by Abi Ketner, Missy Kalicicki
Series: Sinners #1
Published by Month9Books Genres: Dystopian, Romance, Young Adult
Source: The Publisher | Format: eBook
Purchase at: Amazon (Affiliate Link) • The Book Depository
Add to: 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.
To punish the guilty, he created the Hole, a place where sinners are branded according to their sins. Sinners are forced to live a less than human existence in deplorable conditions, under the watchful eye of guards who are ready to kill anyone who steps out of line.
Now, LUST wraps around my neck like thick, blue fingers, threatening to choke the life out of me. I’ve been accused of a crime I didn’t commit, and the Hole is my new home.
Brutal and savage violence.
Every day is a fight for survival.
But I won’t let them win. I will not die in the Hole.
I am more than my brand. I’m a fighter. My name is Lexi Hamilton, and this is my story.
I received this book for free from The Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Small disclosure – I DNF this book. Therefore – some of my issues may not have been addressed yet – and could have been resolved later on in the book. Some issues are personal, so it wouldn’t have mattered.
It’s always disappointing when you start and book, especially one with such a unique premise, and you can’t get through it. For whatever reason. Then, you have those books where you think, “eh.. I don’t know about this one, but hey, I will give it a try.” Turns out, you should have listened to your gut.
Branded is that book.
See my issue is with the whole Sinners angle. While this premise is unique and if I were honest, fascinating, I have difficulty with books that have an underlining tone of righteousness. Let’s be real – a book about locking sinners away and branding them has an undertone of righteousness. In the grand scheme of things though, this wasn’t my sole issue.
But before I get all into the nitty-gritty about why this book just didn’t work for me, I will talk about the few things that did.
There are some gruesome scenes. I loved it. I love it when an author doesn’t hold back (which I have said countless times these past few weeks) and really sets the tone for this unforgiving, desperate world. Even for those outside of the Hole, have to tread lightly so they aren’t accused of one of the sins. Doesn’t matter if your guilty or not – you are accused, you are taken. This world, especially the Hole, is full of violence… and hypocrites.
Which brings me to one of my issues. Granted, this was “explained.” It bothered me that the guards could do whatever they wanted. Those marked with lust, as our protagonist was, could be raped and/or murdered, and no one would bat an eye. But they couldn’t form a relationship with them. That, was punished by death. So, it’s okay for these guards to be FULL of lust, but someone on the outside can’t? It was explained that the guards could “mingle” with females (if there were female guards, I didn’t see one. Sexist much?) to keep them happy and boost morale. Okaaay. There is more I could say about that, but it would be too personal and probably offend.
The writing was my other issue. This read, to me, like a draft. The pacing was awful, going from one thing to another without a smooth transition. Once Lexi entered the Hole and really got a grasp of how it was there, it shifted to her caring for a younger girl in the hospital, then back to how horrifying the world was. I can’t imagine what the point of it was, other than to set up something else later on in the plot OR to have Lexi go through something else. View Spoiler » Since something happens to the girl. « Hide Spoiler Oh, we also have the budding romance too.
What bothered me about the romance was that it was all physical. This isn’t a bad thing – but it’s odd to feel so deeply for someone who you don’t know. These two hardly knew each other. And what they did know about one another wasn’t much. I didn’t even see the shift between them until things were already happening. Since Cole is her guard, their relationship is obviously forbidden, but I didn’t connect to it at all. It felt like an obstacle thrown in for just that, an obstacle. Just another thing that Lexi must go through. Although she wasn’t too quick to trust him, why would she trust him in the first place? Because he saved her life. Okay, that’s his JOB.
Lastly – there is a reason that Lexi had a guard, and at the time I quit reading, I have no clue why. This wouldn’t have been an issue for me, had it not been brought up so many damn times. So, I just chalk it up to Lexi being special. Oh, and I hated that she could bounce back from a beating with days. Because that’s realistic.
EH, not for me. I wont say DON’T READ IT, because everyone interprets things differently (not to mention, others seemed to LOVE it), but I would go in with low expectations.