Sunday, June 1, 2014

Branded Blog Tour & Review (Megan)

Today I'm participating in the blog tour for Branded by Abi Ketner and Missy Kalicicki. 

Branded by Abi Ketner and Missy Kalicicki 
From GoodreadsFifty 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'm going to start off this review by saying that I like this cover a lot. I'm not usually a big fan of the whole face of a girl thing on book covers, but I think this is pretty and gives the reader a good indication of what Lexi looks like. 

Now, on to the actual story. I wasn't sure what exactly to expect from Branded, but the book throws you right into the story from the very first sentence. There was no long rambling back-story that takes awhile to get through or a dramatic buildup. The readers were thrown right into the world immediately and it was effective in building the suspense. Lexi's name wasn't even mentioned in the first few chapters because it was all intense, heart-pounding action. I thought it was a different approach to starting a novel and I really enjoyed it. 

Once things calmed down a bit and Lexi was in the Hole there was time for a bit more world development and explanations about Lexi's family and prior experiences. It very quickly becomes prominent that she isn't prepared for the physical requirements of living in such a brutal place. Not that I can blame her. Sitting on my couch reading books doesn't exactly prepare me to fight off grown men who are trying to kill me. I admired Lexi's determination even though her situation was bleak and the fact that she didn't totally rely on Cole, her guard, to protect her even though that was his job. He did his fair share of saving her life, but she saved herself just as much.

The Hole itself was gut-wrenching. I applaud the authors for creating a world that was able to turn my stomach so easily. There weren't that many graphic descriptions of the violence, but the little bit that was there was enough to gross me out. The world in this book reminded me of the one in The Chemical Garden Trilogy by Lauren DeStefano. A lot of the people in the Hole have lost a lot of the compassion and emotions that make them human. They've hardened themselves and resorted to violence and cruelty in order to survive. I knew that the Hole would be a prison like miserable place going into it but I was unprepared for just how messed up it was. The dynamics between characters and the way the Hole functioned was fascinating and I loved reading it even though it was disturbing.

Branded was a quick, fast-paced read with action always happening. I liked the characters and the way they interacted with each other. While there were a few minor things with the romance that I found awkward and a little forced, I really enjoyed this read for the most part. I would recommend Branded to anyone who liked Wither by Lauren DeStefano or Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi because they both have similar worlds and a similar narrations style. 

Make sure you check out the rest of the Branded blog tour! There are a lot of great blogs that have been participating not just today, but all week! Stop by their posts as well and let me know what you think of this book in the comments!

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