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Branded (Sinners, #1)

Branded (Sinners, #1) - Abi Ketner,  Missy Kalicicki 3-1/2 stars.

I really liked this book and can't wait for more. That's the first thing I need to tell you. The second: It's only 99 cents!!! How is this possible? If you're reading this review after the price is 99 cents, buy it anyway because it's that good.

The story starts off right in the middle of the action. Lexi Hamilton is running, knowing the consequences of what will happen if she gets caught. Citizens accused of crimes are labeled Sinners and imprisoned without trial and without being able to defend themselves at all. Their prison, the Hole, is like a small city/slum, surrounded completely by 20-ft cement walls rife with crime and corruption and squalor. After being caught, Lexi is immediately transported to the Hole, where she is branded with a band of color around her neck according to her sin: Blue for Lust.

I don't even know what I can tell you about this story without giving anything away, so I will just say that it is unlike anything I've ever read. It was authentic and had what a good dystopian book should have--consequences that show why the society functions the way it does. Citizens are constantly reminded of what will happen to those who don't follow the rules, whether it's a public execution or beating or seeing them dragged off to the Hole.

One of the things that I liked the most about this book was the characters. I really liked Lexi and her spirit. There were times that I thought she was a little unrealistic in her expectations of what was going on around her, but it definitely made sense for her character. She was young and privileged before being imprisoned, so her occasional naivete totally was perfect for her character. I loved Cole, who was the guard assigned to her protection. He's strong and manly and was pretty swoony, too.
"Tell me this is real. Please tell me you really want me because..."

"Lexi," he says. "It's real. I'm real. We're real. Everything's real."

He brings me back down, unties my ponytail, and runs his hands through my hair, rolling me back over and pressing his pelvis into mine. I open my eyes and he's staring at me with so much passion. A tear runs down my face and he wipes it away with his thumb.

"Babe, let's take it slow. I don't want to move too fast... I don't just want to make love. I want to make our love last."

There were parts of it that were downright gross--maggots and blood and just ewww. There are also some really graphic issues, like attempted rape and child molestation and prostitution, so if those are sensitive topics for you, you might not want to read this story.

There were a few problems for me, like insta-relationships and how the characters didn't hold true throughout. I think a good editor would have caught these inconsistencies. With that being said, the entire storyline made sense and was exciting, and I can't wait to read more.

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