At the beginning, like, literally, the beginning, you see our protagonist Lexi about to hang herself. Well that's something you definitely don't read everyday, especially not at the start. I also caught myself empathize for her as soon as the action started, and Lexi said, "Help me, Daddy, I need your strength now." I just wanted to give her a giant hug. And then there's the branding of her tattoo—blue for lust, and being taken to the Hole. Throughout the whole process, Lexi stayed strong and put on her game face, who doesn't love a strong character, right? Although I gave to point something out, while her actions were admirable, as soon as she got to her room-of-cell, she started cringing, cowering, and screaming at everything. But, hey, we all have our limits, right?
Enter Cole, the strong guard who's assigned to our lovely protagonist. At first he's all, "These are the rules, and if you break 'em, you're dead." But then he starts actually getting to know Lexi, and that's when we get to know the guy under the mask. I have to say, that guy's pretty funny, even though his singing is... unique. What happens next, you ask? Well, they fall in love, that's a no-brained. I thought it was nice, although it felt slightly rushed, and, to me, it felt like we don't really know Cole all that well. Unless that's saved for the next book.
Every male lead needs a faithful companion, enter Zues the "guard dog." From what I've heard, he's everyone's favorite, mine included. He's that ice-breaker kind of character. He actually reminds me of a dog I used to have. But that's not all. Who can forget Alyssa and Stutton? I love Alyssa. I love how she's such a great presence in such a bleak and horrible place. I love how she brought out the best and brightest in everyone. I thought it was so cute how she went on a "date" with Cole. Ah, memories. I've gotta admit, I was pretty sad when she died. I mean, we all knew it was coming, but I didn't like it. But, to quote Charles Xavier, we all have to die sometime. And Stutton, one of the few decent people in the Hole. I love how blunt he is with Lexi, threatening to cut her hand, or at least I think it was her hand, off. There was a moment, that's unforgettable, when Cole was gone on a mission, and Lexi was sulking and couldn't think about anything else. Stutton sets it straight and knocks some well-deserved sense knocked into her. Yay, applause! This is another thing that bothered me. Lexi switches her personality left and right constantly. It was hard to understand, well, her at some times. Especially the part with Cole gone. She tells Stutton that she's got it all under control and then proceeds to mope around, not taking into consent the repercussions of her actions, like how she can get everyone killed. Like, c'mon, Lexi, you dint need a man.
Lexi's background. I felt so sorry for her. I mean, if I got stuck with a douche of a step-dad like she did, I'd probably lose it and punch him in the face. When she wrote that letter to Cole, it felt like someone stabbed my heart.
KEAGAN. three words: I wasn't expecting that. Okay, four words, I can't count.
Once again, I liked the book. I did, and have I mentioned that I adore the cover? It was just those things that threw me off. That's not to say I won't pick up the next book, of course I will. Although I hope to see some character development and getting to know Cole better. I'd like to thank Abi and Missy for having me a part of this blog tour, even though my post is two days late. (I apologize.) every time I'd see a post on Instagram or Twitter, I'd start crying, no kidding. Congratulations once again, you two, I couldn't be more proud.
Stay tuned for an interview with Abi and Missy about Branded, which will be in a seperate post, and happy reading.