MENAGERIE by Rachel Vincent


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This novel begins a dark and moody new series set among circus freaks and cryptids.

In Vincent’s story, the creatures from various world mythologies are very real. Werewolves, sphinxes, Minotaurs, and many others populate the pages. But the main character, Delilah, is one of the most puzzling, because she lives most of her life convinced she’s human. Only when a vicious act sparks her instinctive violent reaction does her true nature reveal itself: she is a most rare cryptid. The response by law enforcement is swift and brutal. She's declared nonhuman, stripped of all rights, and sold as property to a traveling carnival. Over the course of several weeks, she's caged, brutalized, and terrorized. However, with the help of her handler, Gallagher, she also discovers the truth of her nature and gets the chance to blaze a path to aid her fellow cryptids. Delilah is an intelligent protagonist who's easy to root for, especially as so much seems set against her. There is extraordinary injustice in this world. Cryptids are legally property, and they're treated horribly by nearly all humans, enduring a miserable existence only they can understand. Vincent summons bold and vivid imagery with her writing, especially with the otherworldly aspects of the carnival. There are many named characters and many mythologies to catch up on, which slows the pace somewhat. The shifting point of view can be jarring, since Delilah tells her story in the first person, while all the other narrating characters are presented in the third. And while the ending is suitably bombastic, it feels more like a pause before the already-scheduled sequel.

Fans of paranormal fiction and of Vincent’s previous work (The Stars Never Rise, 2015, etc.) should enjoy the unusual premise of the novel, but the violence throughout may limit its appeal.

Pub Date: Sept. 29th, 2015
ISBN: 978-0-7783-1605-3
Page count: 432pp
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2015


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