Title: Menagerie (Menagerie #1)
Author: Rachel Vincent
Release date: September 29th 2015
Reading level: Ages 18 and up
Buy on: Amazon | B&N | BookDepository
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.
Menagerie is the first adult book written by Rachel Vincent that I´ve read (I know she has other adult series), previously I´ve read her Young Adult series - Soul Screamers, which I enjoyed very much, because it introduced a mythological main character that regularly I do not find in YA books, so it was a pleasant surprise reading about the fantastic and mythological characters in this story.
Menagerie is a fantasy novel that takes place in a world similar to ours, or at least the United States has the same states but other countries are different, and this world is inhabited by humans and cryptids (they´re different types of supernatural such as minotaurs, centaurs, mermaids, werewolves, oracles, fairies, etc.) and years before the beginning of the story both races lived in harmony and the supernatural were citizens, but on a fateful day known to all as "the reaping" where many humans children were killed, due to this event the government decided to act against the cryptids and they lose their rights, so that today only the cryptids can be found in menagerie, or in private collections, and all of them are deprived of their freedom.
Delilah Marlow grew all her life thinking she was human, but on her twenty five birthday everything changes when she visits the menagerie with her boyfriend and friends, but when she sees the cruelty with which the cryptids treated, something awakens in her that makes her true self manifest, a creature that no one seems to recognize its origin and Delilah is arrested, stripped of her rights and sold as an unknown cryptid to the same menagerie where her creature manifested. there she will be displayed and treated like all the other "beasts". And there she´ll have to rely on Gallagher her handler and together try to discover what kind of creature she´s, besides being the only human in which she can rely.
Overall, Menagerie is a very original, dark, raw, full of fantasy book and it hooked me once I got the thread to the story (it took me a while to understand the world in which it develops), with good characters, some I liked and others I hated, definitely very entertaining. For those who like romance on their book, I have to inform that this first book of the series doesn´t have romance, because it focuses more on Delilah´s story and her journey.