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Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Twins on Thursday: Promised by Caragh M. O'brien

"The Twins on Thursday" is reserved for the Twins' joint reviews. It is a special feature of our blog that discusses books that we either both like, dislike, or have mixed feelings about. This is also the day where we post reviews for books (and ARCs/Galleys) that have been sent to us by authors/galley sites/publishing houses. And because we don't believe much in uniformity, we'll be trying to mix things up a bit by adding random stuff in relation to our review (well, mostly for books we purchased anyway).

Title: Promised
Author: Caragh M. O'Brien 
Format Acquired: Hardcover 
Publication Date: October 2, 2012
Publishing House: Roaring Book Press
ISBN: 9781596435711
Source of Copy: Purchased from Fully Booked


After defying the ruthless Enclave, surviving the wasteland, and over-throwing Sylum, Gaia Stone now faces her greatest challenge yet - to lead the people of Sylum back to the Enclave and persuade the Protectorat to grant them refuge. But in Gaia's absence, the Enclave has become even more ruthless, picking girls from outside the wall to serve in an experimental baby factory. Babies with the right genes are now a priceless commodity with the potential to reshape life inside the wall and redefine humanity. The key to it all comes back to one fearless, young midwife. When negotiations devolve into terrorist threats, Gaia finds herself at the crux of an insupportable decision.

As a leader, a woman, and an idealist in love, Gaia must decide if she can sacrifice what - or whom - she values most.


We were so excited for this one to come out. The first in the series, Birthmarked, was pretty good, and its sequel, Prized, was even better. With Prized having such a promising end, we were, of course, pumped for the third book. Was it worth the wait then? 

In Promised, Gaia and the people of Sylum travel back to Enclave in order to procure basic necessities to establish New Sylum. With Sylum bound for self-destruction, Gaia takes a risk involving thousands of lives to ensure that, as the Matrarc, her new society can thrive. However, being Gaia is not so easy, especially when the Protectorat pressures her into giving up something valuable in order to secure a new home for her people.

Truth be told, we didn't like much the Gaia presented in this book. Where Gaia of Birthmarked and Prized was headstrong and fearless, the new Matrarc of New Sylum was a bit hard to read. She was also weak and - dare we say it? - almost childlike. No pressure, Gaia, but a lot of people's lives are at stake here, so if you wouldn't mind showing more backbone, that would be great. Leon was not helping matters either. We loved the Leon in book two, but it seems like in every book, there is no definite Leon. He was mysterious in book one, a tortured lover in book two, and now in book three, he seems downright vengeful. Scary terrorist-vengeful. As Gaia's established partner, he should be setting as a prime example for others, and not constantly going against Gaia's leadership abilities. 

But all is not in vain. In Promised, we get to meet Gaia's two brothers - Jack and the aptly named Pyrho - who are both charming young men who took to Gaia easily. Jack seemed like the type of guy who knew what a good time was, and Pyrho was just strangely delightful in the way that he seemed to light up - pardon the pun - where fire was concerned.

Having characters acting out of character might not be the best way to a pretty good series, but if we said that the ending wasn't a bit fitting, we'd be lying through our teeth. Even though Prized wasn't the best in the trilogy and a lot of the characters were out of their element - including minor ones, like Genevieve - we still had an enjoyable time getting to know Gaia, Leon, and all the other characters. If O'Brien were to write another book, for sure, we would be holding on to our hats in eager anticipation.

It's been too long since we did something remotely creative in our TToT post, so for this week, we attempted to do what other people love to do: casting. The people we've posted here are the closest people we could think of who could actually look like the characters, and yes, we only did the male characters. Please do note that we didn't follow character descriptions to a T. These people are in no way official casts for any movie / series. This is done all in good fun.

Also, the images below are in no way ours. 

Tom Sturridge as Leon

Well, finding the perfect Leon was pretty hard. If Tom Sturridge were a little younger, we think he would do okay.

Model Janis Ancens as Peter Chardo

Okay, this guy totally looks like a Peter. We think he looks both cool and vulnerable at the same time in the picture.

Gaspard Ulliel as Will Chardo

Here's the thing: Michelle LOVES Gaspard Ulliel, so of course, she stopped at nothing just to make sure he ends up on the list. Aside from that though, we do think that he'd make a fitting Will Chardo - quiet, shy, and soulful.

Luke Pasqualino as Jack, Gaia's second older brother

Jack seems like someone who's fun to hang with - and Luke Pasqualino fits the bill quite nicely.

Joe Anderson as Pyrho, Gaia's eldest brother

As his character namesake would suggest, doesn't Joe Anderson here really seem like he would want to blow things up just for kicks? 

If you guys noticed, we didn't include any female characters at all. It was just so hard picking out a Gaia - and we're pretty sure a lot of girls would want to think that they're Gaia - so we'd leave it up to you. If you guys have any recommendations for Gaia, do leave us a comment below. We'll be sure to check them all out.