Promised (Birthmarked Trilogy, #3)
by Caragh M O’Brien
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? (goodreads.com)
Woohoo! I actually finished a book! Say hello to my first book read in 2013! Let’s not talk about how I had actually started this book over a month ago and then sort of stopped reading it because I just didn’t feel like reading.
What the heck was that all about, huh? I guess I was ill.
If you’re on the search for a great Dystopian series, then I’d highly recommend you pick the Birthmarked trilogy up. Promised is the conclusion to one terrific story and I’m a little sad to see it end. (That being said, I’m more than happy to see that series are stopping after three, these days and not going on forever and ever. Stand-alone novels are also awesome. Just sayin’.)
Also, if you haven’t read the first two books, then I’d suggest skipping this post because I am going to inadvertently spoil things for you as I get some stuff off my chest. I don’t want to ruin the ride for potential readers of this series, so as much as I appreciate your readership, shoo! Away with you!
If the three books, I felt that this last one did not have the same urgency to it as the first two. There was still much about it that made the hairs on my body stand up with creep-factor, but I didn’t have the anxious breathing or heart palpitations that I got while reading Birthmarked or Prized.
I was also extremely happy that the Gaia I loved in the first book was back on track in this final read. I didn’t like her at all in Prized, so seeing her back in charge and making smarter decisions in Promised was such a relief. I like Gaia as a strong, female protagonist and in the second book she’s not really strong at all. More like stupid a million times over.
Promised also had some strong opinions on surrogate pregnancy that sort of bugged me. Gaia couldn’t fathom why other women would volunteer to have babies for others. On one hand, I can see where she’s coming from, having been a midwife and because of the baby advancement program that the Enclave had. Forcing people to put their babies up for adoption is horrible, but I felt like Gaia was overreacting big time when she found out that some women were OK with having babies for other people. Just like I thought the theme of abortion was a little heavy-handed in Prized, I felt like the whole surrogate angle was also a little preachy. If I think about it now though, it’s really only Gaia that freaks out about this of all the others, so I suppose I can just chalk this up to a character having really strong beliefs that just don’t jive with mine.
What I found creepy about that was how they wanted to harvest Gaia’s ovaries with – or without – her consent. Ick. And no. Just NO.
The series ends on a bittersweet note. It’s not quite a happy ending and not quite a sad one. It’s sort of… hopeful but sad but happy. I actually really liked the way this book ended, it felt just right for the entire mood of the series. I mean you can’t have a dystopian world and then wrap it up all pretty, pretty Disney Princess-like, right? I shall forever read stuff by Caragh M O’Brien because of this trilogy. She is an amazing world-builder, writer and imaginationist! (I say that’s a word, so just deal with it.)