Reading Level: Young Adult
Genre: Science Fiction
Size: 400 pages
Publisher: Balzer and Bray
Release Date: May 26, 2015
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in The Cage series
Source: eGalley from Edelweiss.com
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
I got a copy of this book through Edelweiss to review. I was a huge fan of Shepherd’s Madman’s Daughter trilogy and was excited to read something new by her. This book is completely different from the Madman’s Daughter, but was just as enjoyable.
Cora wakes up to find herself in a strange desert and quickly realizes that she is one of a group of teens that has woken up to find themselves in a strange sort of world surrounded by black windows. Soon they meet the Caretaker (Cassian) an alien being who explains that they are have put in a habitat for their own good and only have to follow three rules. The Caretaker seems cold to everyone but Cora, he seems to have a strange affinity for her. Cora is determined to break out and go home, but what the Caretaker reveals changes everything Cora knows.
This was a very well done young adult sci-fi thriller. The story was incredibly gripping and hard to put down. It started a bit slow, but once the story got going I couldn’t stop reading. The story reminds a bit of a Survivor-type scenario but the characters aren’t fighting each other…instead they are expected to co-exist and make a new society for themselves.
The relationship that develops between Cora and the Caretaker, Cassian, is interesting and absolutely engrossing. It was very well done and completely unpredictable. Both Cora and Cassian are incredibly well done characters and were very engaging to read about.
The side characters weren’t quite as well done. We do hear from their points of view quite a bit, but I never engaged with them like I did with Cora and Cassian. As the story continues Cora discovers that there are a lot of issues going on outside of their struggles in their habitat. The universe is a very different place from what Cora expected it to be.
Although this is a very different type of story from the Madman’s Daughter there are a lot of familiar elements here. Shepherd has a wonderfully lyrical writing style that is easy to read. She also continues to push at the boundaries of what is comfortable; some things in this story are bizarre, grotesque, and they brush up against my boundaries of what is comfortable to read (but never cross them). So that’s just a warning to those who found the Madman’s Daughter to be too disturbing; this book pushes those same types of boundaries.
Overall I really loved this book a lot, I wasn’t sure what to expect but I ended up loving it. There is some excellent world-building here, a little bit of sci-fi thriller, a wonderful mystery, and some excellent characters. It’s a creative idea and I am very curious to see where the story ends up going. I would definitely recommend to those who enjoy YA science fiction and to those who enjoyed Shepherd’s previous series. This series is a lot different than the Madman’s Daughter, but it still has Shepherd’s unique blend of lyrical writing and scenes that push just a bit too far into the weird and odd corners of the world. I can’t wait to see what book 2 holds.
This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
– You Read How Many Books? Reading Challenge