Keary Taylor’s Branded is the first self-published book I have read. I have heard all the complaints regarding self-published books, so I was a little worried about how Branded would turn out. Ms. Taylor was kind enough to provide a review copy and once I started reading, all my little worries died.
Jessica’s had the nightmares for as long as she can remember. Nightmares of being judged for people who have died, of being branded by the angels. Her friends and family think she’s a crazy because of it all. Yet she carries the mark of the condemned, seared into the back of her neck, and hides it and herself away from the world.
But when two men she can’t ignore enter her life everything changes, including the nightmares. The two of them couldn’t be more different. She will do anything to be with one of them. Even tell him the truth about angels, why she never sleeps, and the scar on the back of her neck. But one of the two has set events into motion what will puller her toward her own judgment and turn her into the object of her greatest fear. (synopsis GoodReads)
Ms. Taylor’s writing is great! The book appears to be a little long, but she has written a story that moves fluidly and quickly. I was pleasantly surprised that it didn’t lag. The characters are also wonderful and even though Jessica is unlike me in many ways, I found a few similar characteristics. I know an author is great when they can make me relate to a character who is virtually nothing like me.
Jessica is a great main character and I really liked the way her past was revealed in short flashbacks. The flashbacks didn’t take over the story and Ms. Taylor didn’t rely on these flashbacks to show what kind of person Jessica is. Through her actions and thoughts, readers will be able to understand the terror she feels and the reasoning behind her isolation.
Another character I loved is Alex. He is genuinely sweet and it’s no wonder Jessica starts falling for him. He isn’t the typical moody male lead and I am so glad for that. His and Jessica’s relationship begins with friendship, but it doesn’t take long to grow into something more. The speed in which their relationship grows is finely balanced in terms of speed. It develops quickly, but not too quickly.
I have read quite a few angel books, but nothing like Branded. Ms. Taylor presents a unique and dark twist on the angel mythology that many are sure to love. I do wish there had been a little more explanation regarding a few things regarding the angels and Jessica’s role, but I’m hoping the mythology is expanded in the sequel, Forsaken.
There were a few grammatical and formatting issues, but none of them were bad enough to make me stop reading, and there aren’t many of them in general.
I really loved this book and I’m beyond excited to read the next book! Keary Taylor has a fresh voice and has written a delightfully unique story that is dark and romantic, which are two things I love when put together well. If you’re worried about reading a self-published book, don’t be or else you’ll miss out on this amazing book. 🙂
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