Caramel reviews The Menagerie: Kraken and Lies by Tui Sutherland and Kari Sutherland

Caramel is a big fan of Tui Sutherland’s Wings of Fire series. After some cajoling, a couple weeks ago, he finally dove into Sutherland’s Menagerie series, cowritten with Kari Sutherland. And he has already read and reviewed the first book (The Menagerie) and the second book (Dragon on Trial). Today he wraps up the series with a review of the third book: Kraken and Lies. As usual, Sprinkles is taking notes and asking followup questions.

Caramel reviews The Menagerie: Kraken and Lies by Tui Sutherland and Kari Sutherland.
Caramel reviews The Menagerie: Kraken and Lies by Tui Sutherland and Kari Sutherland.

Sprinkles: So this was book three of the Menagerie series. What did you think?

Caramel: It’s a good book!

S: I thought so too. Actually I liked this third book the most.

C: I didn’t. I think they were all good.

S: Yes, I do, too, but I kind of liked this one most because I thought it was so rich, and the authors tied up all the loose ends really well.

C: I agree. They did tie up a lot of loose ends. We even learned how and why the dragon was framed in Dragon on Trial.

S: You are very close to giving away a little too much Caramel. But yes, the unresolved issues from the earlier books all got cleared away in this one. But it was not only about resolving old issues, was it?

C: No, you are right. There is of course a new problem, a big one. Zoe’s ex-best-friend Jasmine’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Sterling, apparently know about the Menagerie and are scheming some evil plot to expose and exploit it.

S: Yes, that is a big existential threat for the Menagerie, right? Nobody is supposed to know about it, and the Sterlings were supposed to have drunk kraken ink and forgotten all they had seen and learned about the Menagerie.

C: Well, Mr. and Mrs. Sterling were supposed to not know about the Menagerie. But apparently Jonathan, Jasmine’s brother, dated Zoe’s sister Ruby, and Ruby told him about it. And then Jonathan tried to steal a jackalope. And a jackalope is kind of like a jackrabbit, but it is not a regular one. Its body looks like a rabbit but it has antlers! But also they are magical creatures, and their milk can cure any illness. And they can imitate human voice and fool humans!

S: Yes, they are cool! But back to Jonathan and Ruby.

C: Oh yes. So they have to break up and Jonathan has to drink the kraken ink to forget everything about her and the Menagerie, but the family all has to drink the kraken ink so they can all forget about Ruby as well. So it is very strange that they now know about the Menagerie. And they are only interested in money so they will want to exploit it. And in the middle of all this, Logan’s mom is still missing and the Sterlings seem to have something to do with it…

Caramel is reading The Menagerie: Kraken and Lies by Tui Sutherland and Kari Sutherland.
Caramel is reading The Menagerie: Kraken and Lies by Tui Sutherland and Kari Sutherland.

S: Yes, that is correct. I think you described the central conflicts and plot problems of this book well, Caramel. So tell me, were there any new mythical creatures other than the jackalope that showed up?

C: There is Sapphire, a relative of Blue. She is a merperson.

S: Yes we saw merpeople before, though, no?

C: Well, here we see them a lot better because they go on a strike.

S: That is true; that part was very interesting.

C: And then we get to see the kraken a lot more up close.

S: That is true too.

C: And there is a Chinese dragon!

S: Yes! And the Chinese dragon has a pearl, a special pearl that holds its magic powers.

C: Yeah, that is true.

S: Did you know that Marshmallow has read and reviewed a book titled Dragon Pearl? You might actually like the book. It has all kinds of things you like: mythology, dragons, space ships!

C: Yes, that book sounds like just the kind of thing I would like to read. Maybe I will ask her to lend it to me.

S: I think she would be happy to share. But there were other magical mythical creatures in this book, no?

C: Yes, there was a selkie! A seal person!

S: Yes, that was a nice surprise, wasn’t it?

C: Yes, but now you are the one doing all the spoiling, Sprinkles!

S: Okay, okay, I’ll stop. So let us wrap things up then. Overall, did you like the Menagerie books?

