THE CAGE is the first in a compelling new science fiction series from popular YA author, Megan Shepherd. ALIENATED (Melissa Landers) meets NIL (Lynne Matson) in this sci-fi romance survival adventure.
Cora wakes up in the desert, completely lost and with no personal belongings, and totally alone. She wanders the dunes, trying to find help or a landmark. What she finds are snow-covered hills, a manicured farm, and a miniature town with other teens already there. Cora and the other teens are members of a cohort kidnapped from Earth in order to populate a zoo-like habitat. They were kidnapped by an alien race, known as the Kindred. While Cora tries to find any way out of the habitat, her cage, the others learn to settle in and enjoy their captivity. Meanwhile, romance blooms between members of the cohort, and Cora finds herself undeniably drawn to their alien captor.
What I loved: Shepherd really blows it out of the water with the world-building. While we start out discovering the ""cage"", the habitat that Cora and her cohort are confined within, due to Cora's curiosity and tenacity we quickly discover more about the alien planet they are on. Discovering these secrets, things about the very world that they exist on, is breathtaking. I can't say anymore, because I don't want to spoil anything for potential readers, but I'll leave it at this: You won't guess where they are, or why. Trust me.
What I wanted more of: I wanted just a little more tension. I felt like there wasn't a point at which the characters' lives were really in danger. With the Caretaker watching their every move and the habitat specifically designed to keep them alive, I felt like the cohort really could have used some actual danger. However, I expect the danger and heart-pounding action will be very intense in the second book!
The verdict: With exquisitely crafted world-building, a tantalizing romance, and thrilling character dynamics, THE CAGE is a page-turning intro to a series that YA readers will fall in love with.