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Promised (The Birthmarked Trilogy) Hardcover – October 2, 2012

3.9 out of 5 stars 162 customer reviews
Book 3 of 3 in the Birthmarked Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

More than a year has passed since Birthmarked (2010), and in this trilogy ender, 17-year-old Gaia returns to the walled city of the Enclave along with her Sylum followers, who are desperate to once again have female babies. But things have changed in the Enclave. The ruthless Protectorat has created the Vessel Institute: a baby factory for birthing offspring for wealthy but childless couples. Will the standoff between camps be breached by diplomacy or violent assault? (Take a guess.) Though some of Gaia’s impulsive actions to save her beloved Leon strain credulity, this is a satisfying finish to a strong series that deftly mixed romance and, of all things, genetics. Grades 9-12. --Daniel Kraus

Review

“An interesting mixture of fantasy and science fiction.” ―VOYA

“…a satisfying finish to a strong series that deftly mixed romance and, of all things, genetics.” ―Booklist

“Readers […] will want to see Gaia succeed against the odds once again.” ―Kirkus

“Readers who relish romance, lots of action and drama that includes overthrowing an evil regime, and strong female characters will love this book.” ―School Library Journal

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 - 18 years
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 730L (What's this?)
  • Series: The Birthmarked Trilogy (Book 3)
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Roaring Brook Press; 1 edition (October 2, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596435712
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596435711
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (162 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #782,886 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I have been looking forward to this book since Prized came out a year ago. I thought there was no way I could be disappointed. I was wrong.

Promised by Caragh O'Brien is the third installment of the Birthmarked trilogy. I really enjoyed Birthmarked and Prized, and was excited to see what Gaia and her friends were up to next since they were travelling back to the Enclave, where the scary Protectorat (and Leon's father) rules with an iron fist. Gaia is traveling back with her company, now Matrarch of New Sylum, after the death of Olivia. Her goal is to set up another community outside of the Enclave and broker for water and peace between their people. Unsurprisingly, she runs into difficulty.

I was so incredibly frustrated with this book from start to finish. First, we have Gaia, who I really liked in the first two books, but just couldn't like in this book. She has become Matrarch and fumbles around like someone who has no experience. This is the third book in the trilogy, she is allowed to be pretty awesome now in knowledge and skill, especially with all that she's been through. Instead, she makes mistake after mistake (pretty obvious ones too, ones where I was yelling to myself, WHY are you doing that??).

MAJOR SPOILER ALERT. She has supposedly PICKED Leon, but we still have Will and Peter Chardo in the background, always hanging around, because everyone is in love with Gaia. The thing that is most annoying is that she is bothered by the fact that these two boys may start developing feelings for other women. I almost stood up and gave Peter a high five when he asked Gaia if she enjoyed having two backups just in case things with Leon didn't work out.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have one word for this book: De. Press. Ing! I admit that Caragh O'Brien is an excellent writer and can weave a good story, but when I started out reading the Birthmarked trilogy, I had no idea it was going to be so dark and gut wrenching.

Promised starts off with the exodus of 1800 Sylum residents traipsing across the wasteland for weeks to get to The Enclave to set up a city outside the walls next to Wharfton. On the way, they rescue Gaia's older brother, Jack who has been stabbed, and his 8 year old brave friend, Angie. Will and Peter are still in the story and are still in love with Gaia, but have resolved that she is with Leon and their chances with her are over while still being fiercely protective of her. Upon arriving, Gaia is immediately arrested and only the quick thinking of Leon's sister Evelyn is she able to get free. The Protectorate and Mabrother Iris are just as evil as they were in Birthmarked and continue with the torture and lies, taking them to a new level of wickedness.

I did love that Leon is back and is a co-leader with Gaia, not just her lackey. I love that he is strong and stands up to Gaia, protecting her, standing up to his father and courageously taking the physical and mental torture the insane Iris dishes out. He was a main character in this book who did what he thought was right and was a powerful force against his father and in helping the revolution get started. He was extremely romantic with Gaia and beyond understanding in his love for her. He makes my heart melt and was the best thing about this story.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I preordered this book and started reading it at midnight on release day, because I was so excited about the next phase in Gaia's and Leon's story. I made it 60% through and just lost interest. Not only is Leon mostly gone, Gaia developed into a person I do not like or know. She is being intentionally idiotic and running into danger for no reason. Gone is her strong character and her determination, replaced by a weak spoiled damsel in distress wanna-be leader.
What does not make any sense:
- the first night at their destination, she abandons the people she "leads" to sleep in her old house in a comfy bed
- when she meets her second brother for the very first time, they do not spend one sentence on "oh wow, so nice to fnally meet you" - they have a conversation about something or other, but zero emotional reaction to their first ever encounter
-someone said it before, she goes into some tunnel for some idiotic reason, gets lost, and after hours, finally finds someone who can tell her how to get back out. Umm, yeah. Idiot.

There are so many things that do not make sense, and, as a reader, I am so disengaged from the story, that I think I'll skip the rest of this. Too bad, I really loved the first two books, and this one kind of ruined the way I now perceive the series.

I don't know how many stars to rate it. Maybe two? And, Macmillan should have done a better job proofreading. There were typos, ommited words, and grammatical errors in the kindle edition.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Not enough character development. Inadequate treatment of serious issues. Post-apocalyptic/distopyan novel series. -Spoiler alert - The world is a harsh place to live in. A small group controls the water and lives in an enclave surrounded by a wall and armed guards. Since the privileged group is largely infertile they force mothers who live outside the wall to give up their children to parents with more money/resources within the wall. The first book was the best conceived of the group. Though I'm disinclined to recommend the series at all.

In the second book the heroine flees the torture and the villain who runs the enclave seeking another society which may provide safety. She finds them, but it turns out that there are environmental hazards that also affect fertility of this population. This leads to the third book. To escape this toxic environment not only does the heroine return, but she leads an entire group of people back to the enclave with the villain who then tortures her, as well as her main love interest and has a henchman perform surgery to remove all of her eggs so they may be fertilized and given to other people with money.

These are really complicated themes, that get short shrift. You have to really willingly suspend all disbelief to get through the last book. At one point, the heroine draws the attention of the villain to a family who helped her escape in the first book and it apparantly takes days for the villain to get around to targeting them, though it takes much less time for them to remove and fertilize her eggs. The boy friends are cardboard characters. One is suspected by the "adoptive parents" of having molested a sister who kills herself - though apparantly the allegations are false.
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