I've got a adult fantasy book review for you today. It's been awhile since I've read Rachel Vincent's writing and this was a treat. The story is utterly unique and creative. This it the first in her new fantasy series, Menagerie.
Release Date: September 29, 2015
Pages: Hardcover, 432 pages
Source: ebook courtesy of the Publisher via Netgalley
Genre: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
Review Date: November 9, 2015
Rating: 4 bookmarks
Synopsis: 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.
Disclaimer: This ebook edition of this book was given to me courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Throughout the book we are given snippets via media outlets reporting about the Reaping and the events following. During the Reaping, human unaware parents killed a million children in 1986. After this tragic event the government decided to act against the cryptids and they lost their rights. They are no longer treated equally and don't have rights as humans so they are all now found in menageries or private collections, and all of them are kept as entertainment or pets.
I love a strong heroine and Delilah is just that. She is not only strong willed, but near unbreakable. She's put through hell after being captured and treated no better than an animal. Vincent's story doesn't shy away from some disturbing behavior by the handlers that run the exhibits of the menagerie. Torture, starvation, rape, bribes, etc. These are bad people and Delilah is thrown right into the middle of it. She's left with a handler, Gallagher, to sort out what type of creature she is. It's amazing when we find out exactly what Delilah is and how it changes everything.
I liked so many of these characters in addition to Delilah. There's a pretty large cast of characters and they all add something important to the story. It took a while to finally figure out Gallagher's roll in all of this, but now that it's been revealed (don't worry- I won't spoil it for you), I'm looking forward to seeing what develops in the next book. I know may of you like a little romance with your fantasy, but I've got to say there wasn't any room for that in this book and I can see why. I actually liked that this story was void of any relationships. It would have been out of place and awkward to throw in a possible relationship in with all of the horrible things that were going on. Not to say there won't be any possible romance in the second installment. We'll have to wait to see.
This book is a fast read and it's something that'll definitely keep you wanting to know what will happen next. If you're looking to read something original and a little dark, this is the book for you. This story pulled me in from the moment I finished the first page. Have you read Menagerie? If so, please tell me what you thought of it. If you haven't, be sure to add this one onto your "to be read" pile!