Menagerie, Rachel Vincent
Menagerie, Rachel Vincent
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Genre: Literature/Fiction, fantasy/paranormal.
I read Rachel’s Cat Shifter series years ago and loved them all, then recently the first book in the Blood Bound series, which I enjoyed also, and yet found that soul screamers just didn’t cut it so wondered how this would work out for me…it was terrific. something fresh and original encompassing traditional supernatural creatures with mythical ones.
Its based upon a world like ours, but where there’s been a terrible slaughtering in the 1980’s they call The Reaping in the USA. Interspersed between chapters are snippets of TV and News report from that time. It led to some harsh legislation where people deemed to be not wholly human have no protection, can be used in experiments, sold, exhibited, abused and have no rights. Delilah thinks she’s human but then when viewing ( as a present from her boyfriend, not something she would have chosen to do ) a visiting attraction, Metzer’s Menagerie, she has a kind of freak out when she see’s a shifter child being badly treated, electrocuted to make her perform, and it leads to horrors for her. She loses everything, her home, her job, her friends and becomes Property and sold to the Menagerie.
Its a scary time for her, she’s lost, so confused and so angry…she’s always been against Cryptid mistreatment but Legislation is so harsh there’s little she could do. Now she’s one of them and forced to endure some horrors and faced with a life of it. She’s tougher than it seems though, and with her strong sense of morality she treats the others as sentient beings – which they are for the most part, just wanting to live free, but forced into a life of horrors where their children and mates are sold at whim, and tranquillisers, semi starvation, abuse and cruelty is part of their everyday life.
Its a fabulous read, Rachel makes the Cryptids feel so real, so in a place they shouldn’t be. Its scary because we can see from history ( and some of it not so far back) how quickly bad Laws can be drawn up in knee jerk reactions to events, and I’ve no doubt that if the scenes we see were real we’d have laws something like this…You’re either human and have rights, or not and have none. Very black or white issue. People are scared of what they don’t understand and this is the result. We have the Dangerous Dogs legislation here in UK, set up in 70’s/80’s in response to some child deaths by dog mauling. Yes that’s awful, but it tars all breeds with the same brush and some are not allowed to live simply because they belong to a banned breed. It doesn’t matter if its gentle, has never caused an issue, its automatically doomed to be killed. Meanwhile other breeds are Ok even if they’ve caused problems, attacked someone, it still needs proving and may not be killed. I see the Law in this book as being similar, the Cryptids, some of which had been like Delilah, living and working, married even with children, but then at the slash of a pen they were automatically Property and sold off or used in experiments. Even animal welfare legislation doesn’t apply to them. See how easy it would be when looking at the past, how if this was real how like Rachel’s story life could be? That made it so believable to me, and I so felt for Delilah, her mum, and the other Cryptids involved.
I really want to see where this goes next. I wasn’t sure when reading f it was a one off or a series, and this ends as if it could be a stand alone, but I’m pleased there’s going to be more. I’ll be keen to read them.
Stars: five, a great read and very different paranormal story.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers