The Cage (The Cage #1) by Megan Shepherd
Source: Hardcover and ARC provided by Edelweiss
Goodreads link: (click here)
What's it about?
The last thing Cora Mason remembers before waking up alone in the desert is being in Virginia and driving in a car with her brother on the way to a ski resort. She quickly realizes that she's nowhere near there right now. She has no idea where she is, but it's hot and she's wearing strange clothing that's definitely not her own. As she explores the arid landscape, she notices something even more unsettling. The desert is right next to a beach, which is right next to a farm, which is right next to a jungle and a tundra and an odd little town. How can this be? Where is she? Just as she's beginning to reach a critical level of panic, she realizes that she's not alone. There are four other teenagers from all over the world who've been "taken" and placed here . . . wherever here is. Well, there were actually five others, but one of them was found dead. Together, this group of abductees must try to figure out what's going on and why they seem to be captives in this strange human zoo. There is one thing they know for sure; they are being watched. There are creepy black windows in every habitat and they can see movement behind them. It also seems that they are being led through this new environment and pushed into playing games and solving puzzles. Who is behind this and what do they really want? Soon, they will find out.
Just when they think things can't get any more bizarre, a seven-foot-tall, bronze skinned (and oddly handsome) alien named Cassian appears and reveals himself as their "Caretaker". He confirms that they are, in fact, basically living in a zoo. Cassian assures them that it's for their own good, and they can live out their lives in peace as long as they follow the rules set by their alien captors. They are told that there is no hope of returning to their previous lives, so cooperation is their best chance at survival. A few of the captives are willing to accept this, but others are not. Cora will do anything to escape and does her best to rally everyone to follow her plan. She will not live out her life as if she's nothing more than an animal for some freaky space creatures to gawk at. Unfortunately, the longer they are trapped in this zoo, the more they begin to have trust issues with each other. Some of them are staring to settle in, some are beginning to lose their minds and all are doubting each other's motives. After all, every one of them had something to hide when they came into this otherworldly experiment. But Cora will not back down. At the same time she's trying to find a way out, she's also getting closer to her captor, Cassian. He tries to show her the consequences of getting caught trying to escape, and he seems to truly care about her. But once they all discover the shocking truth about why they are all there, Cora is even more determined to escape. She believes that her freedom is worth any risks the aliens throw at her. She cannot live her life in an alien Cage.
WHOA! That book was cuh-RAZY! And different! Holy smokes! Wow. A human zoo, aliens, danger, paranoia, excitement, romance and lots of twists and turns had my pulse pounding and my blood pressure skyrocketing! This sci-fi thriller is truly unique and I definitely enjoyed it!
I actually read this a few weeks ago but I'm just now getting a chance to review it, but that was my initial reaction to The Cage. I wrote it down immediately after finishing the book. I wanted to capture my true emotions. Now, a few weeks out, I'll be a little more calm and collected.
I would consider The Cage sci-fi, because, obviously . . . aliens! At first I wasn't sure about the whole alien romance thing, but I came around. They start out as these strange creatures, but the farther I got into the book, the more Cassian became "human-like" in his emotions and demeanor. I started to feel like I could understand him more. I don't know, by the end I think I suffered a bit from book induced Stockholm syndrome, because that big, bronze extraterrestrial won me over, dammit! Which is why that ending . . . well, I can't say anything else about it, but it broke me.
The Cage was also a little bit of a psychological thriller. The characters are all being "tested" by their captors, as if in some sort of experiment, and it was interesting to see how they all reacted to the pressures and mind games they were a part of. Some of them didn't handle things too well, which added elements of danger and suspense to the plot.
Overall, The Cage was unique, complex, creative and exciting. It was also a little bit disturbing, but in a good way. I do have to say that it's pretty dark, but I'm definitely ok with that. I absolutely adore Megan Shepherd's writing, too. She was able to make me feel completely immersed in this creepy world she created. I'm an admitted sci-fi junkie, and this gets two thumbs up from me. It's more like subtle sci-fi that makes you think. Cool book. Very cool book. And I NEED the next one!