Monday, October 22, 2012

A Promising Conclusion

Promised (The Birthmarked Trilogy)
Gaia is a strong woman who was raised to be a midwife in a land where babies were taken to supply the walled city with offspring. When everything fell apart, she left the city to take her chances in the wasteland where she happened upon a town that worshipped women and their very few offspring... a little too much. But having decided to leave Sylum with over a thousand members (mostly male) of its population, she returns to the one place that she never thought she'd see again. Caragh O'Brien's Promised concludes the dystopian trilogy with the final transition for the Gaia, the humble midwife turned leader.

Gaia has taken a huge risk leaving Sylum, and an even larger risk taking her people to Wharfton, but she doesn't have many choices, especially since "her people" includes the crims (criminals). When they arrive, the people of the Enclave are understandably on edge about their presence, but a lot has changed in Wharfton. The inability to reproduce is the least of the worries of the people inside and outside the walls as hemophilia rampages through the new generations, leaving the people as vulnerable as they were when Gaia left them... maybe even more so.

The one person greedily happy to see Gaia is the Protectorate. With his civilization on the brink of extinction, he knows Gaia and her rare DNA hold the key to survival (and the reinsurance of his reign). With her people camped out in Unlake, Gaia depends on the Protectorate to give them the water they need to settle and survive, but what she doesn't expect is how far he is willing to go to get what he deserves. And Gaia takes her position as the leader of New Sylum very seriously...

This has been such a strong dystopia, so it was bittersweet to get the final book in the mail. I wanted to read it, but I also didn't want the series to end. And after having the lovely opportunity to meet Caragh O'Brien at a local bookstore, I was mesmerized even more by this trilogy (she is a DELIGHTFUL woman!). And I have to say, this book did not disappoint. It took Gaia's story, which has had a number of transitions and transformations, and it ended in a way I couldn't imagine. I loved it!

Gaia went from a festering novice full of anger for the establishment to a strong leader who wasn't willing to give up, and it was great to watch. My one complaint was that she simply couldn't stop going back into the Enclave! She gets tortured, threatened, imprisoned, etc., and still she marches, slinks, and crawls her way back in time and time again. I wanted to smack her by third time she went in after Leon. Sure, this series has many darks corners, but its dystopic web is unmatched. I really loved this series, and this conclusion doesn't disappoint. But beware... it is going someplace you might not be ready to travel!

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