Molly Reviews: The Menagerie by J.S. Frankel

Taking care of a pet is one thing, but when orphaned teenager Karen Fox is kidnapped to service an interstellar zoo, she gets more than she bargained for.

We do this for they bring us happiness.

We do this because they have no defense, nowhere else to go and no one to care for them.

We do this in order so that they may teach us what it means to be different, and for us to embrace that difference.

Karen Fox, sixteen and recovering from a terrible car crash that claimed the lives of her parents, dreams only of becoming physically able once more. Hearing a strange voice that comes from somewhere near her hospital, she investigates and is kidnapped by an automated ship transporting interstellar animals to a safe haven. Knowing nothing about how to take care of them and disliking animals to begin with, Karen learns the value of caring for interstellar life. And when a marauding band of poachers attacks the vessel intending to seize all the animals, Karen is forced to fight for her own life as well as those animals she has come to care about.

Where To Buy:
Finch Books || Amazon

I’m going to start by saying this is not a romance. But when I was given the chance to read this story I couldn’t say no. It sounded so interesting and really brought out my inner kid and reminded me of some of my favorite books I read as a kid. As a YA story this is definitely the target audience for the story. It will likely go over well with the YA crowd. However the book is missing emotion and detail in some areas it was needed. The world building however was wonderful. It was effortless how I fell into this world with the animals, the menagerie, Guider and the adventure Karen went on. It made the lack of emotion that much more frustrating because the potential for it is there in the great storytelling. The lack of emotion made Karen come off as unfeeling and uncaring for anyone around her or when the scene warranted it.
I loved the adventure and the sense of discovery in the story. Plus the concepts of how animals should be treated, what constitutes enough care and where home is, are woven into the story story well. You get the sense that Karen isn’t even sure of the answer herself until the very end of the story.
I would love to see more stories in this world. It’s so rich and exciting I can’t help but want to see Karen find her way in the future as she finally accepts herself and where she is in life. But also with more feeling so she can grow and be shown with a tiny bit more dimension.

About J.S.:
J.S. Frankel was born in Toronto, Canada, a good number of years ago and managed to scrape through the University of Toronto with a BA in English Literature.  In 1988 he moved to Japan and started teaching ESL to anyone who would listen to him. In 1997, he married the charming Akiko Koike and their union produced two sons, Kai and Ray. J.S. Frankel makes his home in Osaka where he teaches English by day and writes by night until the wee hours of the morning.

Author Contact:
You can check out his blog and follow J.S. on Facebook and Twitter.


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