Thursday, 24 January 2013

Review: Promised (Birthmarked #3) by Caragh M. O'Brien

 Source: Received an ARC for an honest review from Raincoast books.
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Release Date: October 2, 2012
Number of Pages: 304 (Hardcover)

Blurb from Goodreads:
After defying the ruthless Enclave, surviving the wasteland, and upending the rigid matriarchy of Sylum, Gaia Stone now faces her biggest challenge ever. She must lead the people of Sylum back to the Enclave and persuade the Protectorat to grant them refuge from the wasteland. In Gaia’s absence, the Enclave has grown more cruel, more desperate to experiment on mothers from outside the wall, and now the stakes of cooperating or rebelling have never been higher. Is Gaia ready, as a leader, to sacrifice what—or whom—she loves most?

My friend, Zoe from In The Next Room, originally introduced me to this series, and I'm so glad that she did. :) I've loved getting to experience Gaia's struggles and seeing how she overcomes everything that comes in her way.

This is a series where each book is pretty much distinct on its own. The characters are all there, they all involve power struggles, and they do proceed chronologically, but each of these books are so intense and so full of struggle within themselves that it's almost like they're completely separate...and only come together to tell an even bigger story. That being said, I do think that they've all shown a huge amount of growth for Gaia, and they've shown her coming into herself. The reader also gets to see the way that society around Gaia is shifting and how it changes as she and others make an active effort to make a difference.

Along with the fantastic characters, the biggest thing that I love about this series is how expansive it is. I love that we get a lot of character development, and we also get an extremely defined world. The second book, Prized, takes place in a setting other than the Enclave, and I still felt that Caragh M. O'Brien fully developed the world. She does an extraordinary job at describing the settings in a way where the reader can actually visualize Gaia's surroundings and it feels as if you're really seeing everything as Gaia does.

I was really not expecting Promised to end the way that it did, but I still thoroughly enjoyed the story. It had some extremely sad and desolate moment. While they had me crying and experiencing Gaia's pain, I couldn't help but be moved by it all, especially by Gaia's strength to overcome all that happens to her...including situations that would make most of us crumble in a ball of self-pity rather than fight it. :P While Gaia's ending may not be the happiest one I've ever experienced, it is incredibly realistic for the situation she was in. I also loved that Leon was there for her...she may not have gotten the perfect happy ending, but I still felt that she at least had a semblance of what I wanted for her.

I absolutely loved both this book, and this entire trilogy! I'd recommend the Birthmarked trilogy to dystopian fans who want a realistic depiction of a world very different from our own, and to readers who like dynamic female narrators.

Have you started the Birthmarked trilogy yet?
I tried not to add anything that would spoil in this it's a little vague at times, but does Gaia's story sound like something you'd like to read if you haven't started this trilogy yet?



    Okay I'll stop the caps now. But yay!

    This ending definitely had tears in my eyes at one point. Obviously not everything ended happily, but I think the best dystopias never do. I still loved it and can't wait to read whatever O'Brien publishes next. I'm so glad you loved it too! I think I actually still need to read RULED the short story though. Maybe I'll do that this week. I was sorta avoiding it cause it's my last (new) taste of Birthmarked.

    1. haha awe, Zoe! That's alright...I totally miss you though, just so you know! I'm going to have to email you soon I guess and that problem will be solved! Thank you for initially introducing me to this series though! I'm seriously sooooo glad that you told me to read it! :D

      Me too! I completely agree! That was what I loved so much about Mockingjay, was soooo realistic, and so was Promised. While they may not be typical HEA...I think they both fit perfectly with the worlds that Katniss and Gaia belong to. Same here! Caragh M. O'Brien is definitely a favourite of mine! Good plan, Ruled was AMAZING!!!! :D Awe, don't wait any longer...just read it, it's fantastic! :D

    2. You know...I just realized that I don't think I've read Ruled yet either! I think I planned to wait to read it too and then just pushed it aside...I'm going to have to read it soon too now!

    3. hahahahaha. I'm glad you love this series so much you just assumed it would be AMAZING!!!! :P And yeah I'm so glad we can be book-loving buddies. I actually did some reading this weekend so I'm so impressed with myself (AND I WROTE A REVIEW, but it's going in the student paper) but hopefully I'm on the right track since I've finished like 4 or 5 books in January, which isn't very much but more than I read in December. So yes, hopefully I can get back into a bit of blogging as well, who knows? :P


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