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A Reader of Fictions: She Was the Prize - Gaelic Storm

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Saturday, November 5, 2011

She Was the Prize - Gaelic Storm

Birthmarked, Book 2

Author: Caragh M. O'Brien
Pages: 356
ARC Acquired from: Roaring Brook Press via NetGalley

Brief Summary:
Gaia and her baby sister Maya are saved from the jaws of death (aka the sandy, sandy wasteland) by a man on a horse, who, conveniently, takes them back to the place where her mother and Old Meg wanted her to go in the first place. While this society seems infinitely better than the Enclave on the surface, it too has its...complications. Like the fact that barely any women are being born anymore, meaning that the ratio of men to women is about 1:9. The women are in power, so this is better than it could be, but the men aren't especially pleased either. Will Gaia be able to get along in this society?

As much as I enjoyed Birthmarked, the first book in the series, I liked this one way better. Or, possibly, I just don't recall the first one well now. Either way, I can tell you that I just ate this up. Were it not for work and social responsibilities, I would not have put it down.

What I love about this series is that O'Brien focuses on topics that are not often tackled in YA novels, like midwifery (which grosses me out, but it's still awesome that there are details) and genetics. Gaia, too, is pretty fantastic, because of her strength, not physically but mentally. Like me, she is a very stubborn woman and that makes her a force to be reckoned with.

Birthmarked had romance, but much less than can be found here. Now, the fact that Gaia has three men interested in her (two of them brothers) could be seen as a big negative for the book. Certainly, the love triangle (square?) plot can get old. However, I think it has been done fairly well. The reason is that it makes much more sense in the context of the story, since Sylum has so few women.

In the Enclave, only Leon ever expressed a romantic interest in Gaia. Most ignored her because of the burn scar on her face. In Sylum, that seems hardly to matter. I found the whole crazy society in Sylum endlessly fascinating. The women essentially have the pick of the men and have complete control. In fact, if a man so much as touches an unmarried man before they are engaged, he can go to prison, because otherwise the women of Sylum would be in serious danger, given the lack of available lady folk.

Even more interesting is the one exception to the women having all the power, which is the 32 Games, wherein the strongest young men play soccer. The begin with two teams of 16 and play until a goal is scored. The winning team divides up into two teams of 8, and so on until only one man remains. That man has his pick of the unmarried women, the Mlasses, to stay with him in the victor's cabin for a month. Supposedly, he's not allowed to get with her, but...come on.

Oh, how much I wish the final book in the trilogy could come out right now!

P.S. I know this song is actually about a guy remembering a woman he loved who died, but I just could not resist the chorus' application to the 32 Games.

"She...she was the prize
The prettiest girl with the loveliest eyes

She...she was the prize

Shiny black hair and those lovely...lovely brown eyes"

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, Christina. "The women essentially have the pick of the men and have complete control." - Sylum sounds like a place I'd like to visit! I haven't read the series but the world you've described seems very unique. Thanks for the review.

New follower~

Stephanie ~Misfit Salon~

November 6, 2011 at 10:40 AM  
Anonymous Jess Haight said...

I have not read the first book in this series- but I have it on my list. I have heard such great things about both books in this series. I absolutely love the cover of Prized and it sounds like a book I would love. Thanks for this recommendation! I have to go out and get the first one this week!


November 6, 2011 at 11:47 AM  
Blogger S.E. Andres said...

I CAN'T WAIT TO READ THIS! I absolutely LOVED the first book. And I eagerly anticipate the third book in Jackie Kessler and Caitlin Kittredge's trilogy.

November 7, 2011 at 11:28 PM  

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