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Cover image for Menagerie
Don Mills, Ontario, Canada : Harlequin MIRA, [2016]
Physical Description:
478 pages ; 21 cm.
Series title(s):
Number in series:
bk. 1.
When Delilah Marlow visits a famous traveling carnival, Metzger's Menagerie, 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 "performs" in town after town. Despite the breathtaking beauty behind the seamy and grotesque reality of the carnival and despite the kindness of the cryptic handler Gallagher, she and her fellow menagerie of mermaids, minotaurs, gryphons and kelpies struggle for their freedom.


Call Number
FANTASY Vincent, R.

On Order



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 big-top, she discovers a fierce, sharp-clawed creature lurking just beneath her human veneer. Captured and put on exhibition, Delilah 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, griffins 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

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

An alternate world where cryptids (protohuman hybrids) are second-class citizens provides the perfect context for this deftly told dark fantasy, which reflects on what makes humans human. During the horrifying "reaping," human parents slaughtered a million cryptid children, but some who appeared human were saved. Twenty years later, Oklahoman Delilah Marlow, who was raised as a human, shows a cryptid side that she never knew she had. She's stripped of her rights and forced to perform as a sideshow attraction in a traveling carnival whose human handlers often act more bestial than their charges. Though Delilah resists her enslavement, she learns from Gallagher, her gruffly sympathetic handler, that she has a major role to play in cryptid culture. As depicted by Vincent, Delilah is magnificent in her defiance of injustice, and the well-wrought background for her world sets the stage for her future adventures in this captivating new fantasy series. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Kirkus Review

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. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Library Journal Review

Delilah had no reason to think she was not an ordinary young woman until she went to Metzger's Menagerie. While her friends stare in fascination at the gryphons, mermaids, and werewolves on display, Delilah notices only the horrible cruelty of the handlers to their charges. Before Delilah knows what is happening, she has transformed into a terrible creature herself and killed one of Metzger's employees. She should have been imprisoned or worse, but the menagerie actually offers to buy and exhibit her. Those with fae or supernatural qualities are no longer considered human after all-denied all protections of law. Soon Delilah will see the worst of humanity, but she will also find allies. VERDICT This is a dark tale of exploited and abused others, expertly told by Vincent (author of urban fantasy series for teens and adults, including the "Shifter" series). The worldbuilding is hinted at with faux-news items inserted between sections rather than drawn in detail, leaving room for further stories in this alternate America where humans and supernatural creatures have a devastating history and an uncertain future.-MM © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.