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 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.
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Genre bending story
- RabidReads "Speculative Fiction Book Review Blogger"
Dark story but good
I'd recommend it to those who enjoy contemporary fantasy type of stories.
The relationship between Delilah and Gallagher was hard to understand at first. I wasn't sure I really liked him, but as the story progressed he grew on me. He and Delilah each had their roles to play under the circumstances (don't want to spoil anything). Nothing happened in the book that could be considered romantic and there was an unusual power balance with their relationship that evolved quite a bit by the end of the novel, but I would like to see something deeper develop in future books.
The end was my favorite part and I will definitely be looking forward to the next novel in the series. Most of the criptics really grew on me and I can't wait to learn more about them.
I should warn that this book starts really slow and there isn't a lot of action in it. Expect a whole lot of world-building to set events up. It is also very dark with torture, abuse, and severe neglect featuring throughout the story. For some people, this will be difficult to get through. I almost gave up on it, but I was intrigued enough with the characters and story to push through. The ending and what may happen next made it all worth it. This is the kind of story that stays with you and makes you think about what humanity really is. What really defines an animal or monster?
Also, the narrator was fantastic. She did a great job of giving the wide cast of characters unique and individual voices. Her pacing was also excellent. I could definitely listen to more of her work.
- Mistress of The Dark Path "Suzie"