The Cage and The Hunt by Megan Shepherd – Review

May 24, 2016 Reviews 21 ★★★½

The CageThe Cage by Megan Shepherd
Series: The Cage #1
Published by Balzer & Bray on 5/26/15
Genres: Young Adult, Sci FiFantasy
Pages: 405
Source: Edelweiss
My content rating: YA (Nothing more than kissing)
My rating:
3.5 Stars

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?

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My Take copy3

The Cage is an extremely unique story. Cora and four other teenagers find themselves in a strange copy of the earth – where four completely different climates and landscapes converge. They can’t figure out what’s happening to them at first, but it doesn’t take long for them to discover that they aren’t even on Earth anymore – they’ve been taken captive by aliens called Kindred who view humans as lower life forms. They’re given a few simple but somewhat mysterious and/or unfortunate rules – keep themselves healthy, complete the random puzzles that are found around their enclosure, and procreate.

Cora isn’t happy to be a lab rat, and she’s intent on finding a way out, but complications ensue when she starts to feel something for Cassian – one of the kindred. And when they realize what’s outside of their cage walls, no one’s particularly sure they want to escape.

What Fed My Addiction:

  • The mysteries. There were quite a few mysteries that kept me guessing throughout this book. Who were the Kindred and why had they taken these particular humans captive (it didn’t seem to be random). What was the deal with the weird puzzles they had to complete. Why did the Kindred seem to want to cause friction within the group (especially where Cora was concerned)? What was beyond the Cage and was Cassian really on Cora’s side? It took up until almost the very end to discover some of these answers, and a few of the twists were surprising!
  • Crazy cage world. The Cage itself was pretty fascinating, even if the science behind what it was and how it worked sometimes broke my brain to think about.
  • Relationships. The relationships between all of these characters were intriguing and complex. And those relationships had a huge impact on how each character responded to being caged. I found all of the interactions between the characters really interesting!
  • Cassian. I loved that Shepherd didn’t try to make Cassian too human. He didn’t think like a person, and he often didn’t understand their actions or motivations. His differences from humans were what made him truly interesting!

What Left Me Wanting More:

  • Characters’ actions weren’t always believable. The one thing that bugged me about this book was how Cora thought she could plan an escape or do ANYTHING in secret once she knew that the Kindred can read minds (which they learned pretty early on in the book, so it’s not much of a spoiler). She was working on blocking them out, but no one else was, and it wasn’t like she was trying to keep her actions secret from the others. The fact that the Kindred could read minds just made everything else that happened seem nearly impossible – until the end when things made more sense (I won’t tell you how). But I just didn’t understand what Cora thought she was accomplishing or why she thought she was getting away with any of it. There were some other instances where the characters’ actions didn’t make a lot of sense to me, but I feel like they’re too specific to mention without spoiling things, so I won’t.

Overall, I enjoyed this one, even if it did have some moments that had me scratching my head a bit. I was happy to be able to jump right into the second installment! I give this book 3.5/5 stars.

***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***

If you haven’t read The Cage yet, I’d stop here and skip my review of The Hunt (it will contain spoilers for the first book!)


The Hunt by Megan ShepherdThe Hunt
Series: The Cage #2
Published by Balzer & Bray on 5/24/16
Genres: Young Adult, Sci FiFantasy
Pages: 368
Source: Edelweiss
My content rating: YA (Nothing more than kissing)
My rating:
4 Stars

They’ve left the cage—but they’re not free yet.

After their failed escape attempt, Cora, Lucky, and Mali have been demoted to the lowest level of human captives and placed in a safari-themed environment called the Hunt, along with wild animals and other human outcasts. They must serve new Kindred masters—Cora as a lounge singer, Lucky as an animal wrangler, and Mali as a safari guide—and follow new rules or face dangerous consequences. Meanwhile, Nok and Rolf have been moved into an enormous dollhouse, observed around the clock by Kindred scientists interested in Nok’s pregnancy. And Leon, the only one who successfully escaped, has teamed up with villainous Mosca black-market traders.

The former inhabitants of the Cage are threatened on all fronts—and maybe worst of all, one of the Hunt’s Kindred safari guests begins to play a twisted game of cat and mouse with Cora. Separated and constantly under watch, she and the others must struggle to stay alive, never mind find a way back to each other. When Cassian secretly offers to train Cora to develop her psychic abilities—to prove the worthiness of humanity in a series of tests called the Gauntlet—she’ll have to decide fast if she dares to trust the Kindred who betrayed her, or if she can forge her own way to freedom.

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 My Take copy3

This second book in the series picks up right where The Cage left off. Everyone but Leon is placed in a menagerie that depicts some sort of safari, while Leon has escaped and is working for the Mosca. Cassian convinces Cora that the only way for them (and the rest of humanity) to survive, she must learn to control her psychic powers and participate in the Gauntlet, therefore proving that humans truly are an intelligent species. But while Cora agrees, she doesn’t want to play by Kindred rules. She has a plan to use her uniquely human traits to succeed at the Gauntlet and free herself and the rest of humanity.

