REVIEW: Branded (Book 1) – Abi Ketner & Missy Kalicicki


Abi Ketner & Missy Kalicicki

Book 1

eBook, 314 pages

Published February 18th 2014 by Abi and Missy Books

ISBN: 978-0-989-52740-8

– 4.3 stars

“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.”

Wow! I really enjoyed this book. I felt that the premise was really original and I loved the sin-branding idea! This story begins with the main character- Lexi- being caught and branded because she was accused of having a relationship. That’s all it was- an accusation, from her mother. And now Lexi must adapt to life in the Hole. The place where all sinners end up. The place where Lexi is to spend the rest of her life. It’s a story of struggle and survival and that sometimes, life is tough, but life provides us with so may opportunities that can lead us to penultimate happiness.

This stories imidate darkness and action is what kept me reading until I physically couldn’t keep my eyes open. I felt that Lexi- if slight clique- was a good, strong character that had flaws but was a genuine person that you really routed for from the start. Her background is a mystery at the start and the answers are revealed as the book proceeds. At first I wasn’t sure how the plot was going to unfold, but I really didn’t care because I was enjoying it that much.

This is written from Lexi’s POV and is written in first person. Her thoughts are interesting and complex, thinking about all angles of her situation. As soon as one of the male characters was introduced, I knew they were going to be the love interest. This was a slightly predictable element that sat alongside the slightly repetitive scenes in this book. The relationship was also very overused in YA dystopian. And of course we have the stereotypical “I’m fighting” “No you’re not fighting, you’re going to get hurt” lines in there. But they fit with the characters in the book, and can be easily overlooked. Also, a lot of head quarters in YA dystopians are underground, and this one did not disappoint!

The setting for this book was really intimidating and took a typical dystopian ‘slum’ to a whole new level. I felt constantly tense whilst reading this book, because the whole is quite simply a very dangerous place to live and does parallel with problems in society today and touches on what I think could happen in some places in the world in the future, if things are contain and stopped soon enough. However, even though the book is called Branded I didn’t feel as if the brands played that massive of a role in the story. They weren’t minor at all, I just imagined them playing the most important motif in the book.

Overall, I did really enjoy this book. But there were certain elements of it that let me down. For example, I felt that the last 15% of the book was, not exactly rushed, but not explored in enough detail. It was the climax of the book but was the least delved into. And it seemed almost like a side event and not the story’s peak. I did find it slightly predictable but still slightly tense and emotional. I am so excited to read more from Ketner and Kalicicki and am hoping that the next books follow the same characters. And before I forget, Zeus is amazing! Please pick up this book if you are a fan of Moira Young’s thrilling dystopian series the Dust Lands trilogy.

Please like and comment below if you have read this book, you want to buy this book but need more persuading or if you agreed/disagreed with my review. I’d love to hear from you! Or you can contact me here.

* This book was sent to me by a publisher in return for an honest review.

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