Friday, May 30, 2014

GUEST REVIEW: THE MENAGERIE (Menagerie, #1) by Tui T. Sutherland & Kari Sutherland

Title: The Menagerie
Series: Menagerie, #1
Authors: Tui T. Sutherland & Kari Sutherland
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: March 12, 2013
Genres: MG, Fantasy
Reviewed by: Ellen Fritz
Ellen’s rating: 5/5


Logan Wilde is accidentally drawn into the mysterious, dangerous world of the Menagerie when he discovers a griffin hiding under his bed . . . and it leads him straight to the weirdest girl in seventh grade, Zoe Kahn.

Zoe is panicking. Her family has been guarding the Menagerie for centuries. If they don't get the cubs back fast, the whole place will be shut down. To save the griffins' lives, she's willing to break all the rules, even if it means letting an outsider like Logan help. But the real mystery remains: Is someone trying to sabotage the Menagerie?

Who let the griffins out...and why?


Being an animal lover myself, I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Menagerie. Logan Wilde, the main character, wants a dog, a horse and for his mother to return. What he gets instead is a griffin cub, an almost fatal ride on a Kelpie, and an adventure involving mythical animals and new friends who are not quite what they appear to be at school.

Although I read The Menagerie in one go, I really didn't want the book to end. From the grudge-bearing unicorns to the self-pitying goose - the one that lays the golden eggs; and the neurotic phoenix who self-destructs every time he is upset, these were some of the best crafted animal characters I have ever encountered in any book.

Most adorable of all, though, are the treasure loving, escaped griffin cubs. As every cub has a slightly different definition of treasure, however, it makes the task of recapturing them a guessing game and treasure hunt for Zoe, Logan and Blue.

Animal-loving Logan is a very ordinary boy with a desire for adventure and real friends. Zoe Kahn, or worry-cub, as the griffins call her is just that; a person who takes her job very seriously and worries about the menagerie and her family all the time. With an impending inspection by the Supernatural Animal Protection Agency and someone trying to sabotage the menagerie, who can blame Zoe for being uptight. About the other key character, Blue Merevy, I'm not going to say much more than that the girls find him handsome and that he is unusual.

Although this book doesn't exactly end on a cliff-hanger, there are still several loose threads and unanswered questions at the end; something that makes me hope that we'll soon see a sequel to this wonderful novel.

For a heartwarming tale full of wonderful people and eccentric animals, I recommend it as a must-read. Although The Menagerie is a middle grade book, I think everybody who loves animals, adventure, and splendid characterization should read it.



I was born July 31 (same birthday as Harry Potter!) in Caracas, Venezuela, and lived in Asuncion, Paraguay; Miami, Florida; and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, before moving to New Jersey in high school, where I started doing theatre—mostly backstage work, because (a) it was fun, and (b) you got to hang out in the dark with cute boys. (Er, I mean . . . because it was artistically fulfilling, yes.)

I graduated from Williams College in ’98 and I currently live in Boston with my husband, my perfect new baby, and my adorable yoodle Sunshine (what’s a yoodle? A puppy that’s three-quarters poodle and one-quarter Yorkshire terrier, of course!).

Much to my parents’ relief, I abandoned my theatrical aspirations after college for the far more stable and lucrative career of fiction writing.

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