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Friday, June 2, 2017

REVIEW: Menagerie & Spectacle by Rachel Vincent

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.

Delilah struggles for her freedom, and for her fellow menagerie, discovering a strength and a purpose she never knew existed. Menagerie is a powerfully creative narrative that will enthrall urban fantasy readers for its ingenuity and ability to illicit powerful emotions. As a reader, I was so drawn into the story and the premise, that I felt the same apprehension, despair and rage as the characters. I worried for their well being and outcome.

Menagerie certainly isn't the typical entry to the urban fantasy genre. It is full of surprises as well as thought provoking themes that echo significant crisis in our own human history.

Final rating: 4 out of 5 stars


*Thanks to Netgalley and Harlequin MIRA for an ARC in exchange for a fair review*

When their coup of Metzger's Menagerie is discovered, Delilah and her fellow cryptids find their newly won freedom brutally stripped away as they are sold into The Savage Spectacle, a private collection of "exotic wildlife." Specializing in ruthless cryptid cage matches, safari-style creature hunts and living party favors, the Spectacle's owner, Willem Vandekamp, caters to the forbidden fetishes of the wealthy and powerful. At the Spectacle, any wish can be granted—for the right price.

But Vandekamp's closely guarded client list isn't the only secret being kept at the Spectacle. Beneath the beauty and brutality of life in the collection lie much darker truths, and no one is more determined than Delilah to strip the masks from the human monsters and drag all dark things into the light.

Spectacle is a spellbinding read and in a class all its own in the urban fantasy genre. I stayed on pins and needles throughout the narrative--angry, frustrated and distraught over the atrocities Delilah and her allies have to endure at the hands of Vandekamp and his staff.

While not overtly graphic, the themes of social injustice, discrimination, slavery, forced prostitution, abortion and mental, physical and emotion abuse are not for the feint of heart, so readers should be prepared for the emotional upheaval that not only entices them to engage in the story but also to feel all the feels.

Final rating: 4 out of 5 stars                                     

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