Reading Level: Adult
Length: 432 pages
Release Date: September 27, 2016
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Menagerie series
Source: Borrowed from Library
Rating: 4/5 stars
“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.”
Previously I had read the first book in Vincent’s Shifters series and thought it was okay but not great. I was drawn to the beautiful cover and the interesting premise of this book. This ended up being a good book. I thought the beginning was spectacular and the end was okay. The world-building here is really interesting, as are some of the characters.
This book feels very much like an urban fantasy read; however it is set in a post-apocalyptic type of world featuring a variety of mythological and fey creatures called cryptids.
The big mystery throughout the first half of this book is the mystery behind what Delilah actually is. This was intriguing and the answer was interesting. This book is very focused on world-building; we are slowly given tidbits about this intriguing alternate world where something called the Reaping decimated a large portion of the population. The result was that cryptids were exposed and their rights were stripped.
I enjoyed all the crazy cryptids/monsters that we meet and the bond that these monsters formed because of their shared imprisonment in the Menagerie.
The book switches POV a lot and this somewhat impedes the reader’s ability to actually get to know and engage with all these characters. The two main characters that are really flushed out are Delilah and her caretaker Gallagher. They were both well done and intriguing characters.
I enjoyed all the mystery and how you had to puzzle together this alternate world in the beginning of the book. For some reason the end of the book fell a bit flat for me; I am not really sure why. I guess it felt a bit contrived and was very predictable…maybe that’s why it didn’t hold my interest as well as the beginning of the book.
Overall this was a creative and interesting read. I enjoyed the world-building and some of the characters. I also really enjoyed all the crazy cryptid monsters we meet. I think the multiple POVs weighed the story down a bit and prevented the reader from really engaging with the characters. I would recommend to those who enjoy urban fantasy style reads set in a post-apocalyptic world.
This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
– You Read How Many Books? Reading Challenge
– New Release Challenge
– Flights of Fantasy Reading Challenge
– Pick Your Genre (Steampunk) Reading Challenge