Branded by: Abi Ketner & Missy Kalicicki (Sinners #1) (2013)
Source: I received a free copy of the book from the author and CBL Book Tours.
Purchase: Barnes and Noble | Amazon
Branded is an original dysoptian novel full of dark and twisty ideas, a lot of romance, and a crazy world. I cringed more times than not and still enjoyed reading Branded from start to finish in one day.
Branded starts off with a bang, immediately pulling the reader into Lexi's crazy life. We witness the capture of Lexi and her being forced into the Hole, or what I like to call a living nightmare or just simply, Hell. Full of graphic imagery of the poor and mistreated "sinners," this book was at times hard to swallow, but really helped give me a sense of what the Hole was really like. The authors did a great job with descriptions of pretty much everything in Lexi's world, and this book is pretty fast paced and action packed, making it easy for you to get pulled into the pages.
Lexi is an pretty good main character She is a little too weak for my taste though. She has a horrible past that makes up for some of her weakness, but I'm still not sure how I felt about her in the end. I will say that she may act stupidly at times but she is very passionate, and that I liked about her. I think I was just hoping for a slightly stronger female lead, although she is pretty kick ass by the end of the novel. I did however really like her guard, Cole. He was an interesting character that reminded me of a knight in shining armor whose job is to keep the damsel in distress safe. ( I liked that about his character, and I know saying that is counter to saying that I wanted Lexi to be stronger. Sometimes I just don't make sense and I can't help it.) He was complex and handsome. I may even add him to my book boyfriend list. ;) My favorite character of all would have to be Zues, Cole's dog. He is one hell of a guard dog and was beyond lovable. He really did steal the show if I do say so myself.
Let's talk romance, because it is a pretty big part of this book. Although somewhat too mushy and crazy, I still think the romance was handled well given the circumstances of the characters. There are some really good love type quotes you could pull out of this book. I will say that this is definitely a Romeo and Juliet type love story, luckily if done correctly I really enjoy this type of plot, and this one was done correctly. The only real problem I had with the romance was that I felt that it could have been more complex and maybe just a tad bit less corny.
There were not as many shocking moments as I had hoped, but the well written action scenes made up for it. The end was perfect and had me teary eyed. I can tell you that I will be reading the next book in this series when it comes out. Overall, I did really enjoy reading Branded even with the very few things in the book that bothered me.
Give this book a chance if you are looking for a darker young adult dystopian novel. It was a good read. Just make sure you set some time aside to read it because you will not want to put it down.
My Rating: 3.5/5
Abi and Missy met in the summer of 1999 at college orientation and have been best friends ever since. After college, they added jobs, husbands and kids to their lives, but they still found time for their friendship. Instead of hanging out on weekends, they went to dinner once a month and reviewed books. What started out as an enjoyable hobby has now become an incredible adventure.