The Cage by Megan Shepherd
Published: May 2015 by Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins
Rating: 4 Stars
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?
I fell in love with this book just reading the summary, so you can imagine how thrilled I was when the book followed through. Cora was constantly on the go - both mentally and physically. She never let her guard down, even when everyone else pressured her to just give in. When your entire life has been altered drastically and everything you know is gone, wouldn't you feel the need to fit in with those around you who are in the exact same situation? Cora will not be told what to do or what to think, even by a powerful, slightly intimidating alien named Cassian.
Cassian may be another species who does as he's told and follows orders, but he still has some underlying human traits. I found him to be quite the mystery in the beginning. I clung to the hope of the author diving deeper into his personality and was definitely rewarded. This is a must have novel for anyone who enjoys science fiction with a few drops of mystery.