Thursday, May 24, 2012

What We're Reading: Sequels

With the huge influx of SEQUELS into the library this past week, it's time to catch up with some characters and stories!

BIRTHMARKED, by Caragh O'Brien (2010) features a dystopian future in which there is the Enclave (the privileged, who live inside the wall), and everyone else (outside the wall), who exist to serve those of the Enclave. Gaia Stone lives outside the wall, apprenticing with her midwife mother by helping her to deliver babies and then assisting her to deliver to the Enclave the first three children born every month. Why, you ask? Well, that's part of the mystery. But when her parents are arrested for sedition, Gaia decides to break into the Enclave to save them before they can be executed. She develops a bond with one of the Enclave soldiers, and...but that would be telling. You will have to see what happens to them in book two...

PRIZED (2012). Well, what can I tell you without spoilers? Yes, Gaia gets away (well, you knew she would, because it's a TRILOGY, and she's the protagonist, right?), and she finds her way to a different kind of community, Sylum. Now an enclave is a place that both includes and excludes people (for whatever reason), while an asylum is a place where they take you in and protect you...but Sylum has its own set of problems. It's a place where Gaia's skills and her gender are appreciated a lot more than they were by the fact, maybe uncomfortably so. This is a community where fewer and fewer women are born every year, and the men outnumber them 10 to 1. (I hear some of you saying "Hey, I like those odds!" But wait...) Furthermore, the women are in charge (it's called a matriarchy). Find out how Gaia fits in, whether she sticks to her principles or turns into a good little clone, and oh, what happens to the handsome Enclave soldier...

The third book, PROMISED, is due out in October.

I liked these books quite well. Some interesting twists and turns, a believable invented world, nicely conflicted characters, some romance, some moral dilemmas....

BONUS: Here is a very interesting article on the MacMillan Publishing website about the transitions a creative director must go through while designing a cover for a book--multiple title changes and all!

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