The Cage by Megan Shepherd
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?
Cora is a strong and smart young woman, with a difficult past. When she wakes up, she and the other teenagers soon realize they have been abducted and are being kept in a strange, and seemingly-inescapable, cage. Their jailers soon show themselves and let them know they are being kept as a sort of zoo exhibit for aliens with a much higher level of intelligence. This doesn’t quite make sense, as their biggest difference is that humans don’t have telepathy yet.
The Cage is a alien abduction story that incorporates emotional and psychological drama. It’s very intense and full of suspense, and a bit of romance. We never truly learn the reason behind the malevolent alien’s intrusive experimentation. In fact there were quite a few details that didn’t make sense. The author’s previous series, The Madman’s Daughter, was a fantastic gothic horror. This latest novel is, of course, much different as it’s science fiction. But it’s also dark and psychological rather than the action and adventure from the previous series. There is quite a bit of suspense that builds to a surprising ending. And though I was left with many questions, it was an entertaining and engaging read.