Friday, October 9, 2015

Interview-Rachel Vincent-Menagerie-Review

Today I welcome New York Times bestselling author Rachel Vincent whose talking about her fantastic new release, Menagerie, the first in a brand new fantasy series.
Enjoy our chat and my review of the novel.

ISBN-13: 9780778316053
Publisher: MIRA
Release Date: 09/29/2015
Length: 432 pp
Buy It: B&N/Amazon/Kobo/Indibound/Audible


From New York Times bestselling author Rachel Vincent comes a richly imagined, provocative new series set in the dark mythology of the Menagerie…
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 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.
Renowned author Rachel Vincent weaves an intoxicating blend of carnival magic and startling humanity in this intricately woven and powerful tale.

Rachel, Hi! Welcome to The Reading Frenzy.
 Tell us a little about your new novel and debut to your new series, Menagerie.
 MENAGERIE is the first in a trilogy about a world in which mythical creatures are real, but because of a tragedy that happened 30 years ago, they’re not allowed to live freely in the US. Called “cryptids,” these creatures, both sentient and non-sentient, are only allowed to live in controlled environments, like research facilities, preserves, private collections, zoos, and in traveling carnivals, where they’re on display. In the first book, Delilah Marlow goes to a traveling carnival for her twenty-fifth birthday and while she’s there, she’s exposed as a cryptid. She’s sold into the carnival as an exhibit that very night, where she loses all of her belongings, friends, and civil rights.

The novel is about humanity, and how we define it. It’s about the human tendency to label everyone different as somehow “lesser.” It’s about the best and the worst of humanity, set behind the scenes of a traveling carnival. 

Tell us about the birth of your protagonist Delilah Marlow. Did she just show up one day or did she lurk in the back of your mind undeveloped for a time first?
 Actually, the hardest part of the novel for me to write was Delilah herself. The world fell into place quickly. My original idea was for the carnival itself. (What if a traveling carnival had centaurs and shapeshifters in place of the typical equestrian and lion acts???) Delilah herself didn’t gel for me until the second completely re-written draft of the book. She had several previous names, occupations, and at least one different personality.

There’s a quote on your website that says,“I write about things that scare me so they can scare you too.” What is it about the scary unknown that appeals to you so much?
 I don’t know! I guess I’m fortunate enough to have a pretty (blissfully) boring private life. Nothing exciting ever really happens in central Oklahoma. So I write about the things that make me feel alive. Which is usually survival, in one form or another.

Rachel your bio informs us that you’re a former English teacher. If you’ve read any early self-published books you probably ran around screaming, especially since you’re a champion of the Oxford comma. What do you think of self-published books today?
 I think that any book, whether it’s published in your living room or in a New York publishing house, needs to be seen by several sets of eyes, at least one of whom should be a professional editor. I have a degree in English, I’ve taught grammar, and I’ve written 20+ books, yet I still need my editor, my copy editor, and my proofreader.

I love how you have quotes and little bits of personal perspective flashing on screen as I browse your website. It's a bit like having a conversation with you. Your whole website is in fact very inventive. Did you design it?
 My husband designed it and did all the work. He was able to give me everything I asked for!

Rachel you are also a very socially active author. Is social media fun to you or a necessary evil?
 Ha! That depends on the day of the week. I love talking to readers, both in person and online. Hearing from someone who read and loved my book is the highlight of any day. But I will admit that it’s sometimes hard for me to accept the fact that authors don’t get to represent ourselves online. We have to represent our careers. We can’t make a mistake, or talk about politics, or complain about anything, or sometimes even ask simple questions without seeing fallout. Which is why (much to my family’s annoyance) I don’t have any personal social media accounts. Everything I do online is professional, because I can’t invite the kind of criticism authors get on a daily basis into my personal life.

That said, I truly do love to talk to readers!

You write for my favorite publisher, people who know me well, know I think Harlequin makes the world go round. What’s the best part of working for Harlequin?
 I also write for Random House, and my experience with both publishers has been overwhelmingly positive. Harlequin has a very large international distribution system which has helped put my work in many different countries.

Rachel your bio also says you are older than you look, and how if you’ve got teenaged kids. So what’s your secret to looking so young, did you find the fountain of youth?
 It might be time for me to update my bio. I don’t look as young as I did a few years ago. ;)

Thanks so much for taking time out of your very busy schedule to chat with me today.
Good luck with the new novel!
 Thank you!

Are there signings/events listed on your website?
 Yes! They can be found here:

My Review
Wow pretty much sums up this debut in a new dark fantasy/adult fairytale series for NYT bestseller, Rachel Vincent. She drew me immediately into her improbable yet vibrant and convincing dystopian domain, where she spins a timely, brutal morality tale of ethnic cleansing and forced slavery with a definite holocaust feel. She acquainted me with a stable of sentient mythological beings from many societies not just Greek and Roman and spellbound me with a masterful narrative that’s frightening and beautifully eloquent. Her portrayal of her strong, courageous and tragic star, Delilah is amazing, and her enigmatic handler, Gallagher is a true mystery. Her carnival captives are humbling and her other co-stars, good, evil and indifferent ring breathtakingly true. I love the brilliant light of hope she puts in such a devastating pit of despair and that she leaves some questions unanswered. I can’t wait for book two.

In a world that’s become intolerant of its non-human species where at best they’re carnival freaks, at worse bait in a safari type game park or forgotten in the bowels of a government asylum, small town, girl-next-door, Delilah Marlow visits Metzger’s Traveling Menagerie for her 25th birthday. When she witnesses the brutal mistreatment of a juvenile werewolf in their custody something monumentally monstrous happens and she suddenly goes from patron to prisoner, from a trusted citizen to abhorred mutant. Believing her whole life she’s human, ignorant as to how she transformed or what she is beneath her human facade and now herself a caged act in the Menagerie, Delilah must learn to choose her battles carefully and learn who is an ally and who is her enemy. She’s determined to escape and to help her fellow captives, and just hopes she’s strong enough to survive whatever her captors and fate have in store for her.

Connect with Rachel - Website- Facebook  Twitter

Rachel Vincent is a former English teacher and an eager champion of the Oxford comma. She shares her home in Oklahoma with two cats, two teenagers, and her husband, who’s been her # 1 fan from the start. Rachel is older than she looks and younger than she feels, and she remains convinced that writing about the things that scare her is the cheapest form of therapy—but social media is a close second.


  1. So interesting how the world came together so nicely but the main character was so much harder for her. You don't hear about that happening often!
    Wonderful interview Debbie!!

    1. I always love to hear these kinds of facts too Ali. Thanks for stopping by

  2. I have this on my audio wishlist Debbie..wonderful review and as always your interviews are delightful and informative.

    1. Oh I bet this would be great to listen too! Can't wait to see what you think of the audio version Kim