Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ Free Shipping
+ $3.94 shipping
Prized (Birthmarked) Hardcover – November 8, 2011
|New from||Used from|
All Books, All the Time
Read author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more at the Amazon Book Review. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
“Although this is undeniably a dystopia, it is filled with romance and beauty…” ―School Library Journal
“…this series practically begs to be a book club selection.” ―VOYA
“Fans of Kristin Cashore's Graceling books should know about O'Brien's writing: these are smart, tough romances.” ―Booklist
“Much like Birthmarked, Caragh again creates a vivid dystopian world that was so easy to imagine as the story goes on.” ―Mundie Moms blog
“Prized was an intriguing read that I didn't want to put down. Most of the characters are absolutely lovely, and the plot is one to get you hooked! I am eagerly anticipating the last book in the trilogy, I am very curious to see where Caragh M O'Brien will take readers after the unpredictable twist Prized ends with.” ―The Book Cellar
“Readers who loved Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'Brien will definitely not want to miss out on its sequel Prized, nor will fans of Shift by Charlotte Agell, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Delirium by Lauren Oliver, and Dark Parties by Sara Grant.” ―The Book Muncher
About the Author
Since earning an MA in the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University, Caragh M. O'Brien has been a high school teacher, an author of romance novels, and now a novelist for teens. Her novels Birthmarked and Prized were named YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults. Birthmarked was also a Junior Library Guild Selection and chosen for the ALA 2011 Amelia Bloomer List. She lives with her family and writes from her home in Connecticut.
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
Right from the start, I was surprised in a negative way by the book. Nothing at all is recounted of Gaia's time spent in the wasteland with her sister, not one word. Instead, the book opens with Gaia being scooped up, rescued, and promptly dropped into the middle of yet another dystopian society. I could not believe that the author passed up an opportunity to show more of Gaia's strengths. The story of Gaia's flight practically begs to be told, and I was stunned that it wasn't addressed in the book at all. What a missed opportunity to flesh out not only Gaia's strength of will, but to establish the strength of the bond between her and her sister.
The next unpleasant surprise for me came in the form of the setting: Sylum. I could not for the life of me figure out why Gaia had been plucked from one dystopia just to be plunked down in another. For chapter after chapter, I couldn't shake the feeling that I was reading some other book or some alternate version of Birthmarked. I simply could not see how Gaia's time in Sylum furthered the plot. Essentially, Birthmarked and Prized are like two stand alone books rather than two installments in a trilogy. Why waste time building a whole new world rather than continuing to explore the one already established in Birthmarked?
However, the most egregious wrong of all, in my opinion, is what is done to Gaia as a character. I really liked her in Birthmarked. She was flawed, but she had many admirable qualities. I loved her sense of justice and the strength of her love for her family. So what happens in this book? She hands Maya over with barely a peep and then doesn't even think of or ask about her sister for the bulk of the story. Really? I also absolutely hated what happened with the romance angle in this book. I thought it went from being a mature, well drawn story of two characters coming to know and care for one another to being a cheap romance novel. I think the intent may have been to show how confusing it was for Gaia once men started to pay attention to her but, instead, Gaia comes across as inconstant and her affections seem very cheaply won. She acts without regard for how anyone else will be affected, thinking only of herself and her own momentary pleasure. Then, when she has to suffer the consequences, she seems only sorry that she was caught and will have to suffer the punishment. I'd also like to know why Gaia is so quick to lick the Matrarc's boots when she was so defiant of the Protectorate. For all intents and purposes, Gaia is an entirely different character in this book.
For most of the book, I found myself rooting vehemently for Leon and wishing the book was told from his point of view instead, though he also suffers from some perplexing contradictions. Still, when he claims Maya as his prize, I wanted to cheer. I was glad to see that someone remembered that Maya existed, since Gaia seemed to do such a good job of forgetting. I also really loved the scene where Leon tears Gaia up one side and down the other because he was so right about everything. For the life of me, I couldn't understand why he didn't simply walk away from her forever, given how many risks he took and how much he suffered for her sake, only to find her living it up in Sylum, happily turning a blind eye to the injustices committed there. I found his behavior highly illogical; one minute he's telling her he doesn't want to see her and the next he's kissing her like there's no tomorrow. This is not the way to deal with the unresolved feelings of someone who has been betrayed by the person for whom they've sacrificed so much.