C: Yes I liked them a lot. They are very different from the Wings of Fire books, but they are just as funny! And they are really cool, and I still think Squorp, the griffin cub, is the best ever!

S: Yes, I know. Okay, give me three words to describe the books and we are done.

C: Funny. And breath-taking, because I had to hold my breath a lot of the time, trying to see what would happen next.

S: And your third word?

C: Well-written. I thought the story flowed really well and always kept me on my toes.

S: True. I agree with that. So I think it is time to close this chapter of our lives and say good bye to the Menagerie and our friends Logan, Zoe, and Blue. How do you want to end this review Caramel!

C: By saying my usual words: Stay tuned for more book bunny reviews!

Caramel enjoyed reading The Menagerie: Kraken and Lies by Tui Sutherland and Kari Sutherland and recommends the whole series to all the little bunnies who like magical and mythical creatures.
Caramel enjoyed reading The Menagerie: Kraken and Lies by Tui Sutherland and Kari Sutherland and recommends the whole series to all the little bunnies who like magical and mythical creatures.

Marshmallow reviews Glass Slippers by Leah Cypess

Almost exactly a year ago, Marshmallow reviewed Thornwood by Leah Cypess, a neat retelling of the story of Sleeping Beauty, which started the author’s Sisters Ever After series. Today she reviews the second book in this series, Glass Slippers, which adds some interesting twists to the well-known Cinderella story.

Marshmallow reviews Glass Slippers by Leah Cypess.
Marshmallow reviews Glass Slippers by Leah Cypess.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you like books about sisters, magic, and mystery, or if you enjoy retellings of fairy tales, then this might be the book for you. 

Marshmallow’s Summary (with Spoilers): Tirza is the youngest stepsister of Queen Ella or Cinderella. After Ella became the queen, she banished her two older and wicked stepsisters to a different country but kept Tirza with her because Tirza was only five when Cinderella went to the famous ball.

Queen Ella is always very kind to Tirza, though it seems very artificial. Nobody else in the castle even tries to act kind; they all mistrust her and are cruel to her. Tirza is used to all this, but then she makes a bad mistake. One day, she finds the famous glass slippers out in Queen Ella’s room, and tries them on. Of course she puts them back where she found them, but this doesn’t matter because the slippers disappear and Tirza becomes the only suspect. Naturally nobody believes her when she says that she didn’t do it. Queen Ella nonetheless tries to continue to be nice to her.

Eventually the evidence against her becomes overwhelming and Tirza has to leave the kingdom. She decides to join her older sisters and plan a way to defeat and overthrow Cinderella. But the truth is much more complicated than it seems. Tirza must find out who is really evil: Cinderella or her real sisters or maybe someone else? Along the way, she must also come face to face with the fact that magic is not as nice as she had believed it to be.

Marshmallow is reading Glass Slippers by Leah Cypess.
Marshmallow is reading Glass Slippers by Leah Cypess.

Marshmallow’s Review: I think that Glass Slippers is a very interesting book. Readers of this blog know that I love retellings of fairy tales. But the plot here was so unpredictable! I had no idea that things were going to be so different from the original fairytale. It was also strange to see the fairies and the famous glass slippers of the original story become scarier and actually sort of bad as things evolved. I can’t say more than that because I don’t want to give away too much, but quite a few surprises are on the way for those bunnies who end up reading this book.

I also found it interesting that the characters were all realistic. In fairy tales some people are purely good and you know from the start. And others are really bad and you know from the beginning, too. In Glass Slippers, you don’t know who is good and who is evil until the end. Even so, the ending was quite different than I had expected. 

Marshmallow’s Rating: 95%.

Marshmallow rates Glass Slippers by Leah Cypess 95%.
Marshmallow rates Glass Slippers by Leah Cypess 95%.

Caramel reviews The Menagerie: Dragon on Trial by Tui Sutherland and Kari Sutherland

Today Caramel reviews Dragon on Trial, the second book of The Menagerie series written by Tui Sutherland, the author of Caramel’s beloved Wings of Fire series, and her sister Kari Sutherland. As usual, Sprinkles is taking notes and asking followup questions.

