imageTitle: Brute
Author: Kim Fielding
Cover Artist: Paul Richmond
Publisher: Dreamspinner
Buy Link: Buy Link Brute
Genre: M/M Fantasy
Length: 270 pages
Rating: 4 out of 5 rating stars

A Guest Review by Raine

Summary Review: A great main character and well written world building wasn’t quite enough for me to love this book; my opinion is probably in the minority here, as I think this book would really appeal to most fairy tale fantasy fans.

Blurb: 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.


I have a suspicious feeling that this book is likely to be very much a five star read for many readers. Perhaps I should just sign off here saying….if it looks like a winner it is a winner!

I really enjoyed meeting Aric, a thoughtful but physically unprepossessing gentle giant of a man known as Brute by the less discerning people of his vibrant but faux fantasy feudal world. The background to this fable like story is rich in slowly built details of peasants, hovels, princes, castles, all hierarchically tumbling over themselves in atmosphere and sensory images. His painful story as the outsider and underdog grabs the attention and his personal journey is engaging. I am overdoing the build up to the ‘ but ‘, because it simply comes down to me not loving this book and I guess think I should have. Indeed I really like Kim Fielding’s writing.

Consequently I probably overspent my time trying to work out why this quality book just didn’t completely rock my world. Primarily, I think it is partly because nothing really surprised me about the main relationship. I also found Gray, a man in the iron mask type prisoner, ok sans mask here, but abused and hated, who should have been a figure of pity and interest, less than thrilling as a character. He just felt off balance to me. I thought the punishment for his absurdly self confessed crime overdone and his reaction to it annoyed me and then made me feel guilty because I was such an unsympathetic woman. There was also a blunt inevitability of him getting together with Aric, that dulled what should have been exciting.

I found Prince Aldfrid, after a hopeful start in the early scenes with Aric which I really liked, somewhat wet. In fact that in part sums up my slight issue with the book, I was very engaged in the beginning but somewhere along the way my mind started wandering off world.

There is much about this book which works, it is well written, colourful and very appealing as a fantasy journey of self improvement and romance for the essentially anti Shrek that is Aric. His compassion and curiosity were compelling, the scene when he searched for the dying peasant and gave away his warm clothes to the cold and destitute has a grim fairy tale quality about it. It reminded me of stories like the The Little Match Girl.

If you like fantasy with that Hans Christian Andersen, ‘ fantastic tales ‘ essence this story will be very pleasing. Meanwhile, for me as a complete work I liked it but didn’t love it. I think it will appeal much more to less cantankerous readers.


  • Hi Raine,

    as you said, some might like this book—I was one of them. Loved it to pieces. That said, I wasn’t unawares of its flaws; I agree with you for the most part. And yet…I loved the subtle fantasy world of this story. No in-your face dragons, pointed eared elves or three-legged whatchamachallits. And I loved the concept, the beauty-and-the-beast-trope, the love-is-blind principle, and the sheer goodness of Brute. That’s a type of character I can’t get enough of, the innocent warrior. So, I could forgive this book’s shortcomings and just let myself get carried away with it.

    Too bad this didn’t happen for you; I cross my fingers for you to find a book you can “click” with soon!

    • Yes it was quite a strange experience as I could admire this book, but not be seduced by it. 😕

      Good Bones was a book that seduced me completely.

      Very pleased Brute was a special book for you though Feliz.

      Oh yes I’ll keep searching for my Eldorado of books…it’s all about the journey right? 🙄

      • Yes it was quite a strange experience as I could admire this book, but not be seduced by it.

        Oh, I know that feeling so well! It is an odd one. And a great review, Raine! 😀

        I’m on the fence with this book… which means I probably won’t read it, at least not for quite a while. My TBR is staggering, and I’ve been reading so little lately. 😥

        • Hi jeayci,

          Yes this was a tricky review for me, not quite had such a strong feeling of two hats before.

