Promised By Caragh M. O'Brien

Promised (Birthmarked: Book Three)
Written by Caragh M. O'Brien
Published 02 / 10 / 2012
304 Pages
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?
Gaia stone is now the matriarch of New Sylum, a group of over eighteen hundred refugees that are fleeing their former community for the safety of the enclave. With sister Maya on her hip and Leon by her side, Gaia discovers two more refugees in the desolate wasteland. A young girl of no more than eight years of age and Jack, Gaia's advanced brother who helped her escape the oppressive regime. In a society where babies born to parents outside the enclave walls are taken and advanced to wealthy families, a lack of water and living conditions has forced Gaia to seek refuge from the Protectorat. Gaia knows that the cruel and murderous man could easily force the group of laborers, mothers, artists and farmers back into the desolate wasteland to die, regardless of his son Leon.

Things have changed in the enclave since Gaia has been gone. After a protest from the families outside the wall, babies are no longer being advanced, but replaced by a new initiative known as the Vessel Institute. Girls hand selected by choice to bare children via insemination, only to have the child they carry, be given to the wealthy families that sponsor the program. Hemophilia is still rife within the community, but it seems the Protectorat has found a potential cure within the new arrivals. In exchange for refuge and water, the Protectorat is publicly lured into accepting the terms of the New Sylum refugges and reluctantly agrees in exchange for the new citizens adding their DNA to the database. It soon seems that the feared leader isn't holding up his end of the bargain.

The Protectorat is holding the much needed water supply hostage until his new terms are adhered to. He wants Gaia, but will she give up everything she's fought for, just for the safety of her people?

The Birthmarked series is one of the more entertaining dystopian series, where the heroine isn't perfect, super tough, highly intelligent, or can rely on supernatural intervention. Gaia Stone is an average girl who is simply a victim of circumstance. She's scarred down one side of her face from a small child, which ensured the enclave didn't take her from her family, so she was allowed to grow up in a loving and stable environment, until her parents were taken. 

Like any ending, Promised is not without it's tragedies. The finale felt a little anticlimactic, but ended on a beautiful note.


  1. You know, I was hesitant about reading this series for some reason, but Seanan Maguire recommended it highly, so now I'm much more curious! 4 stars for a series ender is also really, really good. I might have to give this a try sometime.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

    1. It's certainly entertaining Wendy, if not a little cliched though. If you can look past the obvious young adult template, multiple suitors, an oppressive government and the emotionally dysfunctional male lead in Leon, it's quite good.


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