“Prized” Caragh M. O’Brien

“The Birthmarked Trilogy,” Book #2. Roaring Book Press. 2011. 356 pp.

PrizedWhen we last saw sixteen-year-old Gaia Stone, she was fleeing the cruelty of The Enclave with her baby sister Maya. Alone in the wilderness, both are near death when they are rescued and brought to the strange town of Sylum. Ruled by women, despite having a majority of men, their laws include no kissing, no physical contact for unmarried men and women, no voting for men, and for women to have as many children as possible to help populate the dying town.

Births include more boys than girls, so baby Maya is immediately taken away to be raised properly while Gaia is expected to assimilate into the rules of the town. The iron rod of discipline wielded by Matrarc Olivia, their leader, begins to bear an uncanny resemblance to The Enclave.

In time, Gaia begins to have feelings for two brothers but soon finds her past catching up to her when Leon comes back into her life. Caught in a triangle of emotions between the three men who care for her, Gaia will have to make choices which may have far reaching consequences on the future of everyone in Sylum.

“Prized” has some interesting concepts about freedom, voting and the concept of liberty that may get its 14-17 year old readers thinking after its last pages have been turned.

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