Finally I am posting my review of Spectacle by Rachel Vincent!
It’s been well over a year since I read the opener of Rachel Vincent’s Menagerie series, but it took me no time at all to become completely re-immersed in this fascinating world she has created.
Set in an alternate present, the Menagerie series is a contemporary fantasy like nothing I’ve ever read before, and once again I was floored by Vincent’s unique narrative style and the seamless way she uses these creatures of mythology and folklore to make a point about the impact of human ignorance and intolerance, and the strength that comes from holding on to your identity.
In our current society, where the fear of anything different drives so many people to hate, stories like this are especially powerful.
So, to the story—after a brief taste of freedom, book two opens with the creatures of the Menagerie being rounded up and taken to The Savage Spectacle, an entertainment venue catering to some of the darker fetishes of wealthy humans. Controlled by specially designed collars, the creatures of the spectacle are at the complete mercy of their handlers—left without their magical abilities (except for when they can be used to make money), paralysed or shocked if they even think of rebelling, and prevented from communicating with other captives—they are forced to partake in whatever kind of ‘entertainment’ will earn the most amount of money, whether it be performing at a bachelor party, a fight to the death in a packed arena, or a no-rules private engagement with a client (just to give a few examples).
Spectacle had me absolutely hooked—I listened to the audio, as I did with Menagerie, and once again I just did not want to put it down, so well done to both Rachel Vincent and Gabra Zackman for that. As mentioned above, this series has a really unique narrative style, which I feel really adds to the reading experience. I loved all of Delilah’s first person chapters, but being able to see into the thoughts of some of the other characters was wonderful as well, especially getting to see little snippets from some of the antagonists, which just helped to build the anticipation. And of course, I love the (for lack of a better term) ‘newsreel’ clippings scattered throughout the story. This is such an inventive way to provide backstory (although I’ll admit I did find it slightly confusing in Menagerie—at first).
All in all, this is exactly the kind of story you want from a second book in the series—it followed on really well from the first book, was a really entertaining read and left us with an ending that, while not a cliff-hanger, definitely builds anticipation for what I’m assuming is the final book in the series.