Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Review: Branded by Bru Baker

Reviewed by SinChan
Branded by Bru Baker
Dreamspinner Press
Short Story: 36pgs
2 Pants Off

When a would-be assassin sneaks into the citadel disguised as a servant, the king requires that all servants who work in the castle be branded with the royal crest for easy identification. Prince Coren is powerless to fight the edict, but he refuses to allow his personal advisor and secret lover Brannir to suffer alone. Coren shows his devotion by wielding the brand to mark Brannir himself, even though he fears it will change their relationship. He's prepared for resentment, hurt, and anger--every outcome but the one he receives: unconditional love.

Since an assassin sneaked into the castle by disguising as a servant, all servants must be branded for identification. Bran will be forced to leave the castle if he isn't branded. Coren hates to mark his lover but he also can't disobey his father and out himself to the public, after all, he's the crown prince.
This is a very slow paced story without much action. There is too much detail going into the branding process and Coren working up the nerve to do it. Coren must brand Bran to protect him but also unwilling to hurt him. Their relationship have to remain a secret and survive the emotional and physical pain of hurting a lover. Their interaction might have been intense, but it lacks the background and length to explore their love and make this a truly deep and intense deep. 
 I keep anticipating the King finding out his son's relationship with his advisor or walking in on them. I want to know more about the popularity of the King with his people since he seems really cruel and paranoid, the setting, and the couple's next steps (they can't hide their relationship forever). The story mainly describes one scene (the branding) and its immediate aftermath. 
Overall, this is a very short and monotonous story. Most of the excitement is in the blurb. It has the potential to be an intense read and it's a great start to a good story. Fans of the hurt/comfort trope can give this a try. 

2 Pants Off

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