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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Cage by Megan Shepherd (Review + Giveaway)

http://www.rockstarbooktours.com/2015/05/tour-schedule-cage-by-megan-shepherd.html

I am thrilled to be a stop on the book tour for The Cage by Megan Shepherd hosted by Rockstar Book Tours! Today, I have a review for your reading pleasure, but be sure to check out the tour schedule below, or click the banner above, for more!
Don't forget to enter the giveaway!



Series:
The Cage #1
Genre:
Young Adult, Science Fiction, Aliens,
Publication.Date:May 26, 2015
Pages:400 (ARC paperback)
Published By:  Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins
Website:Megan Shepherd 

The Cage on Goodreads
My review copy:
Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Where to get:

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 Daughter trilogy.

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?

(Goodreads)



Quotes taken from an ARC and are subject to change
They set off down a path made of a material that looked like pavement but felt softer, almost spongy, through a meadow of tall grasses. It was all uncannily beautiful, but that only set off Cora's nerves. Beauty had a way of masking something darker.
She wanted answers. Why had he saved her from the Warden. Why she got more tokens than everyone else. If all humans felt a spark of electricity when he touched them, or if it was just her. Her shaking fingertips coiled into her palms, making a tight fist against the panel. In her dreams, she thought he was an angel. A beautiful face to chase away the nightmares. He was beautiful. But instead of taking her away from nightmares, he had brought her into one.
"Obey the rules. Please."

It was no longer an order. It was a request, and one of the few times Cora had heard his voice sound anything other than mechanical. "I'm not the only one watching you," he said. "I cannot protect you forever."
He slumped against the bed, moaning.

Tears spilled from her eyes as she held on to him and murmured apology after apology, hating what she had done, hating the Kindred for making him into this twister person.


There's an old Twilight Zone episode that I love ("People Are Alike All Over") that deals with this topic - people zoo! - and after I read the synopsis for The Cage I knew I had to read Megan Shepherd's take on this.

The story is told mostly through Cora's perspective, but we do get a few chapters from the five other captives (Lucky, Rolf, Nok, Lean, and Mali). Cassian soon introduces himself as a member of the Kindred, "the most advanced among the intelligent species and as such, take responsibility for overseeing lesser races," like humans, and have taken these individuals as they posses qualities the Kindred find desirable. After learning that they have indeed been abducted, and only have about 21 days to bang it out or be "relocated," Cora decides she is going to escape. Which is where I have my biggest issue with The Cage, along with my love/hate toward Cora herself.

Cora, having just been released from juvenile detention, has had enough of being held prisoner. She attempts to enlist that help of the others, with only Lucky being her supporter. I completely understand not wanting to live in an alien zoo and having the desire to go home, but where are you going to go? How are you going to get home? You're not in the depths of a jungle in Africa, you're on an alien planet.

However, her determination to go home and refusal to procreate because the Kindred said so makes her more admirable than the other characters who just accept their fate. There are moments where I wanted Cora to just stop and accept her fate and other times where I am rooting for her. She is a strong and determined character whose refusal to accept her new life might just be what saves them all. Maybe, there are still two books to go  :)

There is a bit of downtime throughout the plot. Things aren't really happening but the reader, along with our characters, are getting used to the world and their new existence. The Cage definitely reads like first novel in a series, but while there is a lot of "wandering around," the plot doesn't feel long and drawn out. I wish I could go more into detail about this but I don't want to spoil things for you and, despite lack of action, there are a few rather interesting aspects that I loved being surprised by.

In all honestly, I was nervous throughout reading this book because it's a trilogy and I didn't want to read three books of these people being stuck in their cage, Cora trying to escape, and everyone else telling her to just deal with it. But oh buddy, that ending! The ending blew me away - it was amazing! So while The Cage does have it's moments where the plot seems drawn out and you're just waiting for something to happen, it's all worth it once you get passed that halfway mark and you're itching to get your hands on book two!






Megan Shepherd grew up in the mountains of Western North Carolina, where her family has owned and operated an independent bookstore for over 35 years. Shepherd attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she majored in international studies and went on to live and work in Costa Rica, Senegal, Scotland, Spain, and many other countries. Now, Shepherd has returned to Western North Carolina and is a full-time writer of young adult novels. She is represented by Josh Adams of Adams Literary.

Author Photo by Kristi Hedberg Photography




 
Tour Schedule

5/18/2015- No BS Book Reviews- Interview
5/19/2015- Me, My Shelf and I- Review
5/20/2015- Bewitched bookworms- Guest Post
5/21/2015- Seeing Double In Neverland- Review
5/22/2015- Novel Novice- Interview

***

5/25/2015- Fiktshun- Guest Post
5/26/2015- Bookish- Review
5/27/2015- The Eater of Books!- Interview
5/28/2015- Such a Novel Idea- Review
5/29/2015- Two Chicks on Books- Guest Post



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