From the blurb:
A Premier lion shifter, Hugh Landry dedicates his life to leading the Berk pride with strength and confidence. Hundreds of people depend on Hugh for safety, success, and happiness. And at over a century old, with more power than can be contained in one body, Hugh relies on a Siphon lion shifter to carry his excess force.
When the Siphon endangers himself and therefore the pride, Hugh must pay attention to the man who has been his silent shadow for a decade. What he learns surprises him, but what he feels astounds him even more.
Two lions, each born to serve, rely on one another to survive. After years by each other’s side, they’ll finally realize the depth of their potential, the joy in their passion, and a connection their kind has never known.
Many, many months ago I promised myself that the next time I less-than-favorably reviewed a book by one of my favorite authors I wouldn't sound so damn apologetic about it.
But I knew I was lying.
Apologizing for your opinion doesn't do jack for anyone but I don't think I can help it--I've got a real guilt-complex thing going on here. Mainly about three things: my appallingly bad grammar, everything ever ever and the fact that there doesn't seem to be a writer in existence I can't find fault with. (Or with which I can’t find fault. Is that right? Fuck it.)
Even Jane Austen. I love her more than I love my dog (maybe) but you know what, Jane? I FUCKING HATE MANSFIELD PARK. I hate it. I just want to karate kick Fanny Whatsherbutt in the kisser and then strongly suggest she take her thumb out of her ass.
See? Now I feel guilty and I'm talking about a book by a dead chick. I mean, I'm sure Jane was trying her best. Can't win 'em all…yada, yada, yada.
Okay, the way I'm talking you'd expect I also hated Cardeno's Johnnie. Which I didn't. I don't. I like Hugh and Johnnie and their romance. I like the whole lion shifter pride thing and the idea of Premiers and their Siphons--it actually put me in mind of the daemons in Pullman's His Dark Materials and whenever that happens I consider it to be a very good thing. (Unfortunately, instead of being treated like a treasure, Johnnie spends his first 26 years treated like a briefcase. A cell phone gets more attention than that guy.)
The problem is that the world-building doesn't feel so much like world-building as it does like repetitive info dumping. For instance:
Generally, after eating they all ended up fucking in one of the common areas. Sex was a tried and true method of bonding as well as a good way for a Premier to release his high levels of semen, so it was a regular part of Hugh's visits with his pride members. [loc 681]So Hugh is a super powerful Premier (lion shifter alpha) and lions like to fuck. A lot. I got it. This information is very important to the plot, but I got tired of hearing it, and other info about the lion shifter world, over and over and over again. I'm capable of retaining that type of info the first time I read it. It bored me so I kept putting the book down in favor of yet another fanfic--and this is Cardeno C., people! That [almost] NEVER happens. Usually once I start one of their books not even a Nutella crepe could drag my attention away.
Group sex was very frequent, particularly among lions who lived together, so when Hugh was invited to share a meal with lions in a Berk den, he was always welcome to join them for fucking late into the night. [loc 1109]
A Premier Pride, especially one led by a Premier as experienced and powerful as Hugh, often had over a thousand adult lions and, other than females who were interested in getting pregnant, those adults fucked one another with the same casualness and ease as a simple conversation or a handshake. [loc 2738]
[The next paragraph contains spoilers. Please highlight the blank space if you'd like to see them.]
I was also seriously bummed that there was no mpreg. I felt like there was a lot of foreshadowing but nothing every came of it. Apparently the male lion shifter's penis only develops spikes (yikes!) with females because they can procreate. However when Hugh is, um, making the sweet, sweet love with Johnnie the former briefcase, he develops spikes. Maybe this is supposed to mean they're "true mates" or whatever, but I read it as a possibility for a male pregnancy. I was positive Johnnie was going to make a blushing announcement at the end of the book. It's not my favorite trope, but I don't think CC has ever had that in any of their books and I was seriously excited to read their version of it. Alas, no. Maybe in the next book?
[End of spoilers.]
So, basically [cue guilty face], it's a 2 star read for me. However, now that Greg Tremblay has done the audio version I'm really interested in listening to it. I might actually enjoy Mansfield Park if he read it to me.
**The ARC was provided by the author 800 years ago in exchange for an honest review.**
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