Publisher: Balzer + Brary
Released: May 26, 2015
Source: Edelweiss/Harper Teen
Format: E-Book, 400 pages
Genre: YA, Science Fiction
The Maze Runner meets Scott Westerfeld in this gripping new series about teens held captive in a human zoo by an otherworldly race. From Megan Shepherd, the acclaimed author of The Madman's Daughtertrilogy.
When Cora Mason wakes in a desert, she doesn't know where she is or who put her there. As she explores, she finds an impossible mix of environments—tundra next to desert, farm next to jungle, and a strangely empty town cobbled together from different cultures—all watched over by eerie black windows. And she isn't alone.
Four other teenagers have also been taken: a beautiful model, a tattooed smuggler, a secretive genius, and an army brat who seems to know too much about Cora's past. None of them have a clue as to what happened, and all of them have secrets. As the unlikely group struggles for leadership, they slowly start to trust each other. But when their mysterious jailer—a handsome young guard called Cassian—appears, they realize that their captivity is more terrifying than they could ever imagine: Their captors aren't from Earth. And they have taken the five teenagers for an otherworldly zoo—where the exhibits are humans.
As a forbidden attraction develops between Cora and Cassian, she realizes that her best chance of escape might be in the arms of her own jailer—though that would mean leaving the others behind. Can Cora manage to save herself and her companions? And if so . . . what world lies beyond the walls of their cage?
Megan Shepherd, author of the Madman's Daughter trilogy, returns with a brand new trilogy called The Cage. This time out, Shepherd spins a Science Fiction whopper of a tale where Humans are taken and used as pets, experiments, and other less admirable positions by an alien race called the Kindred. 16-year old Cora Mason and four other teenagers from various nationalities (Lucky, Rok, Rolf and Leon) wake up in a controlled environment, call it a zoo if you will, and a very long way from home.
Even though Cora is the main character of the book, Shepherd alternates POV's from time to time between the four other teenagers to keep things interesting, which makes for a lot less questions as to what the rest of the group is doing. The group is told that they have Twenty-One days to prove they are worthy to continue existing by following three specific rules:
1. Decode the puzzles hidden inside their custody for tokens which they can trade in for prizes. 2. Provide their body everything necessary in order to stay healthy, including sleeping and eating what they are provided. 3. Reproduce to assure the continuation of the human species which they've been told no longer exists.
Cora is the daughter of a Senator. She spent 18 months behind bars for a choice she made, right or wrong, you'll have to make up your own mind on the matter, and how it was done. She believes that the Alien Cassian is an Angel, until things are cleared up. She's the only one in the group not to give up hope about going home again. She tries to find an exit from the madness, but is blocked. There is also someone giving Cora a bit of an advantage over the others. An advantage that isn't well received. Cora is a bit naive yes, but if you truly read into her actions, and thoughts, I believe she has enough positives to outweigh any negatives.
I choose to believe that the clues were there all the time for Cora to figure out what was truly happening. I choose not to believe there is a 3-way love triangle between Cora, Lucky, and this super alien Cassian, who has beautiful eyes, and a face of an Angel. I choose to not blame, but feel sorry for Cora for being pushed and pulled into being ostracized from her control group, and reaching out to another person who made her feel like she was worthy, and not because someone was trying to make up for what happened to her on Earth, IE Lucky.
I'm not going to touch on the other characters all that much, but I will summarize. Rolf is a genius, but that doesn't exactly thrill me. Nok was taken away from her home, and ended up in pretty sick situation. Leon is just a total mess, and I still have no idea if he was truly insane, or just faking it until he was able to make things go his way. Mali, however, I believe we have just skimmed the surface of what she is capable of. She's the mystery ingredient in the recipe, and I do home that Shepherd unveils more of her in time. Lucky is the boy who has a goal, and a whole lot to make up for.
There was a whammy of a twist in the story which you can pretty much either figure it out, or be stymied right until the revelation. There is even a Cagey ending to the story. Get it? Cagey? I do appreciate the overall world building. We get a look not only at the environment Cora and crew are expected to live in, but yet another expansive setting in which we take a peek into the world of the Kindred and other species. I'm all in for continuing this series. I can't just leave things as they are without finding out if Cora and gang find a way home, or if they become more slaves to the Kindred.
**I received this book for free from (Balzer & Bray) via (Edelweiss) in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**