Summary 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.
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.
My Review! Hooray!
I am ashamed. I immediately judged Branded because it was self-published. I mean, who am I to judge this book! Harry Potter was rejected twelve times by publishers! Twelve. Times.
Not that this was anything like Harry Potter. Nothing compares to Harry.
Branded had a very unique set up. The justice system in this dystopian world had no justice at all. If you are accused of committing one of the seven deadly sins, that is it. There is no debate, you are immediately punished.
You are branded according to your sin with a tattoo type marking around your neck. They’re color coded!
Blue – Lust
Orange – Gluttony
Yellow – Greed
Black – Sloth
Red – Wrath
Envy – Green
Purple – Pride
To pay for your alleged crime, you are sent to the Hole. It isn’t an actual hole. I thought it would be like the pit in The Dark Knight Rises, but it was similar to a concentration camp. The Hole was a very violent place.
Lexi is accused of lust. She did not commit that crime, but her brand proves to supply infinite problems. Those that are accused of lust are immediately classified as being promiscuous, but Lexi has not even kissed anyone (to my knowledge).
Cole is a guard assigned to protect Lexi. It is explained why she is assigned a guard, but it is a major spoiler, so NO! Lexi needs a lot of protecting, too. The Hole is so incredibly violent, especially towards those with her color brand.
I knew Cole was the love interest from the moment I laid eyes on him. Or read a word about him. Whatever. At first, he is very cold and harsh to Lexi, as all the guards are. They slowly start to care for each other. Cole has great character development as he learns to finally break the rules, because their government is seriously messed up. Those rules are made to be broken. I did have a problem with him, though. Cole was too protective for me. He didn’t want Lexi to fight and tired to make her decisions for her, which is not okay. He was very similar to Tobias/Four in Insurgent.
Lexi annoyed me SO MUCH throughout the book. She either cried or threw up on every other page. This girl seriously had an infinite supply of tears. I mean, she had a right to be upset but it got really, really annoying. Thankfully, she had a lot of character development as well. Lexi definitely learned to fend for herself and hold her own by the end of the book.
I loved a lot of the side characters. Sutton was the kind-hearted doctor. Bruno was the loyal friend. Keegan was the protective older brother.
This book had enough heartbreak for me to be happy with. I hate when dystopian and fantasy books are too happy. Thanks, Allegiant (just kidding, Allegiant brought sadness to a new level). There is, for sure, a lot of sadness.
There was one surprise at the end that made me actually scream, “WHAT?!” Total surprise!
This book is pretty gory. It was overly gory, in my opinion. This book is for those with a strong stomach! There is one almost-rape scene and many times that Lexi is called inappropriate names. This is because her brand of lust classifies her as promiscuous.
One big problem I had with this book was that there were a lot of similarities to other novels. The last quarter was basically Divergent. Girl learns to fight, learns to shoot, and has to convince her boyfriend that she can fight. The relationship was just like Adam and Juliet in Shatter Me. Guard meets girl he is supposed to hate and manhandle, but they fall in love.
I would give Branded 3.5/5 stars. It kept me up way too late and I will definitely be reading the second book. I would say Branded is for ages fourteen and up because of the gory details and almost-rape.
It did not have the best writing, but props to the authors because I could not tell that it was dual authors throughout the entire book. Read Branded if you want a Divergent style read with a great romance!
Your favorite fangirl,