Published by Strawberry Moon Press (1st June 2020)
My rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Ambrose Davids is down on his luck. He’s jobless, his girlfriend just broke up with him and he is flat broke. So when he is approached by a strange woman baring a silver whistle who claims she is from some kind of council, he accepts the proffered job, no matter how impossible it sounds. What follows is Ambrose learning that all the fantastical beasts that his father told him about, are real, getting himself embroiled in plots that wind up with him being suspected of murder and finding out that not all the weird and wonderful creatures he comes across are friendly. Can he survive long enough to get back on his feet?
The Mythical Menagerie is a serial publication, this volume contains the first series of the episodic releases that follow Ambrose, the creatures he encounters and the people he meets. I read the first release of this series around a year ago, I believe I came across the first instalment in a freebie ebook email (I could be wrong though.. my memory ain’t what it used to be hahaha), and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it. So when the opportunity arose to continue with the series and see what happened, I jumped at the chance.
This is an urban fantasy that steeps a lot of it’s creatures in folklore which I think is fantastic. Having these beautiful, strange creatures associated to the myths and legends that we know them from really made the story come alive for me. I don’t want to go into too much detail because I don’t want to give anything away, but there is one particular creature that we meet near the end of the book and I had a feeling it was what I thought it was due to the location of said beast, and when it turned out that I was right, I may have done a little giddy jig because I just loved that this particular beast was included. My favourite is the gelato eating creature in…Rome? I believe it is?
The character of Ambrose is well written and I love that he has his battles with his own morality, there was one point where I wanted to throttle him because he didn’t seem to care what the presence of something meant to not just one particular creature, but all the creatures in the repository, but other than that, he’s a fun relatable character and I love where he ended up by the end of this story. I found that the instalment that followed Amari was actually my favourite, I loved seeing things from her perspective and being able to get inside her head, so to speak. As always, Daniel, Ambrose’s best mate, is a hoot and a half and I just LOVE his rainbow.
I did find that at a couple of points, the pacing seemed to drop off for me, but that may have been me and not the story itself, I’ve had a few flat days and things tend to become uninteresting to me when that happens. I found myself needing to know what happened next, so to me, that’s a sign of a well paced and intriguing novel.
All in all, I enjoyed revisiting Ambrose and his topsy turvy world, and I look forwaréd to see what trouble he gets into next!