Readers of this blog know that Caramel is a big fan of Tui Sutherland and her Wings of Fire series. He has already read and reviewed all fifteen books! (He reviewed the fifteenth book, The Flames of Hope, only a couple weeks ago; check it out for links to his reviews of the earlier books.) Today he reviews the first book of another series from Tui Sutherland, cowritten by her sister Kari Sutherland: The Menagerie. As usual, Sprinkles is taking notes and asking questions.
Sprinkles: I know you had been a bit reluctant to read this book Caramel. Can you explain why to our readers?
Caramel: I really would rather not. But I know you really want me to. So okay, I’ll tell. I felt that Tui Sutherland means Wings of Fire and dragons, and I did not want to read a different story by her that I would not really like too much and get disappointed.
S: I can totally understand that. That’s why I read this before you and I was quite convinced you would actually enjoy it.
C: I think you were right. Now I need to read the next book.
S: Wait, I know this is the first book of a trilogy, but then you did like it a lot! That makes me happy. So okay, I promise we will get our paws on the next two books soon, because I too want to know what will happen next. But before that, why don’t you tell our readers what the book is about?
C: It’s about this boy named Logan Wilde who has just moved to Xanadu, Wyoming. He discovers a griffin cub in his room and he realizes that he can hear the cub’s thoughts in his mind and communicate with him.
S: That must be so exciting, right? Finding your own magical mythical beast in your room?
C: Yeah. And being able to understand it when noone else can!
S: So Logan is special somehow?
C: Yes, but we don’t know for a long time why.
S: Alright, so tell us a bit more about the story. Where does this griffin cub come from?
C: The Menagerie.
S: Yes, that is the title of the book.
C: And it’s the name of the place where the cub was living with his five siblings and parents. And a whole lot of other mythical magical creatures, like a phoenix and a golden-egg-laying goose, and so on and so forth.
S: Hmm, so this Menagerie is kind of like a zoo for weird mythical animals, right?
C: Well, it is more like a nature reserve. Because it is not open to visitors. And most people do not know about the place because it is secret.
S: I can see why you would like to keep such a place a secret. Can you imagine what it would be like if people knew there was this place where you could find a golden-egg-laying goose? Or a phoenix? It could get really dangerous for the animals really fast.
C: Right. There is already only one phoenix left in the whole world, and it would be on the wish list of all sorts of people.
S: So this book is about Logan coming to learn about the Menagerie?
C: Practically. But the one cub in his room is not the only one which ran away. All six siblings escaped and the main story is all about Logan and his friends trying to find all the cubs.
S: And along the way, Logan becomes good friends with the girl and the boy who live in the Menagerie, right?
C: Yes, their names are Zoe and Blue. They are all in seventh grade, with Logan.
S: And then there is the mystery about Logan’s mom?
C: Yes. As it turns out Logan’s mom is —
S: Caramel! You can’t give it away!
C: I was not going to tell anyway. But so she is missing and Logan and his dad just moved to Wyoming to find her.
S: And Logan has no idea why Wyoming should be where his mom would be?
C: No, that is not true. She sent them a postcard from there saying she was not going to come back home. They were living in Chicago, and then they moved all the way out west to Wyoming.
S: Yes, I found that the authors blended the two stories together really well. Logan finding out about the Menagerie and finding out more about his missing mom.
C: Yes, but now we need to read the next book!
S: I agree. But before that, maybe you can tell our readers about the segment in the back of the book about mythical creatures?
C: Sure. It’s titled Camp Underpaw’s Guide to Mythical Creatures. And it lists and describes a lot of strange mythical creatures. Several of them show up in this book. And here is my favorite: Zaratan. It is apparently a “turtle the size of a small island, and yet shockingly difficult to track”.
S: That is really funny Caramel! I knew you would love that list of mythical creatures! You have created your own book of mythical creatures before. And both you and Marshmallow enjoyed the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
C: Well, I really liked the movie but I think only Marshmallow read the book.
S: No worries. You were so much smaller back then. Still, all in all, I am really glad you enjoyed this book. So what three words would you use to describe it?
C: Mysterious, funny, and cliff-hanging.
S: Okay, I guess we will claim that is a word now, because this is at least the second time you are using it. But you are right, the book does end with a resolution to the six escaped cubs problem but ends with a totally new problem which will tie in to the next book. So we do need to read the next book.
C: YES! We do! We have to!
S: Okay Caramel, and we will. But let us finish this post first. What do you want to tell our readers?
C: Stay tuned for more book bunnies reviews!