • Posted November 22, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Great book!

    I read the first book last year and really loved it. Now that I got to read the next one, I admit I expected more but still loved it nonetheless.

    The book pikes up right where it left off from the first one. Gaia is off looking for another settlement that is not crazy like her last. But what she falls into is not what she thought it was. Some parts of this book made me angry! Gaia has been searching for a settlement, one that is okay to live in. But instead she finds an even crazier one. At first I was little confused as to what this new place does. But once I read more into, I came to enjoy the new element that Ms. O'Brien used...Leverage.

    Once where Gaia is strong and brave she is now being held to submission because more it at stake. The reader see's Gaia doing things she never thought she would. At first I thought it was okay but I came to see that I didn't Gaia like that. Submissive and doing what she is told. I liked her fiesta and brave. Rebellious and spontaneous. I am glad that an old character comes back bringing her to who she really is and not who she is becoming.
    The love interest in this book really rocked. I loved that there is a sort-of love triangle. It isn't something dragged on and on. It is lighting done and it give the book more emotions and drama to deal with. I really love how well Ms. O'Brien write this book. You can read the passion of the writing just flowing in the pages.

    I suggest that you start this series right away. This book, being the sequel in no way it is ruined. Sometimes sequels lack, not this one. If anything, it was way more intense. I felt such excitement in returning to Gaia story. It felt like as if I never left. Beautifully written, Prized deserves to be acknowledge. It nothing what I thought it would ever be.

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  • Posted October 24, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Review from blkosiner's book blog

    I liked Prized, and even though it had the same main character, there was a totally different feel in this second book of the series. That is not necessarily bad, but not quite what I was expecting. I think that this is set up for a really big storm and huge changes in the next book(s?).
    I was still pulling for Gaia throughout this book, and even though I could understand where she was coming from, I totally don't agree with some of her actions. Now, I can't sit here and say that I would've done any differently in her position, in fact, I probably wouldn't have had the bravery to do anything that she did.
    Another thing that I wish could've been pulled off better is the love square. Yes. I said it. It's there. And I can see the appeal, and how it developed, I just wanted more depth. To me, there was always a clear choice for Gaia, and the rest was almost just plot movers.
    And I know this sounds negative, but I really did enjoy this book, I like the conflict that it set up, I adored the new characters added into the story, and Gaia got a chance to learn more about herself by leading, by making mistakes, and by being thrown into a society where everything is not as clear cut as we want things to be. There are no easy answers, but situations that demand action. I am really eager for the next book and to find out what happens to the characters I care about.

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