Branded had the potential of an amazing novel, but just had a few problems that prevented it from being so.
Branded’s story is very unique. I love the idea that a corrupted dictatorship accuses people of sins, rather than crimes, and brands them accordingly. It’s pretty genius, and very different to anything I have read before in a dystopian novel.
From the moment I started Branded, I did not want to stop reading. The writing style is the kind that draws you in and makes you want to read about everything that happens to the characters within. At least, that’s how I felt when reading it.
Our main character, Lexi, is very likeable in my opinion. She has suffered though a lot in her life, but is still standing on two feet, and hanging onto life, even though the life she is facing is far from perfect. I particularly liked and admired her strength of will, even in the face of danger and pain. She wasn’t perfect; she wasn’t even particularly badass. But most girls aren’t, or wouldn’t be in the situation presented to Lexi in Branded. And for that, I really admired her character.
I really liked Cole, Lexi’s love interest. Hallelujah for the lack of a love triangle in this novel! I mean, in dystopian societies, it’s hard enough to find ONE boy that is worthy, let alone two, so I appreciated the reality of this relationship. Although, I personally hate it when guys use the word ‘babe’, or ‘baby’, so every time Cole called Lexi those names, I cringed a little on the inside. Yes, their relationship progressed quickly, but so did the rest of the novel, so I was persuaded to overlook it somewhat.
I felt that Lexi was attacked and saved a few too many times to be believable. Yes, I know she’s supposed to be very beautiful and the fact that she is branded with lust makes her an object of it – but the fact that she is attacked in about every chapter in the first two thirds of the novel was kind of repetitive. I would have preferred reading about one or two little ones, and then the big one that occurred. It would have produced more of a punch in terms of storyline. By the time the big attack came around you knew she was going to be saved, because she had been a lot of times before.
Whilst I enjoyed Lexi’s relationship with Alyssa, I felt that it moved too quickly. One minute Alyssa was a dying girl with no interest in Lexi, and the next minute they were best friends. Their friendship was one of my favourite aspects of this novel, and I think it would have been a lot more poignant if we had actually seen their relationship develop, not just know of the end results.
I loved the inclusion of Zeus. I think he was one of the most fleshed out characters in this novel, which is pretty awesome, considering that he’s a dog. But it’s true. I loved his protectiveness of Lexi, and I loved Lexi’s love for him, too. If anything happens to that dog, I think my heart will break.
The descriptions in the first half of the novel were very good. I had no trouble picturing the Hole, or Lexi’s room, or the hospital. But towards the end of the novel, when the scenery changes, the descriptions lacked a bit. I would have liked some more vivid world building in regards to the underground tunnels and the maps that Lexi studies.
I guessed the big reveal at the end of the novel, but it still packed a punch. I cannot wait to read the second book in the series, and learn of what happens to Lexi and Cole, and all the others.
© 2014, Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity. All rights reserved.