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 the animals she has come to care for.
What would you do if you were abducted by aliens and told you were now the sole caretaker of an interstellar zoo? This is exactly what happens to the main character, Karen Fox. Not only does she have a dislike for pets, she has no experience in caring for them, much less alien animals. Caring for the critters is the only way she will get back home to earth, however, so she steps up to the task. As if taking care of the menagerie of unusual animals wasn't enough, Karen soon finds herself tangled in a web of deadly poachers, toxic planets, and a malfunctioning spacecraft.
I really enjoyed the fast pacing of this novel. It didn't take long to jump right into the action. The detailed descriptions of the world's and animals were great. Having a YA target audience is perfect for this novel as it has a very strong message of acceptance, not only of others but of yourself, as well. My only complaint would be the lack of emotion in some areas but it would not dissuade me from reading this book. If you enjoy a fast-paced story with plenty of action, twists and turns, and some cuddly (or not so cuddly) critters, then I would recommend The Menagerie. Just be careful you don't step in Malurian dragon snot and be mindful of the canarians...they bite.
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