Title: The Cage
Author: Megan Shepherd
Publication Date: May 26, 2015
Excerpt from Goodreads:
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?
Cora wakes up in the middle of a desert with no recollection of how she got there. She soon finds a girl on a beach who appears to be dead. Cora is then approached by a boy named Lucky. They eventually agree to explore the area. Cora and Lucky come across three more people, Rolf, Leon, and Nok, in an odd, little town. After they all wake up the next morning, someone materializes right in front of them. This person, or better yet creature, is described as a huge being with gold skin and eyes that are completely black. He introduces him as their “Caretaker.” The Caretaker states that he part of an alien species called the “Kindred.” He also states that if they want to live in the facility (cage), they must follow three rules. They must solve the mental and physical puzzles inside the facility, provide their bodies with all the means necessary to live (i.e. eat/sleep), and reproduce. Yes, you read that right, REPRODUCE. They are given twenty-one days to follow every rule and if they do not follow those rules, they will be “removed” from the facility.
This story is told through the perspective of each human, including another human we meet along the way, Mali. While we get point of views from each human, we get the most from Cora. Cora’s first and foremost thought is what she needs to do to escape the cage and go home. Everyone agrees with her at first, but over time they begin to enjoy their time in the cage and begin to forget about escaping. I understood Cora’s desperation for escaping, but there were a few times she got on my nerves with her ridiculous ideas of escaping. Let’s try to strangle the aliens with guitar strings! The same aliens that can shock you if you touch their skin. Sounds like a GREAT idea!
As for the other characters, I seriously hated Rof, Nok, and Lucky. I don’t hate hate Lucky, but I didn’t like him in the least. Lucky has past with Cora, a past only he knows about. The decisions he made in his past have affected Cora directly and instead of handling a certain situation the correct way, he took the weak way out. Maybe I’m being a bit harsh, but hey, that’s how I feel. I didn’t like Nok from the beginning because she chose to lie about silly and trivial things and the decisions she makes later on in the story make me truly despise her. I actually really liked Rof in the beginning. He’s is sweet and smart (I’m a sucker for the smart/nerdy ones). As time goes on, he becomes very possessive and controlling and you can’t help but hate him. Especially when he and Nok are together. *Shudder* I wasn’t a huge fan of Leon in the beginning, but you can’t help but feel sorry for him. I think there is much more to Leon than we get to read, but that fact that Nok could so easily manipulate him was pretty disappointing.
Then we have Cassian, aka “The Caretaker.” Cora finds herself attracted to him, even though she initially hates him. Cassian has been watching Cora for years on Earth before he decided to take her. Cora begins to know more about Cassian and her interest in him grows over time. I love aliens, so I’ll kinda loved the alien and human love interest (The Doctor and Rose, anyone?). There was a slight love triangle with Lucky’s interest in Cora, but I think the only reason she was remotely interested in him was because they were “paired.” I feel like this love triangle was a necessary evil and hopefully there will be no more of this in the second installment.
This story grabbed me from the start and didn’t loosen it’s grip for one moment. The ending is a serious cliffhanger and leaves you with a ton of questions. You are left with no choice but to absolutely read the next book! I’m a huge fan on Shepherd’s so I have no worries about the next installment being wonderful!
4 out of 5 stars
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