The Menagerie // by Tui T. Sutherland & Kari Sutherland


//published 2013//

So first off, this is the first book in the next series that I am going to read.  Technically, this means I ought to have finished The Codex Alera first… but I haven’t.  The last book is still sitting right on my desk, where I look at it and think about it pretty frequently.  The problems are twofold: first, I really, really, really liked this series… so what if the last book flops? Doesn’t wrap things up right? Does something to ruin my favorite characters??  Basically, I’m scared.  Secondly, these books take a huge emotional toll on me, and all I want to do when I am reading them is, well, read them!  And I just don’t have time for that right now.  So, someday I will finish the series by reading First Lord’s Fury.  Until then…  well, I’m taking things a little easier by reading this children’s series, The Menagerie.

Logan, who is in seventh grade (about age 13), is adjusting to life in a small, rural town in Wyoming.  Logan has been through a lot of changes in the last year.  Not only has he moved to Wyoming from Chicago, his mom left Logan and his dad without even saying goodbye – she just sent them a postcard saying that she was ready for a new life.  Logan’s dad gave up his job as a lawyer and became a wildlife officer in Wyoming – which, coincidentally, is where that last postcard from Logan’s mom was postmarked: Logan’s dad hasn’t given up on finding her.

However, all that is mere background to the story.  The actual story begins when Logan finds a griffin cub in his bedroom.  Soon, Logan has joined forces with two of his classmates – Zoe and Blue.  Together, they are in a race against the clock to find the griffin’s siblings and get everything back in order in a top-secret facility that Zoe’s family has guarded for centuries: the Menagerie.

I completely enjoyed this book.  Logan, Zoe, and Blue are all very likable, and I enjoyed the fact that they were able to get along as friends throughout the story (read: no romantic crushes, THANK YOU).  Logan is lonely, and it was fun to watch him become friends with this unlikely duo.  The fact that Logan has a natural ability with the wild creatures of the Menagerie added to the fun.  Overall, the Sutherlands do a good job of keeping the story moving, and while we get some conclusions in this book, there are plenty of open plot-lines to lead into the next.

A 4/5, and definitely recommended – I think that middle schoolers (especially ones who love animals) would enjoy this fast-paced and entertaining romp.