          You and Sirius always with the TBR lists huh! I have 2 books to read and I’m proud of them…..never mind that Sirius actually sent one of those….. 😀

          Hope you can get back to the addiction soon.

  • Sometimes a book just doesn’t work for a particular reader Raine so don’t sweat it if this doesn’t cut it for you. It happens to me lots of times. Right now I’m reading 4 books trying to find one that engages my attention.

    The review was well written and indicated what you felt was wrong with the book. That’s a plus in my book. 😀

    • Thanks Wave,

      I checked out the reviews after I’d written mine, and yes I was right about the praise for the book. It just didn’t work enough for me to be able to cheer for it from a personal point of view.

      Hope you hit on pure gold with a book soon. I have similar problems. Though I’m going to be working my way through everyone’s recommendations so things should improve. 😀

  • You know it is funny – I have heard a number of glowing recommendations for this book and from friends with close enough tastes to mine but something stopped me from pressing that buy button . Now I know I subconsciously waited for your review 😉 and if I jump into it I will know possible shortcomings 🙂

    • I think you will probably enjoy it more than I did Sirius, I can’t wait for your verdict cos I predict it will be a success for you…..but I ‘m not betting my house on it in case I need to mortgage it to finance this book addiction I’ve got going! 😀

  • Thanks, Raine! I am such a fan of yours. I hope you love doing this because I want you do write reviews for a loooong time. 😎

    I read all your Fav book from 2012. :reading1: They were fav experiences for me also. I look forward to the great rides you find this year. So I am wishing you a healthy, happy and reading filled 2013!! :bananadancer:

    • Thank you so much Reggie.

      I just wish I could choose the good books like Sammy….did you see those 5 stars for last month. Ok I am going book push here, have you read Rose Christo ‘s Gives Light yet, cos that is the best thing I read last year and I want to share this book with every one!

      Have a great and happy 2013.

  • I enjoyed the book for the most part, but I also had a few niggles with it. Though it was obvious the two would end up together, for a lot of the book, I really couldn’t see the developing relationship. Brute spent more of his time away from the prisoner (with other secondary characters) than with the prisoner for a large chunk of the book, it seemed like to me. So other than his feeling pity/sympathy for the prisoner’s plight (which arguably caused him to ‘fall in love’ with the prisoner), it was hard to see the slow buildup, at least in my opinion. It was more understandable from Gray’s point of view for him to fall in love with the giant, since Brute was the first one to show him any compassion and respect in many, many years.

    I’ll try to be vague so not to risk of being spoilerish, but I believe it would have made more sense for Brute to spend enourmous amounts of time with Gray, keeping him occupied and away from boredom and despair – given Gray’s extremely limited world (too extreme I thought, which made me wish THAT additional self-imposed disability had not be included in the story). It might have been even more interesting – if THAT particular disablity wasn’t there – to add in the plot point of Brute worrying that beautiful Gray would no longer want him once he saw Brute after he was ‘cured’ since Gray would have other options (a potential return to vanity for Gray, so to speak).

    I also thought there was a possible, but dropped plot with the Prince and the advisor – regarding the advisor purposely allowing things he shouldn’t have out of jealousy (things not necessarily authorized or known by the King), but that wasn’t really explored any further than the suggestion of it, it seemed. All was forgiven a bit too easily in the end (from Gray and Brute’s side) given the amount of time the punishment went on.

    • Yes I agree with what you say, in particular about the self infliction which really annoyed me, also because at the beginning it affected the possible worth of Gray’s feelings for Aric.

      Oh and Jb I’m pleased you thought the punishment was too long as well.

      However it sounds like you got a lot of good thinking about it from the book as well as mostly enjoying it, so probably a win for you. 😀

    • Hey Helena,
      I ‘m really pleased you enjoyed it, Kim Fielding is a very talented writer and does good work.

      I think my slight disengagement is a case of ‘ it’s not you it’s me. ‘ sad:


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