Branded by Abi Ketner & Missy Kalicicki
Release Date: June 28, 2013
Format: Paperback, 374 pages
Series: Sinner #1
Source: Authors in exchange for an honest review
Description from Goodreads:
Fifty years ago the
Commander came into power and murdered all who opposed him. In his
warped mind, the seven deadly sins were the downfall of society. He
created the Hole where sinners are branded according to their sins and
might survive a few years. At best.
Now LUST wraps around my neck
like blue fingers strangling me. I’ve been accused of a crime I didn’t
commit and now the Hole is my new home.
Darkness. Death. Violence. Pain.
Now every day is a fight for survival. But I won’t die. I won’t let them win.
The Hole can’t keep me. The Hole can’t break me.
I am more than my brand. I’m a fighter.
My name is Lexi Hamilton, and this is my story.
I haven't really been reading a lot of dystopian lately. But I gave this book a go because I seriously thought it looked good. Plus, I remember back when this book released and it looked pretty cool. So now I've read it! And I actually liked it a lot.
Lexi's a pretty good MC who does a whole lot of growing throughout this book. I can always respect characters who improve. I may not love them, but I do like them more than others. When we first meet Lexi, she's given up all hope. And then THINGS start happening, and she slowly starts to get better. And then we have Cole. I ended up liking Cole, but at first he wasn't very nice. I found it kind of weird how he randomly switched from being mean to BAM being Mr. Nice. It was quite sudden, that switch. I mean, I definitely prefer his nice side--I am very much fond of him--but still. I would have preferred the shift to be more gradual.
Cole and Lexi as a couple was nice. It added some lightness to the dark world they lived in. Just like how Cole's attitude shifted rather suddenly, so did their relationship status. I didn't mind as much here, though, because once these two got couple-y I was there like YES. Cole called her "babe" and I was all smiley. So I approve of these two, together.
The world building was sufficiently thorough. I have faith that any questions I still have lingering after this book, which aren't many, will be answered in the next book. My only issue with the world building was that a lot of it was done through info-dumps. Not all of it, but enough. I'm not a fan of info-dumping. It's boring and too much going into my noggin at once, which leads me to having to go back to re-read those parts again to refresh my memory. Nevertheless, I feel it's most important that the world building HAPPENED. I understood how the world worked. I liked understanding.
The plot was definitely interesting. This was one of those books that had me reading when I probably shouldn't have--during class, when I should be doing my homework, that kind of thing. And I made all kinds of predictions as I was reading, most of which I got wrong. I'm kind of glad I was wrong. It's fun to be surprised. So yay for non-predictability! The writing in this book was good, too. I don't know how these two authors handled the co-writing thing, but they did it well. Nice writing going on in this novel.
Overall, I really enjoyed Branded and recommend it to anyone looking for a really good YA dystopian book to give a shot. Also, I am definitely going to be continuing this series. I don't know when book 2 comes out, but I will be keeping an eye out. I'm excited for more Cole!