The Cage by Megan Shepherd
Series: The Cage #1
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: May 26th 2015
Source: Publisher [Edelweiss]
As soon as I heard the synopsis for The Cage I was instantly intrigued. Teenagers that have been taken from Earth and put into some kind of Alien zoo where they're being monitored? Yes, please!
The Cage started off pretty good. It follows Cora and four other teenagers (Nok, Lucky, Leon and Rolf) who wake up in an extremely strange place with different kinds of environments like deserts, jungles, tundra, etc. They have to work together to complete the challenges in each environment to earn tokens, but that's got it's own problems. When Cassian - their alien caretakers - appears, Cora starts to develop feelings for him that cause even more problems for her.
The plot wasn't great. I was intrigued to begin with because the premise was interesting and I really wanted to know why the five of them had been taken, but it started to get boring. The plot became extremely predictable and it became so easy to see what the next twist was going to be. But, that being said, The Cage did have some pretty good twist that I didn't expect. And the rules that the teenagers had to live by caused a few arguments and fights. I can't remember them exactly, but they were basically: 1. Solve the puzzles in the different environments 2. Stay healthy and lastly, 3. Reproduce. Obviously the reproduction rule caused the most problems because I think (if I remember correctly) they only had 21 days to do it.
I also wasn't a major fan of any of the characters. Cora was determined to find a way out of the prison and get back to Earth, but honestly, she didn't really do much other than air her thoughts for most of the book. She was kind of a boring main character. Lucky was obsessed with Cora because he was involved in something in her past and he's trying to find a way to tell her and make up for it. Leon is the macho man of the group and he lives up to that. He flies of the handle very easily and ends up spending his time alone. Rolf and Nox were both really forgettable. I don't remember much about them at all.
The romance that developed between Cora and Cassian was... weird. Extremely weird. It was basically a case of Stockholm Syndrome. His species had kidnapped her and she fell in love with one of them. I just didn't get it. It never felt like there was actually anything between them. I wasn't a fan.
The ending did provide a good twist however that has definitely left me intrigued about how the next book is going to go.
Overall, The Cage was an entertaining read but the plot was predictable and I didn't find any of the characters likeable. The twists kept me interested and I may pick up the next book.