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.
"Blood Bound offers a little something for everyone: a convincing magical system for urban fantasy fans; for romance readers, a love that time and distance can't break; and a twist-and-turn plot for mystery buffs. Readers looking for a light and fluffy ride should go elsewhere."
- ISBN10 1460330390
- ISBN13 9781460330395
- Publish Date 1 October 2015 (first published 29 September 2015)
- Publish Status Active
- Imprint Mira Books
- Format eBook
- Language English
Menagerie is seriously one of the coolest books I have ever read. It's deep, dark, depressing and utterly wonderful! I don't even know how to really describe it. It's genre-defying! It's like Alternate History Dystopia Magical Realism Urban Fantasy Mythological Circus Fiction. I don't even know. It's so weird. Metzger's Menagerie is unlike any circus you've ever been to. Instead of a Bearded Lady and Lobster Boy, you've got a minotaur, mermaids, and...Delilah. It's her 25th birthday, her boyfriend got her tickets to the Menagerie, and neither expects her to wind up as part of the exhibit.
I was hooked on Menagerie from that first chapter. 25 years ago, Delilah's mother prayed for a quieter, well behaved infant and that's exactly what she got. Meanwhile, thousands of parents of multi-child families killed all of their kids but one. All of those kids were rounded up, and discovered that they weren't human. And weirder still, they were all "born" in March of 1980. Since then, anyone deemed not human or unnatural fauna was stripped of rights to be studied, tortured and gawked at. Delilah was never okay with how these "cryptids" were treated, and now she's considered one of them.
Menagerie is completely twisted and disturbing. The way cryptids are treated is completely awful. The majority of the story is from Delilah's POV, and she's treated no better. Maybe even worse at times, since one of the handlers is trying to "break" her. They want her to perform as a sideshow freak, but she truly has no idea how to unleash her inner beast, whatever it may be. Then we also get the perspective of several other characters, which at times broke my heart. I mean, they're people...but not really, but they do have feelings and personalities, and just aaaaah! I may even have a crush on a Minotaur!
The only thing that kind of bothered me about Menagerie, but not really, was that I wanted to know more about the world before 1986 when all of the craziness went down. It seems like cryptids were accepted parts of society back then. The humanoid ones lived among people, and the animal-like ones lived free. But is that really what it was like? There's not much about it. That's just what I was able to put together with little bits of information scattered throughout, which is why I included Alternate History in my long genre classification. I also wondered how these things came to be: did they just appear one day (like those changeling kids) or were they always there? Either way, this world is fascinating and I need to know more!
Menagerie was all kinds of fabulous! Just about every kind of mythical creature is on display, including whatever the heck Delilah is. It is revealed, but I won't tell you what. It's very cool! And while most of the book is dark, there is light at the end of the tunnel! I totally think this could have worked as a standalone, but I desperately want more!
Read more of my reviews at Pinkindle Reads & Reviews.
My review and an extended sample of the audiobook are posted at Hotlistens.com.
I went into this book knowing as little as possible about this book. I had heard around about how dark the book was. I had even seen the author tweet that people were writing DNF finish reviews because the book was so dark. This only got me more excited to read (or in this case listen) to the book. I’m a big fan of dark stories mixed in with my humor and snarky stories. I like the variety. I could see where people who are fans of Ms. Vincent’s YA books might shy away from this book. It is dark. However, I read her Unbound series, which was a darker paranormal mafia series, so I knew she could write darker stories. She really took it up a notch with this one.
The main character in this book is Deliah. She was raised with a human family. She got all the comforts of human living, schools, food, shelter, etc. Next thing she knows, she is accused of being a Cryptid. She is taken into custody and sold to Metzger’s Menagerie. A Cryptid is anything that is not fully human or any animal that is not found in nature. For example, a tigon, is a cross between a lion and tiger, which shouldn’t be found in nature, is possible, so is not a Cryptid. An animal like a centaur, cross between a human and horse, not possible in nature, so therefore a Cryptid. There are also Cryptids that looks just like humans, oracles, succubi and shifters when in human form.
Several years ago, in the 1980’s there was the “reaping”. Cryptids attacked and killed many humans. So now, humans see nothing wrong with keeping them in cages and treating them as lesser beings. They are chained, drugged and demeaned constantly. They aren’t fed as they should be. Anything to keep their will down. There is a lot of torture and neglect that goes on. This is the part that many may have a hard time reading.
This book will evoke a lot of emotions. It will make you think about how people have treated other people throughout history, and even how animals have been treated. I found myself really being pulled into this story and wanting to know more about this world. There isn’t a ton of action, but a lot of worldbuilding and character-building. I wouldn’t say that there is a cliffhanger ending, but it does leave you wanting more with the ending.
When I first requested this book on audio, I didn’t recognize the narrator’s name. Once I started listening, I recognized her voice. I looked her up. She narrated Rachel Vincent’s Unbound Series (the paranormal mafia series I mentioned above), which I enjoyed on audio. She does a great job with the different voices and tones. Such a dark story needs a special kind of narrator and Gabra Zackman really nails.
Despite what some may call a "slow" beginning, I was drawn in immediately. Vincent's writing is rich and immersive. I was drawn in immediately and continued the journey every chance I had.
That is what a good book does to a person.
Characters are varied and rich. You can see, smell, and touch the Menagerie. The only bad part about this book is that I will have to wait a year longer for its sequel.
On the surface, Menagerie is the story of creatures that are not completely human, living in a sort of traveling zoo. However, if we scratch even lightly, right underneath that surface is a tale about morals, ethics, respect and justice.
This and all my other reviews are originally posted on my blog (un)Conventional Bookviews