Promised picks up where Prized left off. Gaia Stone is now leading a group of Sylum refugees back to Enclave, where she hopes to create a new community and trade the potential of a new gene pool for Enclave’s resources — without which they won’t survive. She’s stressed by her responsibility, and worried about the reception they’ll receive, but even Gaia can’t begin to imagine what Enclave has implemented since she escaped.Baby factories. Specifically, genetically-appropriate, surrogates bearing babies for families of the Enclave. The women are paid very handsomely, of course, but in return they sign away all rights to their baby. You might think this isn’t so bad. But if you’re “selected” to be a vessel (that’s right, the program’s called the Vessel Institute), what choice do you really have? Bear babies to give up, or live in poverty and hunger?What Gaia hasn’t learnt yet is that there’s more sinister practices planned — and she figures prominently in those plans.There’s lots to absorb in Promised, and O’Brien gives you a little time to absorb one bombshell before dropping the next. I did find myself wishing Gaia wasn’t quite so whiny in some of the scenes — she’s been so strong throughout the series, after all, that the whiny parts seem out of character. I also didn’t care for the lingering is-this-or-isn’t-this-a-triangle with the Chardos. A girl as strong and independent as Gaia doesn’t need to have a posse of lovestruck boys, especially when she already has (and loves) Leon.Peeves aside, Promised is a satisfying conclusion to the series. If you haven’t read it, start with Birthmarked.drey’s rating: Pick it up!