I shall not write such a long review this time. I shall not mention most of what happens. But I will share all my thoughts about this book, and why I love it so much and why it continues to break me every time I read it. It is such a powerful book. And I loved every moment of it, once more. It never disappoints. Such a good read.
This book tells the story of twenty five year old Delilah. She is celebrating her birthday with her boyfriend and her best friend. He has bought tickets to visit a traveling carnival, the menagerie. Delilah feels so very unsure about going to this. Because in this world, there are creatures living too. Cryptids. And for years now, they have been captured and killed, or is forced to perform while trapped. This menagerie shows off these creatures, and many of them are not all animals. Which is still heartbreaking to read about. Delilah has studied cryptids for years, and she loves learning about them, but she is not okay with how they are being treated. Yet she wants to see them too, so yeah, she feels unsure about going. And oh, how I wish she had not gone to this place.
But she does go. And this menagerie is a pretty horrible place. For those that do not support animals and creatures in cages. Especially abused ones. Most people in this book want the cryptids in cages, which is so painful to read about. But Delilah is not one of those horrible people. She cares, and she wants to do better. At the menagerie, they see a young werewolf girl being hurt, trying to get her to perform. Delilah is not okay with this. And she gets very angry. Which makes something happen to her body. She changes.
And this is not a good thing. She hurts the person hurting the girl, which I was so happy about, but this means that she is not a human. And she is captured, taken to jail. And reading those scenes still kill me. Because they are awful to her. And I did not like it one bit. But so very interesting to read, even so. But heartbreaking. It is decided that Delilah is a cryptid. Though she did not know she was one until this night. Her boyfriend abandons her at the police station. Her best friend as well. Only her mother is there for her.
But that same night, she is bought. Bought by the same menagerie she just visited. And gosh, this does not end well for Delilah. I shall not mention a lot of the things that happens next in this book. But there is abuse mentioned. A lot of it. And it is heartbreaking to read about. Delilah is put in a small cage, like all the others taken. Little food, little clothes, nothing of her own. They are trying to figure out what she is. Trying to make her transform again, into a monster. But it is not that easy. And ahh. So painful to read.
But so good too. This book still kills me with awesome. I don't know how else to describe it. Menagerie is all kinds of horrible. And I loved every moment of it. Because Delilah was the very best character to read about. I loved her so very much. Loved getting to know her. Loved how strong she was, how she fought for her life. Even when nothing could be done. She was still strong, even when beaten. And I loved that about her so much. Loved that she wanted to save everyone else that was captured too. My poor heart.
Another character in this book that I loved beyond words was Gallagher. He works at this place, taking care of the animals and creatures. He is tasked with breaking Delilah. But he is not a bad person. At all. He does not hurt her. Or anyone else. He is kind, when no one else is. It also takes some time before Delilah starts trusting him. But gosh, their growing friendship meant the most to me. No romance. But so good. Gallagher has secrets, and they were of the best kind. And a bit horrible too. I loved it. I loved him.
There is still so much I could write about this book. And I kind of feel like maybe what I already wrote was a bit too much, maybe, oh, well. I simply wanted to write about this book again. Because reading it for the third time was so good. And so painful. I haven't even mentioned most of what happens in this book. And I will not. But gosh, it is good. And awful. And every kind of perfect too. It is very much adult, and so dark, but not that dark, which I'm thankful for. This book ruined me. In a good way, honestly. It will ruin you too.
I did not read my two previous reviews before writing this one. And I am not going to. I just had to share about this lovely book a third time, I could not resist, haha. If you still have not read Menagerie, you are really missing out. It is dark, yes, and adult, but it is amazing. Honest and heartbreaking. Yet full of hope too. It felt very real right now, with how things in the world are at the moment. Made it even more sad. Ack. But there is hope too. And I have hope for our world too. Everyone deserves freedom. Every one.