Book Club: 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?
The cover is bright colourful and does represent the story and the main character, Cora.
Even though, at times, the story does switch perspectives, it really focuses on Cora. She is put into a “cage” with 5 other people: Lucky, Rok, Mali, Rolf and Leon. All are given the same rules and all want to survive.
Cassian. I found him very intriguing. I was happy to see that he was a pretty important character throughout the story.
Rolf just rubbed me the wrong way. I found him very petty and emotional. Didn’t seem to really have a grip on reality.
I pictured in my head a mix of The Truman Show, but set in the Hunger Games Arena, which is located at the Men In Black headquarters!
Six people are put into a cage and told to obey three rules. Solve the riddles, stay healthy, and procreate. (lets just say most of them focus on that last one, be it negatively or positively).
Well we all knew what the story was leading up to. There is a big event that happens at the end, which I guessed, but enjoyed anyway.
We learn a ton of stuff about Cora, but only begin to touch on the other characters. As I personally did not find Cora incredibly interesting, I hope that the rest of the series brings in more of the others. Otherwise, on the whole, I enjoyed the story. It was one that I read straight through; it was a fun read but dark. It’s a fight for your life and being in such a different setting really plays head games with the characters. Things get nasty.
“Sometimes mistakes are worth making.”
I have the hard cover. The dust jacket is quite lovely. A blonde in a white dress is walking through a sand dune away from us, the viewer, toward a cityscape. In the foreground, there’s a jungle-type frame with vines and foliage. It gives at least a hint as to the storyline.
However, without the dust jacket the book is white with gold letting on front and spine. I actually prefer the minimalistic nature of the book minus the dust jacket.
We have a cast of less than ten key characters. They all drove me up the wall at one stage or another.
Lucky, though on day twenty on he lost all my respect.
Cora. OMG girl, have you never picked up a history book and learned about Stockholm syndrome? Her heart was probably in the right place, but what the hell?
Cora wakes up in an odd place and eventually runs into five other fellow captives.
The captives are given three rules to live by and Human Zoo is pretty much the gist of everything.
What I wanted to happen, did happen. So it was a happy ending for me.
Thoughts ~May Contain Spoilers~
If I replaced the humans in this story with animals, I don’t know if I would feel as uncomfortable (which in turn makes me feel uncomfortable)… which was Megan Shepherd’s whole point of writing the book in the first place. No comfort zone for you!
I’m glad Cora has a back bone, but I wish she didn’t think just in terms of visual attractions when meeting beings of the opposite sex. The poor girl is clearly a great candidate for Stockholm syndrome, so I’m just twitchy about that whole area of the storyline in general.
As for the questionable consent around the third rule…walking up a flight of stairs and sitting on a bed, even kissing a little is NOT consent. She should not have had to resort to what she did to escape that situation if Lucky had been decent.
Cups of tea people. Cups of tea.
My moral issues with the story are probably mine alone. It is entertaining and the shock value is timed well. I cannot wait to hear what you all thought of it.
“Mali may have taught you some tricks,” he said, “but you cannot hide your thoughts from us forever.” Cassian speaking to Cora.