The Right To Have No Rights

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You know that saying:

“What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger?”

Well…I used to think it was a big ol crock of grade A crap thrust upon society by the world’s finest head shrinkers. (Obviously I wasn’t a very positive person back in the day.)

It wasn’t until I was much older, with the help of hindsight, determination and books that I found a grain of truth behind that statement. But, for the sake of argument (and the fact that this is supposed to be a book review, not a journal entry) let’s focus on the “book” aspect of that rather ridiculous confession.

Struggle, and the ability to overcome extreme circumstances have always been a part of literature. They are (essentially) the aspect of literature that connects a string of artfully placed words to human consciousness. (AKA: why people relate to characters or events in books.) Dystopian literature takes these two concepts (struggle and circumstances) and morphs them into the most extreme versions of themselves stating (in a rather bold fashion) that…if it doesn’t kill you, it will make you stronger. And we as readers cling to that.


Because I believe (at the end of the day) that we want to be the type of person that overcomes, defies, and proves our circumstances wrong. Like the characters in the books we hold so dear.

We want to be like Katniss or Tris or Lexi. We want to be…stronger.

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.

First things first….let’s get the overtly obvious details out of the way. 1. Yes, this is a dystopian novel. The story (in its simplest state) rotates around a destructed society that is run by a mad man. (I’m talking no marbles or morals left type mad.) There are 7 deadly sins, if you commit one, you are thrown into a horrid prison called The Hole where you are branded according to your sin and left to fend for yourself against other offenders and a large army of malicious guards. 2. There’s a revolt. (Duh, there is always a revolt.) 3. There are emotional entanglements around each and every corner. (Again…duh.)

So, why does it warrant such a high rating if (as demonstrated above) it pretty much encompasses the same qualities as every other random dystopian on the market?

Because it’s NOT like every other dystopian on the market.

Yes, it’s built on predictable bones, but the story is unique and completely unwavering. From page one where an unknown girl is perched on a chair, rope in hand ready to take her own life, to page 380 where the same girl is surrounded by rubble and dead bodies…it’s NOT anything you have read before.

It’s fast. There are very few filler moments in the story, and when you DO run into one, it’s usually because someone has been injured, or…died. (Sad fact.)

The characters as so compelling and well developed that you find yourself gasping and sweating right along with them. (Even Zeus the dog, who I shed a tear or 10 for.)

The attention to detail when it comes to world building…astounding.

All of these together morph into one of the best stories I have read so far this year.

“Branded” in not just about one thing…it’s about many. And the individuality of each person involved makes sure you understand that.

Lexi is broken, but strong. Cole is strong but broken. Sutton is compassionate yet determined. Bruno is determined yet compassionate. Keegan is tortured. Alyssa is accepting. They are the everyday pieces that make up everyday people, which incites the reader to love them. Connect with them. Root for them. They are US in a cracked world where you are never innocent until proven guilty.

It’s hard to talk about this book without giving much away, (a quality I despise more than appreciate) which leaves me (of course) talking in riddles. But I can put THIS into plan English.

This book is wonderful.




And worth every penny you choose to spend on it. You will get frustrated with some characters, angry at others. But from where I’m sitting…that just means you are all in. Committed.

If you are a dystopian fan, you will LOVE this book. And when you read it, and I’m proven right…come back and chat with me. I can’t wait to hear what you have to say.

Happy Reading my fellow Kindle-ites and remember: “Responsibility is the price of freedom.” – Elbert Hubbard

Read an Excerpt!!


I’m buried six feet under, and no one hears my screams.

The rope chafes as I loop it around my neck. I pull down on it, making sure the knot is secure. It seems sturdy enough.
My legs shake. My heart beats heavy in my throat. Sweat pours down my back.

Death and I glare at each other through my tears.

I take one last look at the crystal chandelier, the foyer outlined with mirrors, and the flawless decorations. No photographs adorn the walls. No happy memories here.

I’m ready to go. On the count of three.

I inhale, preparing myself for the finality of it all. Dropping my hands, a glimmer catches my eye. It’s my ring, the last precious gift my father gave me. I twist it around to read the inscription. Picturing his face forces me to reconsider my choice. He’d be heartbroken if he could see me now.

A door slams in the hallway, almost causing me to lose my balance. My thoughts already muddled, I stand, waiting with the rope around my neck. Voices I don’t recognize creep through the walls.

Curiosity overshadows my current thoughts. It’s late at night, and this is a secure building in High Society. No one disturbs the peace here—ever. I tug on the noose and pull it back over my head.

Peering through the eyehole in our doorway, I see a large group of armed guards banging on my neighbors’ door. A heated conversation ensues, and my neighbors point toward my family’s home.

It hits me. I’ve been accused and they’re here to arrest me.

My father would want me to run, and in that split second, I decide to listen to his voice within me. Flinging myself forward in fear, I scramble up the marble staircase and into my brother’s old bedroom. The door is partially covered, but it exists. Pushing his dresser aside, my fingers claw at the opening. Breathing hard, I lodge myself against it. Nothing. I step back and kick it with all my strength. The wood splinters open, and my foot gets caught. I wrench it backward, scraping my calf, but adrenaline pushes me forward. The voices at the front door shout my name.

On hands and knees, I squeeze through the jagged opening. My brother left through this passage, and now it’s my escape too. Cobwebs entangle my face, hands, and hair. At the end, I feel for the knob, twisting it clockwise. It swings open, creaking from disuse. I sprint into the hallway and smash through the large fire escape doors at the end. A burst of cool air strikes me in the face as I jump down the ladder.

Reaching the fifth floor, I knock on a friend’s window. The lights flicker on, and I see the curtains move, but no one answers. I bang on the window harder.

“Let me in! Please!” I say, but the lights darken. They know I’ve been accused and refuse to help me. Fear and adrenaline rush through my veins as I keep running, knocking on more windows along the way. No one has mercy. They all know what happens to sinners.

Another flight of stairs passes in a blur when I hear the guards’ heavy footfalls from above. I can’t hide, but I don’t want to go without trying.

Help me, Daddy. I need your strength now.

My previous desolation evolves into a will to survive. I have to keep running, but I tremble and gasp for air. I steel my nerves and force my body to keep moving. In a matter of minutes, my legs cramp and my chest burns. I plunge to the ground, scraping my knee and elbow. A moan escapes from my chest.

Gotta keep going.

“Stop!” Their voices bounce off the buildings. “Lexi Hamilton, surrender yourself,” they command. They’re gaining on me.

Add it to your Goodreads shelf / Amazon wishlist

Rating Report
Overall: 5

About Misty

Your friendly neighborhood narcissist. I'm sarcastic, cynical and a bit cranky. I own a soap box so big that sometimes I have difficulty stepping down off of it, and I'm about 94% certain I have multiple personalities. I don't sleep enough, and I read more than any person should ever consider normal. I have anger management issues, especially when I'm stuck in traffic and I have an unhealthy obsession with my Kindle. I am a vampire lovin', zombie obsessed, book-in-hand, iPod freak. You either love me or hate me. You be the judge.

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