Author: Rachel Vincent
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Menagerie, book one
Star Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars
I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.
This is the second book I've read by Vincent--my first was My Soul To Take, her young adult debut about the dark, shadowy world of banshees. This book, Menagerie, is in much the same vein--it is set in an alternate United States, in which supernaturals, called 'cryptids', are bought and sold much like animals, used as entertainment in a world that fears them. I really enjoyed the premise of this novel, it was dark and frightening and often times all too real. (More than once, I had to set down the novel and walk away to keep from crying and or screaming.)
The main character, Delilah, has everything she loves and cares about taken away from her in one night, when she goes to the menagerie and ends up accidentally killing a carny. She is then bought by the establishment as an exhibit, stripped of even her most basic human rights, and from the inside, she discovers that the power lurking just below the surface may have the power to change her world.
Honestly, I have mixed feelings about this novel. I loved some things, and didn't like others. (I mean, just look at that beautiful cover!) For example: As I said previously, I loved the premise of this novel--it was dark, beautiful, and frightening, as per Vincent's signature. I also really enjoyed the book's format, from multiple character's points of view. But the world-building was really vague to me and fell short; I wish the author had included more information about how the world became the way it did, instead of small, vague snippets just before each chapter.
But overall, this book was highly enjoyable: I loved most all the characters I met, especially Delilah and Gallagher, and to be honest, this book kind of reminded me of Sarah Gruen's Water for Elephants with a dark, gritty urban fantasy spin. The pacing was breakneck, the characters all highly relatable and enjoyable, and I loved the premise. Despite the vague world-building, this book is probably one of my favorite books of the year--absolutely fantastic! The bottom line: The hard-hitting, gritty debut in a brand new series from a household name in fantasy, Menagerie is absolutely fantastic, if you can get past the vague world-building. Next on deck: Unforgiven by Lauren Kate!