When Delilah Marlow visits a famous traveling carnival, Metzger's Menagerie, she is an ordinary woman in a not-quite-ordinary world. But under the macabre circus black-top, she discovers a fierce, sharp-clawed creature lurking just beneath her human veneer. Captured and put on exhibition, Delilah in her black swan burlesque costume is stripped of her worldly possessions, including her own name, as she's forced to "perform" in town after town.
But there is breathtaking beauty behind the seamy and grotesque reality of the carnival. Gallagher, her handler, is as kind as he is cryptic and strong. The other "attractions"—mermaids, minotaurs, gryphons and kelpies—are strange, yes, but they share a bond forged by the brutal realities of captivity. And as Delilah struggles for her freedom, and for her fellow menagerie, she'll discover a strength and a purpose she never knew existed.
I liked the beginning - it had a definite changeling (Irish/Scottish) folklore feel to it and I was immediately sucked in, such a promising start. The flash forward to her 12 year old self was okay - but it didn't really follow on the anticipation of the introduction. And then another time jump to 'present' day. *note: I'm not a fan of the multiple time jumping thing unless it completely affects future narrative and/or is actually at time travel novel (in hindsight - not so much).
TBH - Dililah is boring. Boring life. Boring job. Boring boyfriend. Just boring. And I guess that's the point - she needs to grow as a person once she 'reveals' herself, it's a plot point - only it doesn't really work because she stays consistently boring! There are no high points or light points of story line to really get you motivated to root for her character and the possible romance factor is on such a slow burn it may in fact fizzle out - and for all their abilities/talents/weirdness - nothing of any importance ever really happens. It's all too even keeled which really is a shame. The potential for this story to blow your mind is right there - and yet its totally overlooked in favor of a 'nice' read.
I also was not a fan of the news 'snippets' interspersed amongst the chapters in an attempt to clarify 'the reaping' that had occurred - it just tended to add mud to an already murky story line.
So while I was not impressed at all by this book, I am curious to see if the author can improve on the story next time around, so I may give book #2 a look.
I so wanted this to be an epic story... but with very little light and shade, it was just mediocre at best - 2 stars