Title: The Cage (The Cage #1)
Author: Megan Shepherd
Publication Date: May 26, 2015
Summary: 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?
The dreaded love triangle strikes again, ruining what could have been a really unique and interesting story. Okay, actually to be fair, it wasn’t the love triangle specifically that ruined this book for me, it was the weird uncomfortable romance between Cora and Cassian. Cora and Lucky, the other point on the love triangle, well I don’t ship them by any means but at least their romance didn’t make me want to claw my face off.
Initially I was super intrigued by this book. Strangers wake up, trapped in a place with different climates and weird fake towns, games with tokens for prizes, and an alien race that’s keeping them there like pets. I never read about aliens so I was really excited to see an interesting alien culture, evilly imprisoning humans for their own entertainment. So I was a little confused and disappointed when Cora starts babbling about the “angel” she saw, only to find out it’s Cassian, their gorgeous alien jailer. It was literally at this point in the book that I knew things were going to go downhill at a rapid pace. The romance between Cora and Cassian honestly just made me uncomfortable most of the time and then it annoyed me that they were supposedly in love after spending very little time together. Not to mention that he is an alien keeping them all trapped in a cage and messing with their minds for amusement. I found the romance between the two of them completely unbelievable and honestly, kind of hard to read. The romance between Cora and Lucky was only slightly better, but the constant tension between the three of them only added to my annoyance.
On top of the romance, the other thing that I had an issue with is that I really didn’t like or care about any of the characters. The few characters that I liked when they were first introduced, by the end of the book, after all of the changes they go through, I hated. Even Cora, who managed to keep her head on most of the time and had an impressive amount of determination, was driving me crazy by the end. As various bad things started happening to characters, I realized that I just didn’t even really care if anyone escaped or died or anything. I felt no connection or sympathy to any of the teenagers trapped and because of that, I didn’t really care where the story went.
One good thing about this book was that I was intrigued by the idea of all of these different teenagers kept in a zoo. In this book, it eventually becomes sort of a Lord of the Flies situation where most of the teenagers decide to just accept their fate of being kept in the cage, consider themselves lucky, and start going a little crazy. It was interesting to see their minds warped and psychologically, the changes they go through as they simply accept their fate. The only problem I had with all of this is that I found some of the ways that certain characters came to act rather unbelievable. Some of the things they do are just so extreme and absurd that it almost makes you laugh a little, even though it’s slightly terrifying.
The Cage is a book that promised an exciting adventure about teenagers trying to escape their prison and a villainous alien race that took them in the first place. Instead, I got an annoying and uncomfortable insta-love and a love triangle, and characters with little development that I cared nothing about. This book had a few great ideas, with all of the interesting psychological parts and aliens, which are just cool in general, but didn’t build enough on either of those things, instead choosing to focus on a romance that brought nothing to the story.