Author: Megan Shepherd.
Published: May 26th 2015 by Balzer & Bray/Harperteen
Sort: The cage #1.
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 wakes up in the middle of a dessert. She has no memory of what has happened and her new environment is confusing. She teams up with a guy, Lucky, and soon they stumble on a group of other cliche people. They have no idea what is going on, but there are puzzles spread through the village and they are rewarded with coins. Slowly they start to unravel the meaning behind their imprisonment.
The idea of people being studied by others in a world designed for them was fascinating. It’s a shame that the animals in this zoo aren’t that interesting. Starting with Cora, the girl with trust issues, which doesn’t make her very popular. She is captivated by Cassian’s good looks and in those moments she seems to forget he is the enemy. I liked her spirit and how she kept fighting against the rules, but she was also pretty naive and bad at maintaining relationships with important people. I could understand her frustrations, because the others were just plain stupid, but it would have been smarter to keep them close.
There is also Lucky, who has a severe case of possessiveness over Cora when he finds out what their main goal is. He started out okay, but soon turned into a creep. He completely lost his mind and I didn't care about his fate. I also hope the author doesn't turn him into one of the love-interests, because that romance is even more doomed to fail than the other option. There are also some other teenagers, but to be honest, I forget their names (that is how impressive they are)
The story is inconsistent. Cassian and Cora was just a big fat no. I did like the writing-style and the idea, but it failed to deliver. The ending was okay, but the overall story isn’t good enough for me. I think it’s time for me to say goodbye to Shepherd’s work. We just don’t click.