Monday, 22 July 2013

Review: Branded.

Publication Date: June 28th 2013
Source : Own Kindle copy.
Amazon Book Depository

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.

Oh My Eff-
Alright, I  finished Branded and adsjnoawefnowianfoinweosfhwaoifn my brains a little scrambled.

I read it in one sitting and oh so many emotions, I feel like I need retail therapy. I'm also re-watching Roswell for the millionth time, so I'm in a LETS HUG mood.
Everyone is a sinner, take me, I bought Branded over a week ago. I've been lusting over the damn cover until I had a free choice read day- no obligation to review. I'm reviewing anyway. Damn you Abi & Missy, I wanted a quick light read, not to be sucked into a world full of desperation, depression and hope, with characters of depth and a deathly romance that kills.
I also have a gluttony for books. Oh, and then there's pesky wrath- I like to throw books across the room if they make me angry) *note, no books were injured during the process of this review*

This review might not be spoiler free, but I'm trying, so this will mostly be about the characters, and probably some vague references  to the plot.

-Warning- Lots of this review might not make sense, with unadulterated views and random bursts of fangirling.-
The hole is a place all sinner's go, created by The Commander, who rose through the ashes like some freaking phoenix and crushed everyone in his wake, un-trialled, no actual proof of their supposed sin of somebody elses allegation. That's all it takes- an allegation. The guards come and drag you off to the hole. You're stripped of possessions, of clothes, scrubbed and cleaned like a sin's contagious and eventually- branded by your sin a colour. The colour that signifies and orders your brand heated tight around your neck like a collar and must be seen so you're easy to identify.
That's all you are.

Your sin.

Your brand.
You're not human, you have no rights and basically it's your fault you're in there in the first place- so don't complain. Don't expect to be treated by anything than what you are.

So once Lexi Hamilton get's accused, after a decision to not end her life, she runs because she knows that's what her father would want her to do. She's caught anyway. She's innocent, but she doesn't fight.

"He thinks he can destroy me by stripping away my possessions. But he can’t and I won’t let them take my memories, my ambition, and my pride."

They think just because Lexi is from the High Society, that they can destroy her by taking everything away, but the thing is, they do not know a person like Lexi Hamilton. They can't break her because she's already broken. She doesn't care about her possessions, the only exception the ring her father had given her, but even once they take that, she doesn't crack. Possessions are extendable. Memories aren't. She's scared of the hole. I mean, who wouldn't? People are getting raped, beaten, shot and killed at from the inside with the rest of the sinners to even the guards. One step wrong, one footstep, and just like that, you could be dead. But Lexi, she's gone from one hell into another, the only relief being that she isn't trapped inside that damn closet her step-father tortured her in.
Her  guard, Cole, is ordered to protect her, and he does way beyond his duty in protecting, to the point that he's risking his own life, and that never happens to most of the other guards, they'd throw you under a bus if it even came to anything like that. But not Cole.

Lexi has a job chosen for her and taken under the wing of Sutton at the Hole's hospital, the only hospital, which is the only better job there, since you have women on the corner of the streets, their job, you ask?

She's pretty lucky with her chosen, and you find out exactly why in the conclusion.
Slowly and surely, living together and getting to know one another, with a connection to Cole's dog, Zeus, a few close encounters, caring for a dying patient Alyssa, and him picking her up after work every night- they fall in love.

Which is forbidden, and I mean, they'll-make-you-watch-while-they-torture-one-of-you-before-killing-them-and-then-you type of forbidden.

"They’re chosen from a young age and trained in combat. They kept order of society by using violent methods of intimidation. No one befriends a guard. Relationships with them are forbidden inside the Hole."

Before Cole, Lexi had nothing left to hold onto, her father dad, the mother the person who accused her because of her step-father, her step-father and abusive, controlling sociopath (sound like anyone we know?) and her brother ran out on her, leaving her alone. But now she has him, she has something to hold onto, something to fight for, and be damned, she's going to.

She does.

When it's now or never and the truth unfolds, and Lexi finds her brother once again and takes her earned place in the fight.
The Commander's identity wasn't really a surprise, but how this commander's demise was waaaay better than if it was originally Lexi.

Lexi was a really, really strong character, even when she didn't know it. She'd been through so much yet she still felt apathy for the people around her and saw the beauty in things, and with Alyssa, she finally realised those things. She wasn't going to be weak.
Cole, you badass you. That's all I'm saying there.

I loved Bruno's one liners. Seriously, he was the humour you needed within this messed up twisted piece of a hell hole. Literally.
Then there's Sutton, who I wasn't sure of in the beginning, and still not sure of, even with his connection.

Keegan. Hmmm, I wasn't really a fan of him, the way he was treating his own sister, devoid of actually asking what she wanted, and making decisions for her when all her life she's had them made, made me kind of glad his part of the story ended the way it did. Does that make me a bad person?
Yup. Probably.

Can't forget Zeus! Oh Zeus, how glad am I nothing happened to him? I have no affinity to killing characters, even if they are certain main characters, but don't kill a dog. Just don't. I'll never forgive you.
I mean, I watched Marley & Me. Scarred me for life. Scared to even go near the book.

What you need to know about Branded before reading;
1) It's a dystopian. Which is pretty obvious since it's post WWV. Also, I've steered clear of dystopian for a while, since I get increasingly disappointed with them. (None of that here!)

2) Graphic violence.
3) Colourful language. (Yay!)

4) Some vulgar references.
5) It's surprisingly a YA. Which I wouldn't call it to be honest, it's descriptive and violent, and though there's no R18 going on, the whole suppressive feel of the book is for the more a more Mature YA, though I will add- it's nothing you haven't seen on TV and Films or heard about on the News. So don't be too prissy about it.

Now, what I want to know...what was the second accusation?

Lately I've been compiling my own playlists before I read a book, just based on the summary, and some quotes, to see if they do end up bringing the story to life, for me. So here's my top 7, because I really tried just putting down 5, and I couldn't. Honestly, I could go on forever with playlists. Trust me.  (Click on song titles for youtube.)

1) Civil Twilight-  Teardrop(Cover)

2) Civil Twilight-  Letters From The Sky.

3) Kate Voegele- No Good.

4)One Republic- All The Right Moves.

5) Florence +  The Machine-  No Light, No Light.

6) Haim- Send Me Down

7) The Glass Child- The Haunted

You can decide for yourself and tell me if they fit for you. :)

Rating 4.5/5

Now, go read Branded!

Abi & Missy