What Fed My Addiction:

  • Completely different than the first book. You know how sometimes the middle book in a series can feel a whole lot like the first book? We’ve already learned a lot about the fantasy (or, in this case, sci fi) setting, so there doesn’t feel like there’s a lot of new discoveries? Well, this book wasn’t like that. Since pretty much the entire first book took place in the Cage, we didn’t get to see much else of the world that Cora and company were now inhabiting. But in this second book, we get a whole new menagerie (two, actually) and we get to see a bit of the “outside” world as well, especially with Leon. I really liked seeing this other side of the sci fi world that Shepherd created! This book also had a completely different focus, since most of the mysteries of the first book had been solved and now Cora was trying to master her psychic abilities.
  • Higher stakes. I felt like the stakes in this book were a bit higher. In the first book, you almost felt like Cora and friends could have just stayed in the Cage forever – it wouldn’t have been a particularly fulfilling existence, but for most of the book, I didn’t feel like they were on the precipice of dying or anything (although Cora did get herself into enough trouble that it was always a possibility). But in this second book, there was more of a feeling that humans were disposable. At any time, Cora or one of her friends could have been deemed “useless” and discarded. Plus, if the wrong people found out that she was developing abilities, they wouldn’t hesitate to get rid of her. In general, I just felt the danger quotient in this book was higher, and therefore it was more exciting.
  • The ending. Once again, this book ended in a way that changed everything. I’m really eager to see where Shepherd heads with the next book!

What Left Me Wanting More:

  • Safari? The whole safari thing seemed like kind of a weird setting (but the Kindred were kind of fascinated by weird human settings, so…) And, while I appreciated Lucky’s love of the animals in the safari setting, I couldn’t quite get behind his crusade for them – not when there were actual humans dying and being treated like animals themselves (though, I guess that was kind of one of the points of the book – the way we treat animals as “lesser” creatures was parallelled with how humans were treated by the Kindred).

Enjoyed this one even more than the first, and it has me excited to (eventually) dive into book three!! I give this one 4/5 stars.

***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***

About the Author:

Megan-ShepherdMegan Shepherd was “born” into the book world, growing up in her parents’ independent bookstore in Western North Carolina. She is the author of THE MADMAN’S DAUGHTER trilogy (Balzer+Bray/2013), and THE CAGE trilogy (Balzer+Bray/2015). When Megan is not writing, she can usually be found horseback riding, day dreaming at coffee shops, or hiking in the beautiful Blue Ridge mountains. She is represented by Josh Adams at Adams Literary.

 

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Author Links:
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21 Responses to “The Cage and The Hunt by Megan Shepherd – Review”

  1. JennRenee

    I read the Cage and I really enjoyed it. I don’t remember too much but I did like it. I will need to reread it before I read the second. It makes me happy you liked the second book more and that it was different… not the same thing as the first or a boring middle book. great review. I will need to start this series over so I can get to the second book.

  2. Rabiah

    I really want to start this series because I loved Shepherd’s MADMAN’S DAUGHTER trilogy, but sad that there were a few elements missing from THE CAGE (although it seems like you liked THE HUNT wayyyy better, haha). Gonna have to check this one out soon! Great review(s) (I couldn’t read the second one, so yeah I’m sure the second review was great too :P)!! 😀

  3. Karen Blue

    I really enjoyed both of these books. You described the second book so much better then I could have. Great job on that. I did love how the second book didn’t suffer by being second, it was just as good. I can’t wait to see what happens net for these characters. Great reviews!

  4. Zeee @ I Heart Romance & YA

    Aww I didn’t really get The Cage so it was a DNF for me… and I love Megan Sheperd’s The Madman’s Daughter series! This may be a revisit for me to see if I actually will like it!

    I admit to skipping the review for The Hunt so I won’t spoil myseld whe I reread it…

    What turned me off was Cora. I had a hard time understanding her, especially when she met Cassian. *shrugs* for some reason I see Cassian as an alien that looked like the alien race that created the clones in Stat Wars attack of the clones. LOL

    Zeee @ I Heart Romance & YA recently posted: Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Enjoyed More on My Second Reading
    • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

      Yeah, I was never completely feeling the romance between Cassian and Cora, but there was enough intrigue in the book to keep me interested. I liked the second book better – maybe wait until the third book comes out and see what people think?

  5. Jessica @ a GREAT read

    I only read The Cage review! I have this thing where I don’t read reviews unless I’m caught up in the series, so since I still need to start it, I only read the review of The Cage! LOL! Primarily for spoiler purposes of course! I thought this one sounded pretty awesome so I picked it up last year and there it sits in my TBR mountain still. And somewhere buried inside is also Megan’s first series!! I have too much to read and not enough free time to read it all! Glad to hear The Cage was an exciting read! Very nice review!

  6. Jazmen Greene

    I was not pleased with the first book, like at all. But I can admit that I’m a little curious. I might borrow this one from the library. Nice review!

  7. tonyalee

    I’ve actually never heard of this series – which is weird – but it sounds like something I would really like!!! (I kinda skimmed lol)

  8. Lisa Bedford

    I read the Cage and I truly appreciated it. I should begin this arrangement once again so I can get to the second book. I don’t recollect excessively however I liked it. I should rehash it before I read the second. It makes me upbeat you enjoyed the second book progressively and that it was unique… not an indistinguishable thing from the first or an exhausting center book. extraordinary audit.

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