Release Date: September 29, 2015
Publisher: Harlequin Mira
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: Dark Urban Fantasy
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 if mythical creatures were real and they're on display in a zoo or a circus? What if their existence meant that millions of children died and/or were taken away from their parents so they can live? What if the person you grew up with, your lover, best friend, or relative is of the otherworldly lot, would you still love them? Or would you condemn them with disgust and hatred?
This is basically the plot of MENAGERIE, Rachel Vincent's fantasy novel, slightly dystopic, can be metaphorical, extremely captivating. The novel is told in various perspectives from characters inside, outside, and Delilah, the main character who all her life believed she was human up until she visited the MENAGERIE and witnessed the atrocities done to the attractions inside. The experience unleashed her other form and it was pretty gruesome after that. What Delilah exactly is, I'll leave it to you to discover. Just know that you'll be pumping your fist in the air with glee and anticipation.
Born of blood and wrath!
Anomalies aside, what I found utterly disturbing about MENAGERIE is how the others were treated. It's completely horrific and a full demonstration of how man be viciously evil when faced with someone and something they don't understand. I understand the concept of survival, annihilation to save your species or race. But to go beyond that and subject your threats to despicable torture is beyond evil IMO.
Perhaps the most striking quality of MENAGERIE is how human the story is. Juxtaposed with the monstrous creatures is how much better they are than the humans who are holding them captive. The moral of the story being ones form or appearance doesn't dictate ones character. Are you starting to get the metaphor here? MENAGERIE is striking on two counts: as a fantasy it's utterly compelling, you'll be rapt in attention as soon as you crack the book open; at the same time, it feels a lot like a fable, a cautionary tale tailored to remind us that the real monsters are not those who have deformities or proclivities that are not the same as ours. The real monsters are those who fail to respect the existence of others simply because they don't meet the status quo.
Violent, dark, and provoking series debut, MENAGERIE will stir all sorts of feelings from you and I can almost guarantee RVincent will leave you with lingering thoughts long after you've finished the novel.