September 29th, 2015
Hardcover and Digital
Amazon, library and a local book retailer
When Delilah Marlow visits a famous traveling carnival, Metzger’s Menagerie, she is an ordinary woman in a not-quite-ordinary world. But under the macabre circus black-top, she discovers a fierce, sharp-clawed creature lurking just beneath her human veneer. Captured and put on exhibition, Delilah in her black swan burlesque costume is stripped of her worldly possessions, including her own name, as she’s forced to “perform” in town after town.
But there is breathtaking beauty behind the seamy and grotesque reality of the carnival. Gallagher, her handler, is as kind as he is cryptic and strong. The other “attractions”—mermaids, minotaurs, gryphons and kelpies—are strange, yes, but they share a bond forged by the brutal realities of captivity. And as Delilah struggles for her freedom, and for her fellow menagerie, she’ll discover a strength and a purpose she never knew existed.
My love for Menagerie runs deep. So deep that when I realized (after reading) it’s the first in a series, I was thrilled. I need more!
The world building is done gradually, subtly, in ways that don’t detract at all from the marvelous pacing of the main story. And by the end, there were still questions left unanswered, in the primary story as well as the world building backstory.
This book is very driven by the plight of the main character, who uses her anger at injustice as fuel, beyond the point of reason. That sounds very summer-blockbuster-movie-character-shallow, but Rachel Vincent makes it work in a compelling way. I never felt connected to Delilah, but I definitely was rooting for her. She’s a wonderful example of a truly strong female character, and a great role model.
Plus, the entire Gallagher story made me cheer. Showcasing strong characters whose anger and violence isn’t considered uncouth, and doing so WITHOUT the need for a romance? Brilliant.
I highly recommend this one to anyone who enjoys mythology, even if you’re not typically an urban fantasy fan. Also to anyone who wants a good female main character, anyone who feels strongly about justice and morality, and those who like a story that ends on hope.
I absolutely loved Menagerie. From the moment I started the book to the second I finished, I was hooked, and I’ve recommended this book to so many people in my life over the last few months.
The tale was not only beautifully told and intriguing, but it managed to give off so much vivid imagery so you could just imagine what each fantastical creature or person looked like. The author definitely has a way with words, and she was able to not only tell this story that is wildly imaginative, but portray what seems to be an underlying comparison to the way we treat people in our society today-but without every actually pointing that out. I think I mostly noticed because I get pretty involved in some social justice issues, and the treatment of the characters who were different just seems to lay alongside with some of our racial and societal tensions today.
She also managed to tell this entire story, and get you very involved in the characters lives and emotions, without the need for too much romance. Even though I fekt like there may have been a romantic undertone brewing between a couple of characters, she didn’t need to fill the story with sex and romance to show it off. That is some talented writing, and I can’t wait to follow the other books.
Link Up Your Review