Makes you think! Menagerie #Review

June 22, 2016 Reviews 10

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Makes you think! Menagerie #ReviewMenagerie by Rachel Vincent
Narrator: Gabra Zackman
Series: Menagerie #1
Published by Recorded Books, Mira on September 29, 2015
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 429
Length: 10 hours 57 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher

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.

I really like Rachel Vincent, so I didn’t hesitate to put Menagerie on my list of must-read books. When I got a chance to review it for Recorded Books I couldn’t resist. I ended up loving Menagerie, devouring it in just two days.

What Worked:

  • Talk about a marvelously creepy, gripping intro! I forget if it was a prologue or actually chapter 1, but I was hooked by that intro immediately. I won’t spoil it for you though 🙂
  • The characters were well done. Menagerie is told from the point of view of multiple characters and sometimes I find that jarring. In this case, I thought it served the book well. I got to know multiple characters a bit better and – this is my next point – served the plot really well.
  • The plot had very few down moments. After that intro there was a little bit of a slow period in Delilah’s childhood that, quite frankly, I don’t think did anything for the book. But it didn’t hurt and was short. Other than that, it kept moving. Having multiple character viewpoints created tension because you saw where real complications were potentially approaching.
  • The treatment of the menagerie was appalling. It really made Delilah’s situation more startling. But, for me, it also made me think. I’m not a circus fan (with animals at least) – I’m not much for locking animals up in cages. But seeing their life from the perspective of the animal just made me think about it that much more. Because Delilah’s circus was obeying the letter of the law… and wow it was bad! Anyway, I don’t think Rachel Vincent was trying to write a commentary and I bet I’m one of the only people to go there, but I did and I liked that it made me go there. I like books that make me think like that.
  • Finally – the narration by Gabra Zackman was quite good. I don’t believe I’ve listened to her before, but her voice fit the characters quite well and she handled some of the less pleasant moments appropriately.

What didn’t work:

  • I didn’t like the way the Reaping was explained – through the scene at the beginning when Delilah’s a child and then mostly through newspaper and news reports from the 80s at the start of each chapter. It was jarring and removed you from the action. It also was a little misleading, but I won’t explain why – to do so would spoil things for you.
  • Sometimes Delilah’s thoughts and behavior were a bit of a stretch for me. Even though I could defend them to my mom, who listened with me (she was walking by as I started, got hooked and sat down to listen to the whole thing… so yeah, it’s good!) and got frustrated, but they needed defending, because they were a stretch. Point is… I was okay with the stretch, but it would have been nice if I believed it without having to explain and reason it out.

With how Menagerie ended, I’m really excited to see how it continues. I see lots of potential for more heart-stomping (yes more – Rachel Vincent is not afraid to go there!) and some excitement. Gah, why do I have to wait until 2017!>

4.5 stars I loved it

Berls was pulled into Menagerie from the start! She's giving it 4.5/5 stars! Click To Tweet Follow on Bloglovin


About Rachel Vincent

A resident of San Antonio, Rachel Vincent has a BA in English and an overactive imagination, and consistently finds the latter to be more practical. She shares her workspace with two black cats (Kaci and Nyx) and her # 1 fan. Rachel is older than she looks-seriously-and younger than she feels, but remains convinced that for every day she spends writing, one more day will be added to her lifespan.


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About Berls
Berls has been a book lover her whole life. She reads pretty much every genre and is currently working hard at making her childhood dream of becoming an author come true. She loves sharing her thoughts about books, blogging, and just random fun stuff. She's a challenge and read-a-thon junkie, so it's no wonder that she loves co-hosting the COYER reading challenge. Leave a comment, Berls is always happy to chat!

10 Responses to “Makes you think! Menagerie #Review”

  1. Lola

    I still haven’t read this one, but I do own a copy. It does sound like a gripping start and I always like ti when a book starts like that and grabs your attention immediately. I can really enjoy multiple point of views when it’s well done and it sounds like that’s the case here.
    I do think I probably will find it hard to read about the menagerie, but it’s good to know that beforehand. Although maybe I have tow ait to read it for a bit longer so the wait for the next book isn’t as long, lol. Glad to hear you enjoyed this one!
    Lola recently posted…Sunday Post #184My Profile

    • Berls

      Then this is definitely one for you – it will heart stomp, it is creepy at points and there are many, well done, povs. I recommend 🙂 lol you may want to wait though, it’s a long wait to book 2!

  2. Lexxie

    YES! This book is still haunting me, Berls! The way that story unfolded, and with the horrible treatment of Delilah and the others made me thinks about so many things we see in society these days. How easy it is for some people to both be afraid of and hate everyone / everything that is different from themselves.
    Great review, my dear!
    Have a terrific Thursday and happy reading xoxo
    Lexxie recently posted…Thirsty Thursday and Hungry Hearts #71 – Mr. RomanticMy Profile

    • Berls

      It was quite a thinker, wasn’t it?! And you’re right, I didn’t go there in my review, but it doesn’t have to just be about the treatment of animals, this could also be applied to the way people react to any difference in individuals around them. Can’t wait for more!

    • Berls

      Lol you’re hilarious! It was good huh? And yeah, circuses are horrid! Poor animals 🙁

  3. Melanie Simmons

    It has been a while since I listened to this book. I remember exactly what you meant about animals in a circus. I don’t think you are the only one to go their. I sorta felt the same way. I feel the same way about how some animals are treated at some circuses and some zoos (they are not all created equal). I can’t believe we have to wait so long for the next book. I will have to relisten before it comes out, because I can’t remember everything that happened. Like I’m trying to remember some of the thoughts that were a stretch and I just can’t remember. Great review!
    Melanie Simmons recently posted…The Utterly Uninteresting and Unadventurous Tales of Fred, the Vampire Accountant Audiobook by Drew Hayes (REVIEW)My Profile

    • Berls

      I agree about zoos too. Yeah, it’s a very long wait. Hahaha I’m trying to remember what I was talking about and I’m not sure either… I think it was judt her overall obstinate attitude – sometimes I loved it and sometimes it was like, yeah, you so wouldn’t be acting that way. I think. Lol.

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