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Monday, July 06, 2015

The Cage by Megan Shepherd

This book is quite out there but I was hooked right from the start. Alien abduction isn't an original concept but the ideas in this book are far fetched enough to be innovative and entertaining. From the writer of The Madman's Daughter trilogy (which I still haven't read), The Cage is Megan Shepherd's  first book of a new trilogy about alien abductions, love, deceit and survival.

The introduction to the characters and their new habitat is perfect because we're as confused as they are about their situation. Abducted from Earth, five strangers are place in a fake environment, expected to follow the rules set by their captor, who calls himself Caretaker. Caretaker, who's name is actually Cassian, is definitely not human, but has a human shape and some human features. For some odd reason, Cora is mildly attracted to her captor, even though she would never admit it to her fellow prisoners. At first, the five humans learn to live together in their fake and experimental setting but Cora never gets comfortable enough to ignore the black windows which are placed everywhere for surveillance and evaluation.

The whole concept of holding humans in a (rather large) cage, like we would animals in a zoo, is quite frightening. Personally, I've never been able to watch Big Brother because I find it almost barbaric. I don't care if the Caretaker says it's to save and protect the human race. Cassian is part of the Kindred, a race they believe are more "intelligent" than humans because of their psychic and telepathic abilities. The Kindred's goal with the experiment is obviously not just to protect Cora and her new friends. They must have a secondary agenda and Cora is determined to escape, no matter what it may be.

The book has multiple point of views so we really get to see this world through every captive's eyes. Cora, however, is the main point of view and main character and she's in fact the most rebellious prisoner. She defies the rules set for "their own good" and tries to reason with the other prisoners who eventually seem to surrender. At first, she thinks Lucky, a boy she forms a bond with, might be willing to help her, but his lies and hidden knowledge about her Earth life makes things a little awkward. Even more so, her Stockholm Syndrome attraction to Cassian makes things even more awkward between Cora and Lucky.

The weird relationship between Cora and Cassian is interesting to follow. At first, I didn't really know what to make of it. Cassian seems genuinely interested in Cora's safety, but it's obvious he has deeper motives. The Stockholm Syndrome thing is a little cliché, but entertaining none the less. Oddly enough, I didn't know whether to care about Cassian who seems actually really nice, or be disgusted by the whole affair.

My one concern with the rules of their captivity is that the prisoners are expected to copulate in order to keep the human race alive. Honestly, a little bit too much for a YA novel, in my opinion. Some characters cave into the pressure, more out of attraction than duty, but still, I hated seeing them forced together for some larger purpose. Teens are pressured enough in this day and age that they don't need to be forced to have sex in order to survive. A real scientific experiment would have let things take a more natural course.

The Cage is dark and twisted enough to be really interesting. I love a good sci-fi, especially when it's heavily influence by science. In this case, this human social experiment is a little extreme but I love it none the less. The characters are tested mentally, physically and intellectually. Their reactions in this experiment are actually quite realistic and I would hate to see if tested for real, would human really be that deceitful when it comes to surviving. Megan Shepherd may have experimented with a new genre and in my opinion, she succeeded in taping into the sci-fi genre. I can't wait for the sequel!

stephsig moon

Tynga is a 32 years old mom of two, from Montreal, working as a lab technician in an hospital specialized in heart disease. In her free time, she enjoys reading all things Paranormal and photography.

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9 People left their mark' :

  1. I really need to get my hands on this book. I've been ogling it since the cover was released. It just sounds like such a fascinating concept. I think this would have been much better for a NA book, considering they are forced to reproduce. I could see how that might be a little touchy for some YA crowds. Although, it could have gone in a whole other direction and if they didn't voluntarily reproduce, they could do artificial insemination. They recently did that in China to an extremely old Yangtze giant softshell turtle. There's only one female left in the world and after years of no luck, they artificially inseminated her in the hopes of carrying on this species.
    Anyways - went way off in left field there for a moment. I'm excited that you enjoyed this book. I've been reading mixed reviews that have left me feeling bummed about it.

  2. I loved The Madman's Daughter so I have been really intrigued by this. I wonder (based on your mentioning it) if in some way the whole forced-to-breed idea isn't in some ways an allegorical way of reflecting our over-sexual culture in relation to how it affects teens. Thanks for a fantastic review!

  3. I've had this one on my "maybe" TBR list for a while, but something keeps holding me back. It's still a maybe for me right now, but who knows? My reading blows with the wind.

  4. Ooh nice! I still need to read this one and Megan's first trilogy which I also hear is amazing! Glad to hear you enjoyed this one! Have seen a slew of mixed reviews, so I'm hopeful with every positive review I read! Again, great review!

  5. I hear her first trilogy is amazing too. Keep in mind that I have an interest in weird and genre books. I have a feeling this book will please sci-fi fans but general fiction fans won't get it...

  6. I'll have to look into that turtle. Interesting info btw.

    I had a feeling this book would get mixed reviews. I really enjoyed it because the sci-fi genre is one of my favorites and I have a feeling this series can only get better from here on out. It may have been better suited as NA but then again, the author doesn't go into too much detail.

  7. I think the sex, in this book, has many different meanings. It is a reflection on our culture, but I think the author is also trying to show how sex can be use to manipulate and control. (I won't elaborate because of spoilers.)

  8. It may not be for everyone, I admit. I hear there have been a lot of mixed reviews about this one so I think it may remain on many people's "maybe" pile. Honestly I love this genre so it's no surprised that I enjoyed the book. Some of the characters were stereotypical but I enjoyed it none the less.

  9. oh this sounds like my kind of book! thanks for the review :)