Review: The Cage (The Cage, #1) by Megan Shepherd

The Cage by Megan Shepherd

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Publication Date: May 26th 2015
Publisher: Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins
Point of View: 3rd Person & Alternative
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Romance

Goodreads | | Indigo


The Maze Runner meets Scott Westerfeld in this gripping new series about teens held captive in a human zoo by an otherworldly race. From Megan Shepherd, the acclaimed author of The Madman’s Daughter trilogy.

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?


Cora and the five other encaged teenagers – Lucky, Rok, Mali, Rolf and Leon – have to, in the human zoo they are confined in, conform to three rules before the twenty-first day of isolation from Earth had passed… or else they will be ‘‘removed’’. The following directives were created by an extraterrestrial specie:

1. Decode the puzzles hidden inside their custody
2. Provide their body everything necessary in order to stay healthy
3. Reproduce

You know, I frankly think that this could have worked a little better if it were written for an adult/NA audience (if modifications). So much probably would have been explored in more dept. Shepherd’s writing is noteworthy so, clearly, that wasn’t where the problem resided. Is it really in the development of elements that the author’s talent lost its visibility.

First, the characters barely paid attention to the actual ‘‘puzzles’’. They were way more focused on a) finding a way out, b) sleeping with one another or c) simply wander around doing NOTHING at all. Why I believe that as an adult novel it might have ended differently (and in a good way) is that sex, procreation and assuring the continuation of the human specie was talked throughout the story but with carefulness because YA. But without that limitation, it could have offered the plot very important themes for us to read about and not leave the latter shallow and mostly brought from trivial manipulation. Even human nature as theme narrowly showed its face.

Second, the story was just so forgettable. The characters manifested no originality and, if one did – Mali – her role was so meagre that an attachment per se revealed being almost impossible or completely insignificant. The story flowed at a reasonably fast speed, which can never be a negative thing if the story itself needs it… or if YOU need it. I absolutely did. A slow-pacing would have periodically brought me to sleep.

Finally, if you want good romance or at least a heartfelt one, The Cage is not the answer to your longing. With a love-triangle between a human girl, a human boy and an alien, things couldn’t have been more predictable. What bothered me most though was seeing how the narrator kept describing the love interests’ appearance instead of their personality. I am tired of beauty being the first and second and third thing characters look at. What I personally long for right now is to read a story with two people that fall in love with one another – among other events in the plot – gradually and with realisticness… and actually falling in love without making their aspect the starting point of it all.

14 thoughts on “Review: The Cage (The Cage, #1) by Megan Shepherd

  1. I’ve heard nice things about Shepherd’s other series The Madman’s Daughter but I still haven’t found the time to read it. That being said, this book sounds like something I would not enjoy… I’m tired of love-triangles as well and although I understand the physical appearance is an important fact in attraction (I mean, you see the person first before getting to know them) I’m so done when characters don’t take into account other traits. It delivers the wrong message. Regarding the sex aspect, I think YA needs to change. I’m not talking about explicit sex scenes; no. But there are many YA books out there when it’s impossible to know for sure if the characters had sex or not (hint: Allegiant; I’m still not sure about that one) and I don’t get it. And I know many people don’t appreciate sex in books but it’s not about describing it; just say the characters had sex and be done with it. It’s much more easier for all readers. And even if it’s necessary, publisher could also put trigger warnings in books to let readers know what things will be discussed.
    Anyway, I’m going off topic here LOL
    Lovely review Lola!


  2. I am so bummed this wasn’t better, I mean look at that premises and gorgeous cover!
    Darn, now I am not even sure if I want to try to read this or not. 😦
    Wonderfully honest review!!


  3. Oh it’s too bad that it wasn’t what you expected to. It’s sad when you have a story like that in a book… So well I can understand the problem. Sorry it wasn’t that for you.


  4. NO!
    I was looking forward to this one so much! the cover is GORGEAUS and the synopsis is beyond amazing. I had high hopes for this one and the fact that it didn’t deliver really upsets me 😦 i wanted more 😦


  5. While I made it through the whole book, I completely agree. It’s not that the writing wasn’t there, it was that the plot was so lifeless…and so were the characters. Most of them were just plain arses. I will not be picking up the next book in this particular series.


  6. Ah that sucks that you didn’t like it. Honestly, I did NOT EXPECT aliens to come from this book hahah. That’s surprising. Well now I know! I hope your next read is better Lola!


  7. Aw, man, this blows. Seriously. I wanted to read this as soon as possible because people were raving at how awesome it was on Twitter, but the premise sounds kinda… bizarre, to say it mildly. Human zoo?! Aliens?! I mean, it’s definitely original, but an originality that would come out if you were drunk kind 😛 And yeah, I can see this better as an adult speculative fiction, because at least the survival of a specie through procreation would be better portrayed. I’m not surprised of it being dumbed down because the demographic is for teenagers :/

    Faye at The Social Potato


  8. This is one of those books I know a lot of people have been looking forward to and I have also had my eye on. Sometimes a different genre would improve the book, but it’s good to see that the author has a god writing style. Maybe I will try this one, you have me curious.


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