The chef that's actually a torturer seemed interesting at the start, but it feels like the author didn't put in enough development for me to become invested in him. Same with those cat children, interesting premise, but it fails to keep me hooked because the author didn't seem to intend to develop them very much.
First few chapters and the ML immediately falls in love with the MC after MC treats him a little better. The problem is this transition was way too sudden, and the fact that the POV briefly shifts to the ML to tell us he fell in love with the MC is terrible. The author shouldn't make him tell outright when the ML fell for MC (Show, don't tell damn it!), plus his 180 change in attitude towards suddenly adoring the makes me roll my eyes.
The characters, are rather flat, as the story barely seems to expand on their backstory other than having the MC summarize what they are in the novel. ML's personality change suddenly made his main motive to be thirsty for the MC all throughout the novel. The author annoyingly shows us this everytime by linking conversations to the MC, like:
MC: ML you like me right
MC: what if I get bullied
ML: *makes a displeased look*
Why ask him that? What's the point of that, we already established he's already infatuated with him.
Now that might be better if it wasn't in the first 10 chapters, where I don't give a f*ck about the characters at the moment. Scum Villain did a better job by not placing in too much focus on the ML specifically in the early chapters, nor being too explicit on how he felt towards the MC.
It's boring to see them interact.
MC tries to save his best friend from being executed, and he actually succeeds, but then best friend KILLS HIMSELF in order to make MC forget about him and live freely...? Only to have MC breakdown and get captured at his death. And then the king and queen have him live freely because he's their long lost son. What was the point of this? How he dies was so pointless and stupid it immediately drew me out of the immersion of the story.
Also, MC's love interest surrenders herself immediately because he left his job as a butler. And the reasoning for that is it's fate for her to do it, and the only reason why she hadn't done it before was because the MC was at her side. Okay, I get it's her fate to fall from nobility, but does she have to break down immediately and suddenly not care about anything else? I feel like her downfall should have more natural progression of her deterioration, but nope, after he leaves she immediately self-destructs.
Oof, this is pretty grim. There is a lot triggering things. The story involves the MC being kidnapped, r*ped and abused by the male lead. It doesn't dare try to romanticize this - the situations the MC goes through because of his 'boyfriend' are horrific, and utterly saddening. There are some cute moments around them but it's quite clear even in those that the male lead has incredibly low empathy and that the majority of the time he disregards the MC's feelings. It's very tragic, as all the of the cast has some sort of trauma with depth as their backstory, MC included. Do not expect a happy ending for this novel, the best possible scenario where the MC gets a happy ending is when he breaths his last breath.
Do not treat this as some random garbage yaoi novel that's only written to fetisize the situation. It's much more than that.