Caramel reviews The Menagerie: Dragon on Trial by Tui Sutherland and Kari Sutherland.
Caramel reviews The Menagerie: Dragon on Trial by Tui Sutherland and Kari Sutherland.

Sprinkles: So Caramel, you read this book really fast!

Caramel: Yes, I did.

S: Was it exciting?

C: Yes.

S: So will you tell us about it?

C: Yes, of course!

S: Do tell!

C: This book starts exactly where the last book, The Menagerie, ended. That book ended with the disappearance of Pelly, the golden egg laying goose. And in this book, the heroes, Logan, Zoe, and Blue, try to find out who killed Pelly.

S: Wait, is Pelly dead?

C: Well, it looks like that, at least in the beginning. But —

S: Wait, don’t tell. I still have not read this one, and I really want to.

C: Yes, you should read it. It is just as exciting as the first book.

S: I found the first book really fun and full of curious things. And a lot of mysteries. Is this one as good as that book?

C: Yes. And there are new magical mythical creatures that we meet, and they are awesome!

S: Can you name one?

C: We finally see and meet the dragons!

S: That’s cool. I know you like dragons a lot. Are the dragons of this book similar to any other dragons we met in any other book?

C: Not really. Scratch is a Western dragon and he can fly and he is big and long, and breathes fire. And all clues point to him being guilty of the death of the goose.

S: I see. So he is the “dragon on trial” that is mentioned in the title of the book. And as usual, things are not what they seem, right?

C: Exactly!

Caramel is reading The Menagerie: Dragon on Trial by Tui Sutherland and Kari Sutherland.
Caramel is reading The Menagerie: Dragon on Trial by Tui Sutherland and Kari Sutherland.

S: So let us move a bit away from the plot so you don’t give away too much by mistake.

C: Okay.

S: Instead maybe we can talk about the characters. Other than the three friends Logan, Zoe, and Blue, do we meet some new important characters?

C: Well, not really. We do get to see the SNAPA agents a few more times. SNAPA stands for SuperNatural Animals Protection Agency.

S: Cool, kind of like a mixture of EPA and the CIA. Right?

C: Yeah, I guess. They are a government agency, trying to protect the mythical animals and they are pretty secretive.

S: Who was your favorite person in this book?

C: My favorite is still Squarp; that is the baby griffin cub that Logan found in his room in the first book.

S: Why is that?

C: Because he is a cute little baby animal!

S: And you are a cute little baby animal, too, so it makes total sense you would like him. He is also very playful and funny; I liked him too, in the first book.

C: You will like him in the second book too!

S: Okay, I think I am quite ready to begin reading the book. How about you? Are you itching to read the third book?

C: Yes!

S: Does this second book also end with a cliffhanger?

C: Kind of. The book ends with them finding out something very serious, a big danger for the menagerie.

S: I can’t wait to find out more! So let us wrap this up so we can both get reading. What do you want to tell our readers?

C: Stay tuned for more book bunny reviews!

Caramel loved reading The Menagerie: Dragon on Trial by Tui Sutherland and Kari Sutherland, and he cannot wait to get started on the third and last book of the series. Stay tuned!
Caramel loved reading The Menagerie: Dragon on Trial by Tui Sutherland and Kari Sutherland, and he cannot wait to get started on the third and last book of the series. Stay tuned!

Caramel reviews The Menagerie by Tui Sutherland and Kari Sutherland

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.

Caramel reviews The Menagerie by Tui Sutherland and Kari Sutherland.
Caramel reviews The Menagerie by Tui Sutherland and Kari Sutherland.

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.

Caramel is reading The Menagerie by Tui Sutherland and Kari Sutherland.
Caramel is reading The Menagerie by Tui Sutherland and Kari Sutherland.

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!

After some reluctance to begin, Caramel devoured The Menagerie by Tui Sutherland and Kari Sutherland, and now is itching to read the next two books in the series.
After some reluctance to begin, Caramel devoured The Menagerie by Tui Sutherland and Kari Sutherland, and now is itching to read the next two books in the series.