Review: Menagerie by Rachel Vincent

Menagerie (Menagerie, #1)Menagerie by Rachel Vincent

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My first thought on opening this one was “Oops.” I picked it up by mistake, thinking it was a new book by Eileen Wilks,* author of the Worlds of the Lupi series. (which I also¬†highly recommend.)

Best mistake I’ve made in a long time. I never got hooked into Rachel Vincent’s Shifter series, but only because I was tired of were-animal stories. I knew her writing to be top-notch and her characters very relatable, so I thought, “Not what I wanted, but okay, I’ll give it a look.”

And two hours later, I finally managed to put it down long enough to eat.

This is the start of a new series in a different setting from the Shifters books, and it is EPIC good. Oh, it starts off like basic contemporary fantasy, taking place in a world like ours with a typical collection of legendary species living openly with humanity. Then it takes some excellent twists.

This story of kidnapping and revenge takes place in a deeply thought-out, incredibly intriguing world whose history and details stay were they tease best: lurking behind the plot curtains, revealed in hints, asides, and unfolding events. I can’t give it props for inventing a new cuisine, because it doesn’t stray too far away from the usual crowd pleasing twists and tropes (protagonist learns she isn’t who or what she thought she was, loses everything, must fight to make a new life for herself and learn all about the paranormal side of reality)

Still, its refreshing blend of All The Usual Ingredients makes for a delicious, rich treat. I won’t pinpoint what kind, just imagine your favorite decadence. Cheesecake? Creme brulee? Flourless chocolate cake? It’s that.

The BEST part? It’s labeled as #1 of a series, and the ending leaves the possibilities wide open the way any truly good ending does–but it wraps in such a satisfying way that it doesn’t require reading a sequel. So I can recommend it to EVERYone, even all my friends who don’t like reading series.

Extra bonus, that. Makes me super-happy.

*Note: I have no rational explanation for getting the two authors confused, no more than I can explain getting the actors Giovanni Ribisi and Vincent D’Onofrio mixed up. Which I also do.
I found Kay Hooper by similar serendipitous accident after mistaking a book by her for one of Iris Johansen’s. (Both do great mystery thrillers which otherwise are in no way alike.)

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