Former English teacher and YA goddess Rachel Vincent is back with a new story and man is it compelling. Menagerie takes place in a world in which cryptids are out in the open and known to humans. They do not however coexist. Seen as less than human, shifters, succubi,minotaurs and others have less than no rights and are either captured and exploited or captured and hunted on game reservations. They are treated as animals. The vein of capture and exploitation is the one which we explore alongside Delilah Marlow who has grown up her whole life believing she was human. On the night of her birthday, Marlow and friends visit the famous Metzger’s Menagerie and things go horribly, devastatingly wrong. What follows is an expose of sorts on the mistreatment of these “creatures” and the lives afforded to them as subhumans.
Vincent has a real knack for combining detail and emotion, causing the reader to become incredibly invested in Marlow’s plight. We root for her and mourn with her and applaud her bravery. The way Vincent writes is so compelling. Her characters have a true depth to them that will tug on even the hardest of heartstrings. Menagerie puts a spotlight on creature cruelty in a very upfront way as these creatures are capable of shifting into their human forms, putting a face to the cryptid and a soul to the character.
While the storyline occurs in the near present with all the trappings of reality (cell phones, the Internet and YouTube), the feel of the world is very old timey and the story progresses the menagerie itself becomes a character. Like traveling ciruses and freak shows of the past, Metzger’s is all glitz and glam on the outside with loud music churning through speakers and brightly lit bulbs strung from tent to tent. We as readers though, know the whole story. And man is it twisted.
Upon looking Menagerie up on Amazon, it has a parenthetical detailing The Menagerie Series Book 1 and that made me so excited to know that we will get to continue to journey alongside Delilah Marlow who is such a strong and independent female lead. Alas, as I am not an oracle, I will have to wait alongside my fellow mortals to see what the future holds for the Menagerie.
Four out of five books to Mrs. Vincent. You can get a copy of Menagerie for yourself here.