Rating: 4 stars
Series: Menagerie #1
The world was similar to our own except cryptids (mermaids, minotaurs, oracles, werewolves, mermaids, etc.) existed and people were aware of them. Everyone got along until 1986 when a massive number of children were killed in their sleep in one night by a specific kind of cryptid that people thought was human. Acceptance of cryptids suddenly turned to hate. Then they were either killed or captured.
Delilah lived a normal life. While visiting a menagerie which is a circus of cryptids, Delilah encountered a man mistreating one of the cryptids. As her anger rose, she turned into an unknown type of cryptid. Her life as she knew it was over in an instant. All of her rights were stripped away since she was no longer human. People she had known all her life abandoned her and acted as if she were a threat to them.
Menagerie is very dark. It was hard to get through at times. At the heart of it this is about hatred and the innocent ones who suffer as a result. Often those who hate and demean others are truly the ones worthy of being hated because they are vile, selfish people. What Delilah experienced was horrible, and her experience in the menagerie was far more pleasant than it was for the others. Most of the handlers were sadistic and cruel.
“[T]he only true difference between the hybrids and most of their handlers was that the handlers hid their beasts on the inside.”
Gallagher was different than the other handlers, but I spent most of the book wondering if he was trustworthy or not. There were many other characters. Occasionally some of them would get a brief chapter from their POV, and it helped to get a better understanding of what it was like for various people in the menagerie. The cryptids have a rough road ahead of them; it will be no easy feat to attain freedom legally.