Carnal: Pride of the Lions
By John Connell & Jason Bergenstock
ISBN # 9780983613169

Brought to you by OBS reviewer Albert

*Beware of possible Spoilers*


After the Great War decades earlier between the hyenas and the lions, the victorious and once united lion prides now lay scattered across the land, torn by civil unrest over territory disputes and food shortages. The hyena clans that survived the war were forced deep into the Earth and now live in a massive underground city under the control of a terrible witch. The buffalo race is indifferent to most other species and have walled themselves off from the rest of the kingdoms. Humans have lost their hold on the African territories long ago and live as a simple, nomadic species.

The first book opens with Long Eyes, an old sapphire-eyed lion who is determined to save the lion kingdom and rescue his warrior son, Oron, who has gone missing. Long Eyes believes Oron is the key to uniting the prides. A young lioness tracker named Omi is sent out with the protection of two lion brothers to locate the missing warrior, but what they find is something that may unravel the very foundation of life for all species. (Sea Lion Books)


I had mixed feelings about this book. It had some things that I really enjoyed and other things that I didn’t care for.

First, the good.

The art was fantastic. The story takes place on the African Serengeti. The main protagonists are lions, however not the lions that we know today. Instead, they are lions that have evolved into a sort of caricature of a human. They walk on two legs. They have hands. However, they also have the faces and tails of lions. The art captures both the human and feline sides very well. There’s similar artwork for both hyena and buffalo although the lion is in the majority.

The story is good. As with their body, the lions have a mixture of animal and human motivations. Bravery, jealousy and pride mix with an overwhelming need to survive. Exactly as I’d expect from an anthropomorphic lion.

Next, the not so good.

Perhaps the most annoying part of this book was the way the text was presented. Most of the artwork is dark as you’d expect given the subject matter. So, the text was white on a dark background. It’s not easy to read especially if you’re reading it from a computer screen.

In addition, the story itself was, let’s say familiar. The noble lions being brought to the brink of starvation due to the cruel and conniving hyenas. It almost reads like a dark version of The Lion King.