Title: Cleanly wrong
Author: Mel Eight
Length: 18,000 words
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Genre: m/m Fantasy Romance
Rung is a half-breed orphan brownie who can’t do anything right, much to the worry of his cleanliness teachers. When he runs away, Rung decides that he can resist the need to clean. Only, there is that one office that so desperately needs help…
This little story was an utter delight and managed to combine a charming tale with a very lovable character in Rung. Rung is a brownie whose brain doesn’t seem to want to clean in the same way as all the other brownies. He still has the same compulsion to clean, tidy, organise and sort but instead of strict alphabetical order or arranging things by colour, his mind takes a more logical and holistic turn. This makes him despised by his teachers and mocked by his fellow pupils. In despair Rung runs away and hides at the royal castle where he discovers his unusual organisational skills are just what is needed.
I absolutely loved Rung and thought the author had managed incredibly well to create such a well rounded and vivid character in such a short word count. He come across strongly in the story and all the intricacies of being a brownie and using his wiles to survive at the castle are described clearly and with flair. I want a Rung living in my house! I really felt all his shame and sadness at what he sees as his defects, which then contrasted with the pride and happiness he feels later when he realises that he can be of use.
I also enjoyed the secondary characters who, whilst not quite as vivid as Rung still managed to add to the story and the overall setting. The world of the brownies, and their rules and regulations, made me smile and I enjoyed the generally lighthearted tone to the story. The story fits well into the fairy tale genre, of which this Bestiary series seems to be a part of and I was hooked by page one and rather sad when the book finished.
My only complaint is that the romance is a little tacked onto the end and I would have liked a little more development in that area to be totally happy with the HEA. However, that was only a minor issue in what was a pretty wonderful fantasy story with an unusual hero in Rung. If you like fairy tales, then I would recommend this one which I guarantee will brighten up your day.