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.
Lost. It happens to the best of us. My husband goodheartedly claims I am navigationally challenged, and I can’t deny it. This is one of the rare times that I was delighted to have lost my way. I couldn’t escape this book. I was pulled back in again and again, completely content to stay. It was the writing, the characters, the story and the narration. I didn’t just love it, I was addicted.
If you haven’t had the pleasure of listening to K.C. Kelly before…you must.
If you enjoy fairytales and haven’t read this book…you must.
If you’ve previously met Arik and Gray in print but have yet to listen…you must.
Now that my demands are out of the way, please allow me to gush.
One of my all-time favorite movies is Robin Hood. I adore the medieval setting but more importantly, I love the unbridled love they share. The romance that evolves between Arik and Gray is one and the same. Brute or as we later learn, Arik, happens to be the most compassionate character I’ve ever met. He was orphaned as a young boy then abused and ridiculed once he became a man. He is a giant and scorned for his physical appearance. His life has been tragically disheartening but he refuses to give up. He has one asset, his strength. If he is to be a laborer, he is going to be the best laborer he can be.
When a Prince visits his small village and has the misfortune of falling over a cliff, Brute doesn’t hesitate to rescue him. In doing so, he is severely injured and loses his hand. This ignites a chain reaction that will forever change his life. He accepts an invitation to the palace and consequently, a new job. He is entrusted with a prisoner and his duties are relatively simple. However the man he is guarding is anything but. Gray is believed to have a gift from the gods and has been convicted of being a traitor. Though he is blind, he has visions that come to him during slumber, glimpses of the future. Sadly, his dreadful dreams possess great power and his freedom holds too high a price. But iron chains can’t stop love and true love is the ultimate key.
To start with, the writing is superb. I was instantly captivated and intrigued with this magical world. The pace was slow and steady. Gray is barely living when Brute takes over his charge. He has suffered greatly but in his mind, it will never be enough. When a stranger shows him a single act of kindness, he suddenly finds himself starving for more. Brute changes his inhalations from those of obligation to desire. With Brute in his life, he wants to live again. How can you not like that?
I can be an emotional reader but it’s infrequent that a story brings more than a tear or two to my eyes. This story? I sat on an airplane with tears streaming down my face. I was almost to the hiccuping state before I remembered where I was, and then brushed off the concerned stares and closed my eyes and drifted away once more. I was blissfully lost with Arik and Gray. Everything else faded and I was right…there. Now that’s a powerful tale. *crush alert* I love Arik. I love how Arik loves Gray. He is a man with almost nothing yet he would willingly sacrifice everything, including his last breath for his beloved. And though it seems impossible, Gray’s love is just as fierce. Now that’s powerful love. Narration that made my heart break, race and melt. Voices so distinct and fitting that I can’t imagine it told any other way. Yeah, that’s a powerful audiobook.
Abuse, torment and raw pain. This is the real deal feels my friends. But it is worth it….gods, is it ever. Gray has a stutter and it can be frustrating at times. This only magnified his maddening frustrations and intensified the awe-striking narration. And it was a teeny bit slow in the middle but honestly, I didn’t mind, as I said, I never wanted to leave.
Everyone. If I had my way, everyone would hear this story. Then it may be possible for me to recruit enough forces, rally the readers to beg for more. A snippet, a morsel or even a dream….of what the future delivered.