Menagerie by Rachel Vincent: A Dark, Seductive New Triology Perfect for Paranormal or Urban Fantasy Fans

by 8:26 AM 5 comments
Menagerie by Rachel Vincent

Rating: 4 out of 5

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. 

Warning: There is the issue of human trafficking and rape so be aware of that. The rape is not graphic but there is violence
I'm writing the review for this a little late, I read it at the very end of last year, and honestly it was hands down one of my favorites. Which is not normal for me because I usually go towards romance adult fiction ( in any sub-genre) and there is little to no romance in this book. Frankly I don't think it needs it. Menagerie is so compelling and imaginative that it is hard to put down. I don't know where Rachel Vincent got this idea but she needs to buy property there and put down some roots. While this books at times was a touch too violent I loved how it contributed to the overall commentary of how much life is worth and how people should be treated.

Our MC Delilah is a very strong and very opinionated woman. During a trip with her boyfriend and her friend to this traveling circus she catches one of the acts being brutalized when she steps in to help she goes through this semi weird transformation and realizes that she is a hybrid like cryptid. I really liked the whole mystical element of the circus and the cryptids (the creatures i.e. mermaids, werewolves, centuars, you name it they got it). It reminded me a bit of The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. While IRL, circuses (wow that does not sound right) totally creep me out, I'm starting to really enjoy them in books. The story itself takes place as if our world was in an alternate reality where these cryptids existed. However, after some almost unexplainable cryptic event, Cryptids have become feared and hunted.

Anyway back to Delilah, she was a force to be reckoned with in this book. I like how she didn't stop fighting even though they were trying their hardest to break her. I felt kind of bad for her, as well. She lived 25 years of her life being free and somewhat happy and now she's finding out that her life as she knew it was over and she gets everything taken away from her. It was heartbreaking.

Aside from Delilah there are some amazing characters in this book like the werewolf, Claudio and his daughter. The minotaur was also pretty amazing. The world and cryptids in the circus were so varied and vast, it is hard to just like a few.

One thing (ok multiples things) that kind of bothered me about this book is how easily her boyfriend and friend just straight up abandoned her. Like dang dudes, so much for friendship! This books also at times made me pretty angry (seriously I was going through all the emotions while I was reading this book). I was so mad that the cryptids in the circus were being treated like complete garbage; like they weren't real people. They couldn't own property, they couldn't defend themselves, they had absolutely no legal rights. Just because a few cryptids sucked doesn't mean that they are all bad apples.

Meagerie is so dang addictive.  Rachel Vincent knows how to write a story. It was thought provoking when it needed to be, mysterious, and suspenseful enough to keep you wondering what's going to happen next. It just draws you in. The world Vincent created was seductive and dark. I was shouting at the book, laughing, cheering when people I hated got in trouble, I was all in with this story.  There are so many twist and turns and surprises that I wasn't able to put it down. While the ending felt a little bit rushed, I can't wait for the next book in this series. Superwoman Delilah, being the awesome badass that she is set up some eventually happy ending for the cryptids.

Menagerie is a very unique story. I hope you find the time to pick this up because it is really worth it!!!

Until the Next Review,
See Ya!!
Obssessed Reader

Hello! My name is Taylor and welcome to my blog!!! I started this blog to chronicle a year of transition in my life. I started it over a year ago when I began my last year of college. Now I’ve graduated and it is time for a new chapter of my life. So far life after college has been quite interesting. Before I was a college student living in New York majoring in History who read way too much while jamming out to awesome music. Now I’m a Seattleite who reads way too much while jamming out to awesome tunes who drinks way too much coffee (seriously the coffee here is AMAZING!!!!!) SO this blog will consist of a lot of music playlist, a bunch of books reviews, and random ramblings about life and other things. Thanks for visiting!


  1. This definitely sounds like my kind of story and I already loved this author's YA series so I must try this one as well. Wonderful review!

    1. This book is so good and so unique! I've wanted to read her YA series and after this I will definitely give it a try!

  2. Oh gosh. This book certainly put you through the wringer! But I'm glad it was a fantastic read for you all in all. What the heck is up with the boyfriend and buff? Rude. Lol.

    1. I know right?!?! Like if that was my friend I would've busted her out a long time ago!

  3. It really does sound like a decent fantasy--I've been trying to read more fantasy as of late because most of the fantasy books I've read have easily become favorites. BUT, NO ROMANCE? Oh, the horror. I'll have to think about this one. Thanks for the review!