I received this book via Edelweiss. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of this review.The Hunt by Megan Shepherd
Series: The Cage #2
Published by Balzar + Bray on 2016-05-24
Length: 368 pages
Reviewing eARC from Edelweiss
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.
The Hunt by Megan Shepherd picks up where The Cage left off. Cora and her friends escaped their enclosure only to find that they played right into the Kindred’s hands. They wanted them to escape and for Cora to use her perceptive abilities. Now Cora, Lucky, and Mila are moved to a menagerie that is modeled after an early British colonial safari, Nok and Rolf are in a giant dollhouse, their every move observed 24/7, and Leon is mysteriously missing, hiding with a black market Mosca gang. They all still have one goal, and that is to get home to Earth, that is if it still exists.
To be completely honest, this book lived up to its potential and did not suffer (too badly) from second book syndrome. The teens are in over their heads, but their ability to think outside the box and the fact that their morals are different from that of their captors gives them an edge. The majority of the book is told from Cora’s POV (again in that awkward 3rd person) with every 3rd chapter told from a different characters’ perspective. During the first book, this bothered me. I wanted the author to pick a character and stick with him/her OR alternate the POVs more consistently or even do an omniscient 3rd person. However, it really works well in The Hunt. The characters are split up in different locations yet are still inexplicably linked through their bonds of being human.
I struggled with Cora again this book. She’s a hard character to like. She keeps this tough girl attitude but is extremely naive. Cora relies heavily on her year in juvie to help her in her escape. AND let’s not forget the fact that she’s out for revenge in this book. Cassian betrayed her, he betrayed all of them. He is the Warden, he’s the reason they are there instead of home, and yet he is still their best chance to survive. Cora is so conflicted. She’s attracted to him but so blinded by her anger she refuses to see any good he does.
Then there’s Lucky (my ship from the previous book) who takes a bit of a step back. He’s still present, he’s Cora’s constant and friend. Her rock as she describes him at one point. Without him, I’m not sure she’d have the drive to continue.
Nok and Rolf have bigger roles this book as we get to see them outside of the group on their own. Their biggest concern is their baby and what will happen to her. They comply as much as possible, but both are planning escape. During The Cage, these two went a bit crazy so it was nice to see them redeem themselves in this book.
Leon….he is such a softy!! He’s out and free(ish), living with a Mosca gang, doing whatever they ask of him. But when he stumbles across the menagerie that Cora is being held in, he changes his mind. “Kin don’t leave kin behind” is his philosophy, what was drilled in his head growing up and now Cora and the other teens are his kin.
The plot of this book is similar to the last. Cassian tells Cora that the only way for humans to be free would be for her to run the Gauntlet, a test that if she passes will make humans the next intelligent species. Everything hinges on Cora learning what she needs to defeat the Gauntlet. However Cora and the others have different plans. It’s fast-paced, action-packed, and edge-of-your seat suspense. I read this book in one day! The world-building is much better in this book than The Cage. It’s no secret I was disappointed, but then again the teens were kept in a zoo during the first book. Now they are out in the open and Cassian is more forth-coming with his information. He tells them everything they need to know and the rest they learn on their own. It’s truly unique!
Overall I enjoyed this book! I’m a sucker for science fiction and this one is that coupled with dystopia. If you enjoyed the first book, I highly recommend you continue the series!