Thursday, 25 July 2013

Review: Branded (Sinners #1) by Abi Ketner and Missy Kalicicki

Branded (Sinners, #1)Branded

Author: Abi Ketner and Missy Kalicicki
Series: Sinners
Pages: 252
Genre: Dystopian
Publisher: Self

Synopsis. (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.

Review: 4 out of 5 stars

Branded started out brilliantly, I found myself completely immersed in the story and flipping through the pages, I would have given the book a solid five stars based on the first portion of the book but at some point my interest tapered off and I found myself pushing through it.

The world Ketner and Kalicicki have created is unique, brutal and quite horrifying, The Commander has ordered people who commit one of the seven deadly sins be branded with a colour which matches their crime and exiled to the Hole which is more or less hell for humans, it’s his way of keeping the society pure.

Lexi Hamilton has been branded with a blue mark which means lust, a crime she doesn’t get a hearing for, she is instantly guilty and with her stunning looks she becomes a prime target in the hole. Lexi was a character that has been dealt a difficult hand, both in and out of the hole but she was resilient and had strength which was needed to survive, but there was something about her which I am struggling to pinpoint that left me conflicted about her as a character.
 Lust - Blue
Pride - Purple
Wrath - Red
Sloth - Black
Envy - Green

Ordered to guard Lexi is smexy, hardened Cole who I really liked, he would pretty much do anything to protect her against the cruel society which I appreciated but he was also one of the Commanders guards so I was wary about his motives and the kindness he showed, he was nothing like the other guards who seemed ruthless.

Marchell's Corner
Guards and sinners are forbidden to be in a relationship; it’s a crime punishable by death but Cole and Lexi came to form a really sweet bond in a world filled with injustice and pain, there were a few eye rolling moments between them but I did find myself hoping they would get together.

Amidst the violence, filth and brutality we have some sweet moments, especially with Cole’s clumsy yet protective dog Zeus who bought some light humour to the story and also Alyssa who was a sweetheart, my heart broke for her. All secondary characters were each fleshed out well, I admired Sutton and Bruno and the villain was pure evil and I was quite shocked by who he was, I also wasn't a fan of Lexi's brother Keegan, I didn't trust him at all.

I really liked the writing style, it flowed well but the dialogue at times felt stilted, the world-building was wonderfully creative and I’m curious to see what lies ahead for the hole and the revolt, the authors have painted a dark and dreary setting that you can’t help but visualise, it was absolutely disturbing how people were having to live to survive.

Overall, Branded is an emotionally intense, action-packed read filled with pain, violence and a forbidden love with many twists and turns you don’t see coming. A great debut for Abi Ketner and Missy Kalicicki.


T2cAbout the authors: Abi and Missy met in the summer of 1999 at college orientation and have been best friends ever since. After college, they added jobs, husbands and kids to their lives, but they still found time for their friendship. Instead of hanging out on weekends, they went to dinner once a month and reviewed books. What started out as an enjoyable hobby has now become an incredible adventure.


  1. I'm glad you ended up liking this even though the last part wasn't as great as the first. :)

    1. Thanks Sara! It was a really interesting story, the first half was definitely stronger for me.

  2. I've never heard of this one but it sounds like a unique dystopian book. It's a shame that the last part wasn't as strong as the beginning. But the characters and the world building sound quite interesting.
    I'm glad that you enjoyed this overall, Sharon!
    Fabulous review! :)

    1. Thanks Nick! this one was really unique which I loved, the concept is creative and I quite enjoyed it overall.

  3. This one definitely sounds interesting. I'm a little burnt out on dystopian, but once I'm over it this is one I'd definitely pick up. I'm especially intrigued about that romance!

    1. I love a forbidden romance <3 I have been a bit burnt out on Dystopian as well and for me this didn't really read like one which I quite liked.

  4. This one is blowing up all over my Goodreads feed that although this isn’t what I usually read, I want to read it :)

    1. I hope you do Nereyda! it was really interesting.

  5. This sounds so scary and good! I never heard of it until now. I need to add to my TBR list ASAP!

    1. The world was really scary, I hope you enjoy it if you get a chance to read it :)

  6. I saw this one on sale and thought about buying, but wasn't sure. It sounds really good though. Thanks for the great review. I might just have to get it.

    1. I bought it on a whim, it kept appearing on my Amazon recommendations list and the reviews have been quite high. I'm excited for the sequel :)

  7. Wow, Branded sounds like a very, very cool story. I do like the pics of Cole and Lexi you posted, and it seems like they were good characters overall. I'm glad you enjoyed this, despite the couple of issues you had with the story. Great review, Sharon!

    1. Thanks Andrea! Cole was pretty smexy and I really enjoyed the overall story.

  8. Holy Dystopian how did I not know about this! I love that it was violent but had sweetness to it, and the premises sounds amazing, I am off to find this one!

    1. I hope you enjoy it Kimba! It is such a unique concept but there were quite a few violent scenes. I'm excited for the sequel.


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