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.
©2012 Kim Fielding (P)2014 Dreamspinner Press
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Narrated beautifully by K.C. Kelly – this one punched me right in my feels.
Kim Fielding's "Brute" is a fantasy tale told from the perspective of gentle giant, Aric, known as “Brute”, who’s seven and half feet tall and been abused and mistreated since his father was hung for a thief and his mother died soon after. He went to live with an uncle who abused him terribly until he had his growth spurt. Unfortunately his growth spurt made him a bit of a freak among the people around him and he’d been further ostracized leaving him alone in a rather cruel world. Yet, even with all that misery, he does not wallow. Instead he is a thoughtful, kind, wonderful person.
After saving the life of one of the crown princes, and at terrible cost to himself, Brute is given a very important job in the King’s palace taking care of a single prisoner. The twist? He must live in the tower with the prisoner.
Gray Leynham has been harshly imprisoned for over a decade and horribly treated all because he is a seer who can predict death of those close by while he dreams at night. He has a terrible stutter and is only intelligible when he dreams of death at night.
“Your most important task will come at night, actually.”
Brute frowned uneasily, shifting his eyes quickly toward the barred door. “Night?”
“It’s quite simple. If he calls out anything in his sleep—and you’ll know he’s sleeping because the words will actually be intelligible— take note of it, then hurry off and repeat it to the guard at the door. It’d be better if you could write it down, but I suppose there’s no chance of that.”
As Brute spends time with him, treating him with the first care and kindness Gray has seen in all those years, the two develop a bond that will not be broken.
K.C. Kelly gives each character such an incredible voice and tone – it blew me away. I was so impressed with his narration – it was brilliantly done. Bravo, sir! Bravo!
I felt so deeply for the two main characters: Aric and Gray, but K.C. brings ALL of the characters to life so richly. I was woven deeply into the threads of the story, wrapped up in it until the very end.
"Why would you bring something like that on yourself?”
The answer was simple. “Because I love you.”
Though the story drags in the third quarter, it is overall so entertaining and emotional, that can be easily overlooked in my overall enjoyment.
A note for those who like a smuttier read – though they are lovers, this is definitely PG rated, kids. But I didn’t miss the sexy times at all. Kelly brings such a depth to his narration that I was engaged to the end.
Highly recommended for all, but fantasy lovers especially.
4 stars for the book, 5 stars for the narration, 4.5 stars overall! This was an excellent listen!
Just from those first moments of the audiobook sample, I knew it would be a hit for me. K.C. Kelly did a gorgeous job narrating "Love, Like Water," so I had the utmost confidence that he would kill this one. And he did. With a rumbling bass for Brute and a perfect stutter for Gray, the narrator nailed it.
I happen to have a tender spot for stutterers, so listening to K.C. Kelly narrate Gray had me almost in tears. I come from a long line of stutterers. My father, brother, and grandma all stutter, but my brother's stutter is by far the most pronounced, affecting his daily life. Listening to Gray try to get out his words really moved me, and the narrator did a perfect job getting that intonation down-pat. I think K.C. Kelly might be known for this because he is also the narrator of "Ethan, Who Loved Carter," which also features a stutterer.
I also sussed out the narrator's home country from the way he gives many of his characters a New Zealand accent (I'm not that good, I knew it was Australian-ish sounding and then I looked it up!). I loved the range of accents and voices from Mr. Kelly. He did such a fabulous job giving this story character and body.
The story itself was also incredibly lovely. Brute is a tall, ugly, kind-hearted man who has been mistreated since childhood, and Gray is a prisoner, a condemned witch and traitor. The way they are thrown together and the way the romance develops slowly over time was really well done. I love slow burn romances, and this story really allowed things to happen organically between Brute and Gray.
Beware readers, this is a VERY angsty read. Brute was knocked down time and time again, and it was painful at times to read about the gentle giant being abused. Also, Gray's story is one that will break your heart. This story is also very light on the sex content, so strictly erotic romance readers, be forewarned.
My only complaint is that, at times, the story's pace dragged a little. There were many quiet, slow moments where nothing in particular happened, and I found myself growing a tad impatient in the middle of the book. However, the magic, the romance, the beautiful and careful way that the story was written, all make up for any faults. This was a book that will stay with me for some time.
**Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review**
I haven't, but I loved Brute's voice. The narrator did a wonderful job of portraying him as well as the other characters. I could differentiate between everyone easily, even once Gray's stutter lessened. The pacing, emotion, and character portrayals were all wonderfully done and I'll keep an eye out for more K.C. Kelly narrated books!
I earned the Binge badge, All Nighter badge, Weekend Warrior badge, and Marathon badge, so... yeah.
This was absolutely wonderful. I'm a sucker for Gentle Giant stories, and Brute was no exception. It was done in a way that portrayed how shitty his life was, without you pitying him. He was so matter of fact about everything, you couldn't feel bad for him, per se, because he wasn't a victim. He lived his life as best he could, and took what came. Until an unfortunate accident changed his circumstances for the better.
The slow burn romance was perfect for their circumstances. Brute didn't want to feel as if he were taking advantage of the prisoner, and of course it took him a while to believe that someone could truly be interested in him. My favorite line from Gray portrays Brute so wonderfully, "You’re a giant because an ordinary man’s body is too small for what you are."
The secondary characters at the palace were great as well, in particular Alice and her brother, and I liked that this story wasn't only about the romance. Brute needed friends too. With all Brute's day-to-day goings on, I could see how someone would feel this was slow. But I just enjoyed listening to Brute's voice (audio-version) and his take on the world.
