Suzie Grogan's Reviews > Jamrach's Menagerie

Jamrach's Menagerie by Carol Birch
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's review
Aug 14, 2011

liked it

Well this is a tough one to review but I really feel I must.

Firstly - please do not read this book if you are at all squeamish. In my view it has been marketed incorrectly. The edition I read, and the paperback in most bookshops shows a jolly looking ship under a sky of twinkling stars. Admittedly, the story starts like an adventure story for 12 year olds - beautifully written, poetic and colourful and filling your senses with the sights and smells of Victorian London.

But when the shipboard adventure starts it becomes clearer that this is a book filled with impending, and then real horror. The children quickly have to grow up and this becomes a very adult adventure.I can't give too much away but if you can't face reading detailed descriptions of tragic, gruesome and often stomach churning deaths then don't read this book. And certainly don't get it for children.

So, having lost one star for the reasons given above, it then loses another for blinding us to a slow plot and sketchy characters (some of the crew members, who are named more and more frequently towards the end are impossible to conjure up properly at all)with beautiful language. I finished it, but with a feeling that it was less of a book than it might have been.

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