Sunday, March 31, 2013

Review: BRANDED by @kearytaylor #Amreading

Branded (Fall of Angels #1)
by Keary Taylor      
3.5/5 stars

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 pull her toward her own judgment and turn her into the object of her greatest fear.
(Amazon product description)

Reviewer: Aprilelayne
Length: 347 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Quality of editing:  85% - misuse of words, repeated adjectives.  Not blaringly annoying, but noticeable.

I have to admit this book got to me, well first of all, that cover!!  That’s what drew me in! I didn’t realize until this past month or so how checking the cover out again after reading the book, makes the covers even more remarkable.  This works both ways though, I have another book that I am about to give 5 stars to, but the cover is ‘eh.’  Branded though, is a solid cover….did you notice the reflective image in the bottom? Wonderfully executed!

Now onto the story itself.  The story and world Keary Taylor creates in this paranormal novel is fascinating, new, and original.  Angels, who would think you could change the conception and idea of what they truly are and their intents?  Taylor pulls it off in creating this angelic world with great detail and development.  She vividly describes and develops her ‘angels,’ I must say I was intrigued and thought ‘What would old-school Anne Rice think?’ of Taylor’s concept of angels and the role religion plays into this story.

The story starts off solid and really developed with its original concept and plotline, but then Taylor veered into the ‘romance’ content and for me it went downhill.  I do give her credit to trying to toe the line with romance without sexuality, but it felt dry and immature.  While the main character, Jessica, is 20yrs old and a socially timid person, she suddenly turned into Bella Swan in her sudden high school classic infatuation with not one but two men who randomly both met and instantly found her irresistible? Two opposing men? Again, is her name Jessica or Bella?  Slipperly slope into Twilight-like flattery.

In fairness, the imagery and originality of the ‘angels’ story deserves five stars! I still want to learn more about the angels, Cole (the antagonist), and the whole system of their trials she witnesses.

As a whole though, the book deserves 3.5 stars.  The flip into romance and its style just brought the overall book down several notches.  I would suggest a stronger focus on emotional development of the characters and the romantic dialogue to bring this book back to a solid 4-5 stars.

The angels and trials and Jessica’s role could have developed into something really solid in the paranormal category.  And these subjects may have been expanded in the following novels (two more novels plus a novella are in the arc) but for the moment I have decided to leave well enough alone at Branded. 


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