Title: The Downs
Author: Kim Fielding Narrator: K.C. Kelly
Publisher: Phyllis Gerstenfeld
Release Date: 09-30-2016
Genre(s): Fantasy, Dystopian
Length: 3 hours and 37 mins
Heat Level: 2 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
As the son of a wealthy man, Enitan Javed has spent his life frivolously – drinking, fighting, and making love. But after his father dies, Enitan is unjustly accused of murdering him and is given the harshest sentence possible. Judged irredeemable, he is banished to the Downs. As even young children know, nothing lives in the Downs except demons who delight in torturing the condemned. Brutalized by the men who transport him to his fate, Enitan has nothing left but his thirst for vengeance.
His plummet to the Downs nearly kills him, and Enitan finds himself battered and helpless in a frightening, mysterious land. But many surprises await him there, including a strange man named Rig. And the realization that the demons he must face aren’t at all the ones he expected.
This story was originally written as a part of the Goodreads M/M Romance Group’s “Love is an Open Road” event. Group members were asked to write a story prompt inspired by a photo of their choice. Authors of the group selected a photo and prompt that spoke to them and wrote a short story.
The story is still available for free on Goodreads.
“He stood, head bowed, body tense, waiting. No matter what happened next, his life would never be the same…”
A naked man stands with his back to the viewer, a plain white floor beneath his feet. Ahead of him, a pair of large black doors are ajar, revealing a glimpse of bright light. The man’s shoulders are slightly hunched and his head is bowed; he appears hesitant to face whatever fate awaits him through the doors.
The magical combination of Kim Fielding’s lovely prose and K.C. Kelly’s superb narration never fails to entertain. I listened and followed the text at the same time because I just love Kim’s writing. This certainly is an outstanding story. Her imagination creates wonderful new worlds with flawed yet beautiful characters.
K.C. Kelly’s delivery perfectly suits this tale, its steady pace, and the gradual revelation of the fantasy world. He brings the story and characters to life, imparting the right emotions and tone throughout.
I particularly enjoyed this fantasy story and the excellent world building. It’s similar but on a smaller scale to Brute. There’s a clear contrast between Enitan’s luxurious life in the city and the basic and sometimes frighteningly dangerous life in The Downs, with its demons, caustic fog, and venomous creatures. For all its harshness, the people who inhabit the Downs appear to be unselfish and more accepting of others. They live in a world where same sex relations are the norm.
The two main characters come across as believable and real. They are both physically and emotionally imperfect, but together they slowly find love and healing in each other. It’s not instant and that’s what I love about Kim’s stories. She gives them time to get to know each other and build a friendship first.
Enitan is the proverbial rich kid who likes to fight and fuck. He is wronged by his sister and judged as unredeemable. He hankers after revenge.
Like Brute, Rig is big and lumbering and disfigured. Both Rig and Brute have a heart of gold and consider others before themselves. Rig’s backstory is heart-wrenchingly sad and when his future with Enitan is in doubt I could see him being broken all over again.
This is a story of love and hate, revenge and redemption, and of finding peace and happiness with your lot in life and with the person you love. A story of second chances and discovering what’s important in life.
“I don’t want to die. But if I have a choice between a few minutes with you or an eternity without, well … I choose you … I will always choose you.”
A slow and steady yet beautifully sweet romance set in an imaginary world. Highly recommended.