Not sure how to rate this one
It is a very rare occurrence that I have such a powerful negative reaction to one of the MC’s within a couple of chapters.
Hugh is a premier lion who at over 100 years old has too much power to exist without a siphon lion. For a siphon to carry the premier’s power he must remain close to the premier at all times. Siphons are so rare that only 1 in 100 premiers ever get one, so you would think that they would be a highly valued and regarded member of the pride. Not in this pride.
When we first meet Hugh he is having an orgy with 4 other members of his pride, when all of a sudden he starts feeling over full from all of his power. Realising that something has happened to his siphon of 10 years, the other members of the orgy investigate to find that the siphon has tried to hang himself.
Hugh’s first reaction to this is “why did you try and kill me and destroy the pride” (I find destroying the pride laughable, but I will come back to that later). Yeap the big JERK only wonders about himself. Not once did he wonder, what had made the siphon want to kill himself? What could have been so bad in his life that that was the only option? Nope it was all about him and his precious pride. Now that Hugh’s life is in danger, from the one actually keeping him alive, Hugh actually starts talking to the siphon and more information comes out. Now these guys have been together for 10 years, in that 10 years Hugh has NEVER spoken to the Siphon, in fact he doesn’t even know that the Siphon doesn’t have a name. At 26 years old he has never been named and is always referred to as “The Siphon”. Now Hugh doesn’t think this is a big deal as he is the Siphon so why does he need a name and quickly throws out a name for him. Here we have Johnnie. At this point Hugh still can’t understand why Johnnie has tried to kill himself countless times and is horrified to hear that he has tried for nearly all of their 10 years together.
See the part I find appalling is that not only Hugh has never spoken to Johnnie, not one member of the 1000 plus (actually I think it was closer to 2000) pride has ever acknowledged or spoken to the siphon in 10 years. Here is Johnnie, the one person keeping their Premier alive, who should be the most valued member of their pride and he is worse than mud on their boots, he is invisible to everyone. No wonder Johnnie did what he did, I’d want to escape an eternity of being nothing to these people as well. There is a lot of talk during this book that a lion can’t live without a pride. This is hilarious because Johnnie has been living his entire life without a pride. He may be classified loosely as part of the pride but he was never treated as a member of this pride.
Johnnie is such a sweet character. Born as a siphon he never had a chance. He was always going to be a tool, for his home pride and the Premier who he would eventually end up with. I found it devastating that in 10 years not one person had ever acknowledged him or spoken to him. He escaped into books. He knew instinctively what his relationship was meant to be with the Premier, in fact he was looking forward to being with the Premier and when that was denied to him, he went into a deep depression that no one was aware of. Once he was out of that depression we started seeing things from his POV. He general happiness at Hugh actually seeing him was beautiful and yet painful.
Johnnie should have been the most important member of the pride to Hugh, and when he finally pulls his head out of his own butt, he finally starts to realise this, but it was too little too late for me, the damage had already been done in the first few chapters. Hugh never really had to grovel, he apologised to Johnnie, but never really had to go out of his way to make things better, all he did was take notice and talk to Johnnie.
The pride was never taken to account either for their treatment of Johnnie. The general reason for this was that Hugh being Premier had to be considered by the rest of the Pride as flawless and couldn’t be seen as being either unsure or making mistakes. This is a CROCK, everyone in that pride should have been taken to task for their treatment of Johnnie. Yes Hugh was to blame but so was everyone else who ignored him
I’ve given this one 2.5 stars, because the author should get credit for making me feel so passionately about Johnnie’s treatment that I hated Hugh and the pride from the first 4 chapters. Unfortunately the author did such a good job that he never recovered in my eyes.