For some reason, I expected more from this story. Maybe I was just drawn in by the cover art. In any case, the story didn't satisfy me. It wasn't a particularly new concept, and ended just as one would expect. The human protagonist changes very little, and to be frank, I never got very interested in him. A number of resonances and metaphors are set up, but I found I just didn't much care.
I did like the concept - friendship with a lioness despite outside pressures - but there wasn't much more there. I was disappointed that the story didn't really go anywhere. With some minor exceptions, Heerling does capture the feeling of East Africa with some accuracy, which was nice.
The language somewhat ponderous, especially in the prologue. Even within those few pages, I wondered whether I'd make it through the book, and was pleased to find it quite short. The prose improved with the main story, but never reached the level of fluidity that would have allowed me to ignore it completely.
All in all, moderately interesting, but never really engaging story.