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.
I did not expect to enjoy this book as much as I did. It was exciting, dark and full of action, I found myself flicking through the pages incredibly fast. It was read in just two days! The story follows the path of Lexi Hamilton, a young girl that has recently been forced to live in The Hole. Her crime? Her contamination of the sin Lust. Not all is how it seems however as Lexi fights to prove her innocence whilst staying under the radar of the Guards at all times.
This book was so full of action and incredibly tense. The Hole is controlled by the mysterious Commander, a being whose identity is unknown only adding to the fear of this place. With riots currently breaking out over the entirety of The Hole, not only against other sinners but also against the Guards we are thrown into a world of turmoil and repression. The authors created this incredibly realistic and dark world, a place where even your natural desires are enough to hang a death sentence over your head. Branded doesn't shy away from any issues. Child abuse, sexual abuse, death, repression. All of these are big issues within this book. It was riveting to see how everything was going to play out.
The characters were incredibly likeable. Lexi is feisty and is most certainly not going to lie down whilst she is repressed. Having lost her father and her brother, and suffered in her past, she is not an easy character to push around. With her blue brand burnt around her neck, she is a prime target for mistreatment by the men within The Hole and a target for abuse from the women. I felt so strongly for Lexi and I found myself hoping that she would one day get her own back. Some scenes made me wince whilst reading them and I just found myself willing her to continue fighting.
Alongside Lexi, we meet Sutton, the hospital doctor, Cole, Lexi's personal guard and Bruno, the friend of both of these characters. I loved these characters. It isn't often that we can all read a book and care deeply about the characters. Something I found quite refreshing was that Cole was more emotional than Lexi. With many twists and turns developing within the relationships of these characters, I was incredibly eager to see what would develop between them. In a place where love between sinners and guards is forbidden and carries a public execution, it was incredibly tense to see this forbidden relationship develop.
A dystopian fiction, it makes for an incredibly riveting read and I highly recommend it. It's full of action and likeable characters. A strong female protagonist and plenty of rebellion, it is everything that a dystopian novel should be.
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.