Review: Promised by Caragh M O’Brien
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.
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.