At the end of Birthmarked, sixteen-year-old midwife Gaia Stone survived her escape from the Enclave but found herself alone in a wasteland with nothing but a handful of supplies and a rumor to guide her to a better life. She's leaving behind her parents, who have been killed, and Leon, the boy whom she might have fallen in love with if he hadn't been captured by the Enclave first. Now, in Prized, Gaia and her newborn sister wander in the wilderness before being "rescued" by the people of Sylum, a strange society where women rule and all the babies are boys, meaning that in a generation or two they will all die off. To get by in this strange world, Gaia has to choose between her sister, who means the world to her, and all the values that have always guided her.
I enjoyed this story, but not as much at Birthmarked. There is more whining and less action in this second book. I just don't like Gaia as much in this one. She isn't as decisive or sure of herself. On one hand, that makes her easier to relate to, but for some reason it just annoyed me in this situation. Also, I don't care for Leon much. It's not that I particularly dislike him, but he seems very one-dimensional and I think his behavior and reactions are unrealistic. Despite all of those things that annoyed me, I did get into this book and I'm looking forward to the next one. There's some good excitement brewing about what Gaia's grandmother was experimenting with before she died, and how the people of Sylum could potentially leave. There are some clues about what's going to happen, but it's not totally clear and I predict that there will be some surprises in the conclusion to the series.