The Maze Runner meets Scott Westerfeld in the second novel in this gripping and romantic YA series about teens abducted from Earth by an otherworldly race—from Megan Shepherd, the acclaimed author of the Madman’s Daughter series.
They’ve left the cage—but they’re not free yet.
After their failed escape attempt, Cora, Lucky, and Mali have been demoted to the lowest level of human captives and placed in a safari-themed environment called the Hunt, along with wild animals and other human outcasts. They must serve new Kindred masters—Cora as a lounge singer, Lucky as an animal wrangler, and Mali as a safari guide—and follow new rules or face dangerous consequences. Meanwhile, Nok and Rolf have been moved into an enormous dollhouse, observed around the clock by Kindred scientists interested in Nok’s pregnancy. And Leon, the only one who successfully escaped, has teamed up with villainous Mosca black-market traders.
The former inhabitants of the Cage are threatened on all fronts—and maybe worst of all, one of the Hunt’s Kindred safari guests begins to play a twisted game of cat and mouse with Cora. Separated and constantly under watch, she and the others must struggle to stay alive, never mind find a way back to each other. When Cassian secretly offers to train Cora to develop her psychic abilities—to prove the worthiness of humanity in a series of tests called the Gauntlet—she’ll have to decide fast if she dares to trust the Kindred who betrayed her, or if she can forge her own way to freedom.
While the first book in the series stays close to the questions of insanity we saw in Shepherd’s first series, this book moves beyond that to test the mettle of all the characters we got to know in The Cage. I really enjoyed watching them move beyond the various forms of madness they all experienced in the first book. They each draw a new strength from what happened to them in the habitat and in the aftermath of escaping. This brings us such a broader sequel, no longer is the only focus on their habitat and the 6 of them, but on the overall treatment of humans in this Kindred world, and what they are willing to do about that.
It seemed to me Cora was having a much harder time in this installment than the rest of the characters, but she did have them most emotionally scaring ramifications from the events of the first book. It was interesting watching her try to navigate who to trust in this round, and how willing she would be to forgive, and to work beyond herself and her 5 habitat buddies. For me Lucky really became the hero of this book, he finally took on the role of moral guide that he had failed to do in the first book. However, everyone really stepped up their game. I loved watching Leon become a central pillar to the gang and their success, watching Rolf and Nok mature, and seeing more of Mali under all her mysterious layers.
I loved Cassian from the beginning of this series, he is such an interesting character. Well, he just gets better in this, in my opinion. We see more of him uncloaked and see how similar he really is to the humans he is fighting for. I loved that he and Cora finally united, and am so eager to see where their relationship goes based on how this ended. There are so many new possibilities/challenges introduced in the last couple chapters and I have no idea how the entire cast is going to be able to achieve all their goals.
Can’t wait for the 3rd book!