Cora wakes up in a strange place--a place where the land changes from desert to ocean to mountains very quickly. She discovers a boy, Lucky, and they explore together and find a bizarre, primitive town. And three other teens in the same situation.
It doesn't matter where they explore, they always end up back where they started. There are puzzles to solve in each store and they are awarded tokens that allow them to buy things. When the music starts playing in the diner, food appears.
They are visited by a strange humanoid person, who is most definitely not human. They are given three rules. They must solve the puzzles. They must stay healthy by eating, sleeping, and participating in health assessments. And...they must procreate. For the third rule, they are given 21 days to comply.
The reader feels the confusion of these teens. You want to scream, "Why??" right along with them. The characters all react very differently to this new situation. Some are more easily accepting and try to be happy. Some continue to explore and withdraw from the group. Most of them have secrets. But Cora simply cannot accept her fate and will do anything to find a way to escape, even when she has no idea what is outside their enclosure or how she will get back to Earth.
Cora eventually establishes a relationship with one of her captors. He tries to convince her that she has it pretty good compared to other humans in captivity. She tries to convince him that she can never be happy in this situation.
The beginning is a bit slow, and for a while I felt we were spinning our wheels. But about halfway through, things begin to move and get very interesting.
The ending leaves very little resolved as far as the big picture. But there are some stunning revelations that made me very anxious for the next installment.
The Cage has a bit of a sci-fi vibe, but there's not too much technical information to really make it hard science fiction. It has been compared to The Maze Runner, and I can relate to that comparison, but The Cage is unique enough and adds some additional elements. The Cage is mostly a tale of survival, and it takes everything they have because they are up against seemingly insurmountable odds. I think a lot of teens are going to love this one.
Published by Balzer + Bray, May 26, 2015
eARC obtained from Edelweiss
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