Featured Review: The Hunt (The Cage #2) by Megan Shepherd
About this book:
The Maze Runner meets Scott Westerfeld in the second novel in this gripping and romantic YA series about teens abducted from Earth by an otherworldly race—from Megan Shepherd, the acclaimed author of the Madman’s Daughter series. 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.
*Review contributed by Kim Baccellia, Staff Reviewer*
What worked: This sequel is even better than the first book! The story continues after Cora, Lucky, and Mali fail to escape from the alien cage. There's nail biting tension right off the start! Great pacing and suspense with romance woven throughout.
Once again, we see the cage through the eyes of Cora, Lucky, Mali, and the others. Mostly though I feel this is Cora's story. The biggest conflict she deals with is her desire to get back to Earth but she hates to admit that she actually has feeling for her captor Cassian. I think this transcends the whole Stockholm symptom-where a victim falls in love with her kidnapper. Cassian shows his own vulnerabilities whenever he's uncloaked. The chemistry and desire is intense and pushes aside any romantic feelings she might have for Lucky.
In THE CAGE readers get a glimpse of the cage the teens are put in. Think a human zoo set on an alien planet. THE HUNT though is more descriptive with the horrors that befall Cora, Mali, and Lucky when they are set in a Safari type cage which involves real animals. These scenes were tough for me to read as I abhor anything that deals with animal cruelty. What works though is how the character's tough exteriors are broken down and we witness acts of kindness towards the animals that are captured. To the Kindred, Earthens are no better than animals.
Readers also see other aliens which include the treacherous Mosca--they kind of reminded me the doctors in the recent Teen Wolf series. All is not what it seems. Even the so-called allies of Cassian have their own secrets. The scene where Nok and Rolf are placed in a human doll house are very similar to an old Twilight Zone episode. Only in this case, the one Kindred doctor has her own plans for the unborn baby.
If there was one thing I wanted more of though had to be more on how the teens ended up in the cage. We get hints of Mali's story but not much more.
There's suspense, horror, action, and romance in this Twilight Zone meets The Maze Runner. Be prepared for some wicked twists and reveals. Guaranteed to keep readers reading and wanting more!
2. Dystopia meets Twilight Zone