Narrator: Paul Richmond
Brute by Kim Fielding – Romance>Fantasy eBook
Brute leads a lonely life in a world where magic is commonplace. He is seven and a half feet of ugly, and of disreputable descent. No one, including Brute, expects him to be more than a laborer. But heroes come in all shapes and sizes, and when he is maimed while rescuing a prince, Brute’s life changes abruptly. He is summoned to serve at the palace in Tellomer as a guard for a single prisoner. It sounds easy but turns out to be the challenge of his life.
Rumors say the prisoner, Gray Leynham, is a witch and a traitor. What is certain is that he has spent years in misery: blind, chained, and rendered nearly mute by an extreme stutter. And he dreams of people’s deaths—dreams that come true.
As Brute becomes accustomed to palace life and gets to know Gray, he discovers his own worth, first as a friend and a man and then as a lover. But Brute also learns heroes sometimes face difficult choices and that doing what is right can bring danger of its own.
In a small village in a long ago kingdom, seven and a half foot Aric (known as Brute) leads a lonely life growing up orphaned when his father was hung as a thief and his mother took her own life.
But when big lumbering Brute rescues a prince and is severely injured in the process, he’s invited to the capital and given a job guarding a mysterious prisoner. The prisoner, Gray Leynham, is reputed to be a witch and a traitor and though blind is cursed with Cassandra-like dreams of impending deaths.
But as Brute learns more about the prisoner and follows his naturally kind impulses, their relationship changes.
This tale, told in third person but clearly centered on Brute’s perspective, has the aspects of a fairy tale, but a Grimm one. The rescue of the Prince struck the perfect fantasy/fairy tale tone but there was bit too much dwelling on Brute’s abysmal environment in chapter 1 for me. This accentuation of the negative aspects of the kingdom gave much of the rest of the tale a sense of impending doom that was perhaps too apparent for me to enjoy this as much as I should have. And when Aric clearly starts planning to do something about Gray’s situation, the possibility of tragedy just seemed too high for me to really enjoy the unfolding of the story.
Of course it may have felt different in print but I was listening to the Audio-book version.
K.C. Kelly’s narrative voice (which was perfect for the brain damaged Ethan in Ethan, Who Loved Carter) is a bit soporific for the narrator here. Perhaps they wanted to emphasize Brute’s slowness but for me it just felt a bit of a downer, especially given the sense of impending doom that the tale evoked.
Yet, the overall tale is enjoyable