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Review: Promised by Caragh M O’Brien

October 3, 2012

Promised coverTitle: Promised
Author: O’Brien, Caragh M.
Length: 304 pages
Genre: Fiction, Young Adult, Dystopia
Publisher / Year: Roaring Brook / 2012
Source: From the publisher, signed by the author, at Book Expo America.
Rating: 3.5/5
Why I Read It: I read and enjoyed the first two in the trilogy.
Date Read: 07/06/12

In a radically changed America, O’Brien has written a matriarchal society and a patriarchal society. In this third and final instalment, they are finally brought together. The two extreme world views have been contrasted and now struggle to meet each other halfway and learn to relate and to live together.

Engaging and well written, as with Birthmarked and Tortured, O’Brien has again shown that she knows how to craft different societies, building them up to show extremes and examples of where we could go. The world-building in these books is my favourite part, as it shows multiple options, but pits them both at extreme opposite ends, to show that no extreme is a good option. Instead of having some idealistic matriarchal society, in Tortured, the author showed that any absolute power is corrupting and inequality is always bad, which is always a good reminder.

In this final book I was disappointed in the characters, finding them much too simplistic and naive for their position. Their growth through the book was interesting and well-done, however, which made up for their initial ignorance somewhat. The relationship between Gabry and Leon was still infuriating at time, in part because it never fully felt like an equal relationship, or like she had a full say or right. Throughout, she was trying to keep him happy, worried that her wanting to wait would push him away, and etc. Instead of portraying his actions as unnecessary and immature, it was her who was forced to change position and reconsider to meet his demands.

Definitely a fun and interesting series. I would recommend it to those who enjoy young adult and dystopian novels.

13 Comments leave one →
  1. October 3, 2012 9:55 am

    Okay, I am giving in and adding this series to my wish list for Christmas. You’ve got me too curious.

  2. zibilee permalink
    October 3, 2012 10:36 am

    I love novels that have great worldbuilding, but the fact that you say that the characters in this one were a little simplistic, and that you also had some trouble with other aspects of the story make me hesitate. Of course, I have not read any of the others in this series, but if you did love those, I would consider reading them.

  3. October 3, 2012 2:06 pm

    The idea of seperate matriarchal and patriarchal societies melding got me going. I don’t think I’ve read a book with a premise like that But the characters’ lack of depth disappointed me. I would’ve had a field day exploring the feelings and opinion of all the characters as they enter a new age of unity.

  4. October 4, 2012 5:28 am

    I like the sound of two societies and the way it enabled O’Brien to explore themes and issues. Not too keen on the the relationship but I’m guessing that gets resolved somewhat if the themes are being discussed in the background. I didn’t realise this was a series.

    • October 18, 2012 8:53 pm

      I guess it is YA right Charlie, so there will be one of those stupidly annoying relationships ;) But other than that part, really interesting.

  5. October 4, 2012 6:43 am

    I’ve found these a little hit and miss, although I haven’t read this one yet. I enjoyed the first one, but the second went in a strange direction that didn’t feel as though it made the most of the premise set up by the first. Still, I do plan to finish off the trilogy!

    • October 18, 2012 8:54 pm

      Yep, I had similar thoughts to you Stephanie. Still love the first the most.

  6. October 23, 2012 1:05 pm

    A fine review.

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