I'll agree with one friend who wrote that the theme of self-sacrificing and love-conquers-all got a bit heavy handed at the end. But who cares? It was sweet and that was really the only way things could go. Also, I'm a bit of a stickler about Epilogues. I hate when they're added if not necessary, or if they don't serve their purpose. In this case, I would have really liked one a year or so down the line.
So all in all, absolutely beautiful story about giants with giant hearts and blind men who see better than the rest of us.
Fielding and Kelly absolutely knocked it out of the park with this one. The story was heartfelt, the characters were well developed, and the romance felt like a natural and inevitable love story between two individual people as opposed to two stereotypical caricatures who were together for the readers enjoyment: Brute is a truly immersive story. Tears were shed, my heart ached, and I became truly fond of not only the lead characters, but also the supporting cast. If you like to listen to a story that has plot and reason behind the romance, you will thoroughly enjoy Brute.
Kelly's oratory skills are second to none. The sound quality was crisp and clear, every character had their own unique voice, and where a less skilled narrator may have brought a level of ridiculousness or ham-handedness to Brute's voice, he brought a level of gentleness and compassion that I was thrilled to hear. Truly a quality audiobook.
"Wonderful! Moving and Romantic"
Brute is an engaging, moving, and romantic story. This book is read beautifully by K.C. Kelly who really brings the story to life.
This story has a unique premise, and it had me immediately engaged. The characters are well developed and easy to love. The story of Brute's life is very powerful and moving, and his compassion and bravery shine through. Gray is resilient and strong. Their romance is sweet and also heartbreaking at times.
The sex scenes are well written and passionate, but I wouldn't recommend this for someone looking for a highly erotic story.
I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for strong fantasy genre M/M romance.
*I received a free copy of this audiobook to read for Inked Rainbow Reads in exchange for an honest review.*
This story is so well written, it is totally interesting, it holds your attention throughout. It is a story of love, in an era of "haves and have nots", and how love conquers in the end. I loved this story, I recommend it to everyone.
"An absolutely adorable book."
A little slow at times, especially in the middle, but the characters are incredibly sweet and we'll fleshed out. I enjoyed it quite a bit.
"KC Kelly adds just the right touch to amazing book"
Aric “Brute” is a giant of a man living in a place and time where magic is common but uniqueness is often linked with superstition and thus feared. He is orphaned early in life and forced to live with an abusive uncle. He grows and grows until he towers over all the people around him, and his face will never win him any beauty prizes. Forced by fear into a life without education or training, he is goes to work to do the only thing he thinks he can to survive: carry heavy things.
One day the Prince travels through Brute’s town and has an accident. Brute saves him but gets injured in the process. The Prince rewards Brute with a special job and takes him to live with him in the palace.
At the palace Brute is placed in charge of a special prisoner, Gray Leynham. Grey has a terrible and sad story to tell and lives a life full of misery, chained to the walls in the palace, fore-seeing people’s deaths.
Together, Brute and Grey form a fragile alliance that blossoms into something earth shatteringly powerful.
Kim Fielding has written an amazingly beautiful and heart-wrenching story that will have you reaching for your Kleenex with both extreme happiness and sadness.
This has the flavor of an old-time fairy tale, mixed with a smidge of sex – really, just a smidge – to spice things up. It is a deeply touching love story full of hope and forgiveness.
I truly loved this book and look forward to re-reading it time and again.
The audio book:
KC Kelly does a fantastic job of narrating Brute. He does all the voices quite well, and I found myself making comparisons with it and The Princess Bride. (Where the grandpa is reading the his grandson…) The pacing is well done and the stuttering of Grey is just perfect.
I highly recommend the book giving it a 6 out of 5 stars and the audio version a 5 of 5 stars!
"Sweet, sexy, ."
Loved the story, the narration , everything. A story of the giant with the tender heart and a prisoner unjustly treated.
"A Story to Touch Your Heart, Wonderfully Narrated"
This story packs in a lot of emotion right from the beginning. Watching what one man's life has been like since he was a child and experiencing the hate and disregard given to him touched me deeply. Then to see things start to change and watch a tender-hearted, gentle giant meet people who value him is so touching. It's beautiful to watch him befriend and grow to love another man who's also known so much pain, physically and mentally. It never feels overwhelming or maudlin, just emotional to the perfect degree.
This is my second book narrated by K.C. Kelly, and I continue to be impressed by how wonderfully he brings the characters to life, both in distinct voices and measured delivery.
There were several times when I was wiping away tears because the love and devotion of these characters shines through.
Brute is a favorite of mine, but it's something I'd only read in print. Having an audiobook live up to my high opinion of this story is a treat. Kim Fielding tells a wonderful story and K.C. Kelly does justice to it with his narration.
Relistened to this again. KC Kelly is the perfect narrator for this story. I love it to bits. I get carried away with Brute on his life's story, and particularly the love between him and Grey. An absolute favourite of mine.
"excellent, much more than I expected"
if you are told you are stupid and useless and treated like dirt for over 20 years you are bound to believe it.. but just a few small things soon show you otherwise.. young Warrens friendship and Alice's 'love' where wonderful.. of course I could say more but am not into spoilers. all the way to the bitter end Brute could not see the man he truly was..
on first listening, I felt Mr Kelly's voice was slow and emotionless... how wrong I was. his voice was perfect for the character of Brute, and really brought the character to life.
I thoroughly enjoyed this one. even aimlessly riding round in my car just to continue listening, though I think this is a stand alone story, I hope we have not heard the last of the characters, how does Alice fair and young Warren? and of course I would like to think we can revisit the main characters to see where life leads them next.
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