From New York Times bestselling author Rachel Vincent comes a richly imagined, provocative new series set in the dark mythology of the Menagerie… 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. Renowned author Rachel Vincent weaves an intoxicating blend of carnival magic and startling humanity in this intricately woven and powerful tale.
What a completely unique and very interesting read! I have to admit I wasn't quite sure what I was going to get when I read the blurb as it sounded nothing like what the author had done before, or really my normal genre reading preferences. But I'm so glad I took the chance as once I started reading MENAGERIE, I simply couldn't put it down. It was dark and gritty and oh so horrifying. I'm having a hard time putting my thoughts about this book into words, rather than just feelings like horror, outrage, etc, but imaginative would probably be the best description. This book made me feel so much it truly was impressive, from the creepy, to the terrible, to the heart-warming AND heart-breaking moments, I was an utter wreck by the time I finished.
That being said, as much as I enjoyed MENAGERIE, there were a few things that kept me from giving it a full five stars. At times the violence was too much. It's not that I mind violence in books, quite the contrary, but I do prefer a bit more positive or hope to balance things out. Aside from Delilah's stellar strength, for most of the book I didn't feel any hope or goodness, and it was just a bit oppressive. I also wish the ending and the interesting side of a certain character that I won't mention to avoid spoilers, would have been developed a bit more. Both the ending and that character's "story" and the repercussions felt incredibly rushed, and I just wish those parts had been expanded more.
All in all, this book is a must read for any Urban Fantasy, Fantasy, Thriller, and/or Suspense lover. From the moment you start this book you'll be on the edge of your seat biting your nails in anticipation for what's going to happen next.