“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?”
Thoughts on the Novel: Imagine being with your family or friends one moment, and then inexplicably waking up in a strange place filled with impossible biodiversity and little else. Now imagine realizing that someone is observing your every movement. Not only does it completely change the way one views zoos and other such enclosures, it is a frightening thought to be so suddenly thrust into the unknown where privacy is no longer an option. Thus is the scenario facing Cora in the opening pages Megan Shepherd’s The Cage.
What follows after those first heart-pumping pages is a twisty spin in another world, where strangers must become lovers or risk punishment, where answers are anything but straightforward, and where those who can do the most harm can also be the most helpful. Ms. Shepherd’s unusual world of aliens, enclosures, telepathic powers, and survival of the fittest is exciting and different. Aliens are not as popular in the young adult science fiction/fantasy realm as other supernatural creatures, but Ms. Shepherd does a great job envisioning otherworldly beings and the lives they might lead.
The Cage is exciting and just plain different. The answers remain nebulous, but readers will not mind given just how much does occur throughout the novel. The aliens Cora encounters are repellant and yet fascinating, as is the world Cora now inhabits. The Cage certainly makes one reconsider visiting the zoo, but it also explores the duties other species have to protect endangered ones. Action-packed and yet thoughtful, it is a series worth starting.