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Pride of the Lions: Carnal #1    by John Connell & Jason Bergenstock Amazon.com order for
Pride of the Lions
by John Connell
Order:  USA  Can
Sea Lion, 2012 (2012)
Hardcover
*   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

Carnal: Pride of the Lions is very difficult to classify. It is an illustrated novel, but it is definitely not for young readers. While there is no harsh language or any sex, there is a lot of violence, and since it is illustrated, the reader sees the violence. It is also not illustrated in the manner than other such novels are. While many pages are taken up with John Connell's narrative, the eye is drawn to Jason Bergenstock's illustrations which are on every page sometimes sharing the same space as the text.

The story itself concerns a pride of lions on the verge of starvation. Man has pretty well died out and now Africa is populated by three evolved animals lions, hyenas, and bulls (who are not featured in Pride of the Lions). The lions and hyenas are at war with each other and the hyenas' latest tactic is to wall off the wildebeest migration, effectively cutting off the lions' food supply. Long Eyes, the leader of the pride, sends his son Oron to the hyenas. When Oron does not return, a second search party is sent, but the hyenas may be the least of their worries as unrest is brewing within the pride.

Connell has an interesting story and Bergenstock does a magnificent job of bringing it to life, but Carnal: Pride of the Lions is not for everyone. It is, however, a unique book that older fans of animal fantasies will enjoy.

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