Title: Branded (Sinners #1)
Authors: Abi Ketner and Missy Kalicicki
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."
My Opinion: This was a very powerful book! I just have to say that right off because you need to be prepared for violence and the worst that people can do when you read it. In the society of Branded, anyone can be accused of one of the seven deadly sins, and if they are accused then they are sent to The Hole and branded without ever having a trial or being able to speak in their own defense. The Hole is a prison that is nothing better than a slum that the prisoners are forced to live and work in, with guards everywhere who would just as easily shoot you as look at you. The guards are sadistic animals for the most part, although there are a few good ones, one of which is Cole, the guard assigned to Lexi when she is falsely accused of the sin of Lust and is branded with a blue ring around her neck (the color that lets everyone know what her sin was) and thrown in the Hole.
This book moved very fast at times, and then at other times I felt the narrative bogged it down. I felt that the threat of death over both Lexi and Cole if they ever got close would have caused them to fight their feelings a bit more, but once you get past the slower parts, the book picks up again at an almost break neck pace, hurtling the reader to the conclusion.
Overall I enjoyed Branded and was able to deal with the violence because it wasn't gratuitous - it simply let the reader in on what it was like in The Hole, the "realness" of it is what kept me reading even when I was uncomfortable with it.
I look forward to reading the next installment and recommend it to readers who don't shy away from violence in a messy dystopian world. I give this book 4 stars :D
I received a copy of this book free of charge from NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.