Basically, I can sum my feelings about this book up by saying that this was a disastrous second installment in the series. I was so turned off by it, found Gaia's behavior so off-putting, that I doubt I'll be back for the third installment.
And my concern heightened after reading the short story "Tortured"-- which was a nice thought for the author to give fans something while we all waited; but which had that 'I cut it out of the second book early on, and didn't feel like editing it to make it tight' feeling.
PRIZED, however, was good. I had to engage my suspension-of-disbelief a little more than I remembered doing for BIRTHMARKED, but I thoroughly enjoyed the story. I found the characters better done, and the mystery just as interesting. What a relief ;)
Can't imagine what will turn up in Book#3 but I'll be tracking it down.
The heroine, Gaia, continually makes selfish, stupid choices without thought to consequence. In Birthmarked, we forgave her obvious poor choices/decisions because of her inexperience. In Prized, she seems to have learned nothing from her experience. Rather than growing personally and learning how to maturely counteract injustice, she chooses the same obviously ineffective types of recourse that mostly keep her imprisoned and unable to proactively work for change - just as she did in the past. In fact, in this book, Gaia seems to adopt a very unsettling victim mentality, constantly relying on others to save her and pardon her inappropriate behaviors and decisions. She doesn't even seem to be able to think through/of simple things (e.g., Leon reminds her that they will only be able to live in the winner's lodge with Maya until the next games and that she could be chosen as the next prize. And Gaia seems completely stunned and surprised - Hello!! Wasn't this completely obvious to everyone but her?)
More and more, it appears that Gaia is convinced that all she must do to change things is point out injustice and make a demand for change (and the way she does it makes her come off as a child pouting and shouting "that's just not fair" rather than supporting her own arguments with grown up logic and action). She doesn't seem to learn that she cannot influence those in authority without leverage and a plan. She continues to act mostly from emotional impulse rather than logic and thought and places herself continually in situations where the only possible outcome is imprisonment and/or harm to those she cares about.
The environmental aspect was interesting. But it was pretty strange that a relatively intelligent society wouldn't have figured out at least some of their problem rather than relying on an untrained 16-year-old to figure out what was wrong with them in a matter of a few weeks. And, I saw absolutely no reason for yet another secret code. There was no indication that Gaia's grandmother had any reason to hide her findings other than people didn't believe her. It didn't seem that she was being persecuted in any way - rather that she was loved and respected by the people. Gaia's grandmother was certainly in a position of authority that allowed her an opportunity to prove her theories rather than hide them.
And the romance leaves MUCH to be desired. In this book, Gaia has become a manipulative tease when it comes to her relationships. She toys with the feelings of the young men who are attracted to her and leads them on mercilessly. Loyalty, commitment and true affection do not seem to be in her nature, and she comes off like a pre-teen wondering to herself whether she "likes a boy" or not. She expects so much from Leon but is completely unwilling to give anything herself. She demands his complete devotion and loyalty while expecting him to forgive her every transgression or whim without question.
Despite frequently claiming that she cares about her sister, she does nothing to re-gain her. It's up to Leon to save Maya.
And the ending seems completely far-fetched - she's elected the next Matriarc? The implication is that simply because she's a good midwife and instigated a change in voting rights, she's now able to govern and administer the entire population? And the entire population suddenly has complete confidence in a 16-year old from outside of their society to govern their lives? For a few paragraphs, I had hopes that the author would actually allow Will to become the next leader - that would make complete sense since everyone trusted him, would provide the men a distinct opportunity for change and equality, and he seemed one of the more mature and level-headed of the main characters. But, no - I guess she was rolling out the setup for book 3 regardless of how unlikely it is.
All in all, I wish I had stopped reading after Birthmarked, save that I wanted to see what happened to Leon.