To punish the guilty, he created the Hole, a place where sinners are branded according to their sins. Sinners are forced to live a less than human existence in deplorable conditions, under the watchful eye of guards who are ready to kill anyone who steps out of line.
Now, LUST wraps around my neck like thick, blue fingers, threatening to choke the life out of me. I’ve been accused of a crime I didn’t commit, and the Hole is my new home.
Brutal and savage violence.
Every day is a fight for survival.
But I won’t let them win. I will not die in the Hole.
I am more than my brand. I’m a fighter. My name is Lexi Hamilton, and this is my story.
I went through an entire array of emotions as I read this novel, from fear to joy to hatred to sadness, I really think the authors of Branded did an amazing job bringing the story to life.
Lexi is extremely real, and while I personally wanted to strangle her at times, her perseverance and mostly strong personality had her bouncing back, time and time again, even when no end to her pain was in sight—and that’s extremely admirable considering what she’s up against. Although insecure about herself due to abuse at the hands of her step-father, Lexi triumphs and focuses on the good that still remains in her life, even though she’s scared beyond belief. She grabs what little life she has left by the horns, and I really respect that about her.
I also really liked how this novel unfolded, Lexi’s insecurities aside. There’s a little bit of everything sprinkled into this novel, with a forbidden relationship (yet this novel certainly isn’t a romance novel), a corrupt world, immense danger, extreme tension, and a mystery surrounding the identity of the Commander—and it’s all incredibly well done. I thoroughly enjoyed the ride that the authors take us on, and this certainly is one hell of a ride, if the gamut of emotions expressed above are any type of indication.
While I did struggle with some of the actions and interactions of the characters here and there, mainly in regards to some of Lexi’s insecurities, overall, this is an extremely well written, action packed novel that held me captive throughout the pages. And while I did momentarily lose some interest around the middle with Lexi’s antics, I plugged through and found it to be a highly explosive read that I highly recommend. Four stars.