We know the struggle – your brand new, shiny copy of The Hunt is within your grasp, and you want to just start reading, but you just can’t quite remember where we left our characters at the end of The Cage. Don’t sweat – here are all the big, need-to-know moments (and characters) from Megan Shepherd’s The Cage.
WARNING: Spoilers! SO MANY SPOILERS if you keep reading!
CORA MASON. A senator’s daughter turned juvenile detention inmate turned captive in an alien zoo where humans are the ones behind bars. AKA, our unlikely heroine. Feeling like an outsider among her friends and family means that Cora relates better to their captors, the Kindred. The fact that she displays hints of psychic abilities sets her apart all the more.
CASSIAN, THE CARETAKER. Part of a superhuman alien race known as the Kindred, Cassian looks human but is taller, stronger, and has entirely black eyes. He is a Caretaker, tasked with overseeing the wards in the “enclosure.”
LUCKY. A half-Columbian motorcycle enthusiast living on his granddad’s farm in Montana before his alien abduction, he has past connections to Cora not even she knew about.
ROLF. A Norwegian genius, twitchy, strange Rolf was taken by the Kindred for his brilliance at solving number puzzles.
NOK. A Thai model living in London with a trademark pink streak in her hair, Nok knows how to wind men around her finger, and has an affinity for languages and acting.
LEON. A tattooed black market trader from New Zealand, Leon is a prime physical specimen, but curses like nobody’s business.
MALI. Taken from the country of Mali as a toddler, Mali has grown up in the Kindred world and feels almost more Kindred than human. Thrown in with the human captives, no one is sure if she is friend or foe.
SERASSI. The Kindred medical examiner who works with Cassian who may or may not be looking out for the humans’ welfare—or may be doing nefarious experimentations.
MOMENTS FROM THE CAGE YOU NEED TO KNOW:
• Cora Mason wakes in the middle of an endless desert with no memory of how she got there. It’s only after exploring the area and finding a snowy forest, a farm, and a dead body does she realize she isn’t in Virginia anymore.
• Once the five humans (there were supposed to have been six…hence the dead body) have met each other and found the “town square” in the center of their zoo enclosure, their captor appears. He’s seven feet tall and scary beautiful and tells them they have rules to follow, like reproducing, or else the cruel Warden will destroy them. And oh yeah, Earth is gone.
• Some of the captives, like Nok and Rolf, quickly adapt to life in the cage. Their lives were beyond crappy back home anyway. And a place filled with unlimited candy, arcade games and a comfy house? No problem!
• But the other captives, Cora and Lucky and Leon, are less charmed by the cage’s illusions and form a plan to escape. The problem? There are no walls. No doors. No exits.
• The captives get a new “Girl-Three” to replace the one who died. Mali has deadly skills and an odd command of the English language. It’s only after some tough situations that Cora realizes she can trust Mali.
• As the illusions of the cage drive the other captives insane, Cora seems to be the only one who still wants to try to go home (if Earth is even still there…) Why is she different? Turns out she might have latent psychic abilities that would mean humans deserve a higher status than caged creatures. And maybe Cassian actually wants to help them after all…
• Lucky decides being matched with Cora as Boy-Two and Girl-Two isn’t so bad. In fact, he has a rather steamy moment with her beneath a cherry tree where the Kindred can’t see them. This is all before Cora realizes that back home, Lucky was in league with her dad to cover-up a drunk driving accident that would have gotten him thrown out of the Senate—the same accident that got her sent to juvie.
• When the other five human wards turn against her, Cora finds herself running to Cassian for help—the last person she trusts. He takes her to a different part of the space station, a “menagerie”, where humans are kept in awful conditions and forced to perform tricks in human-themed clubs where the normally stoic Kindred can let loose. There she meets Anya, a drugged, imprisoned child prodigy missing several fingers.
• The romance between Cora and Cassian is getting pretty undeniable, though they both try to deny it plenty. When Cassian asks Cora to kiss him so he can know what a kiss feels like, well, she’s sinfully tempted.
• Back in the cage, all hell has broken loose. Leon’s gone insane and lives alone in the jungle. Rolf’s ready to bash in Cora’s skull. Nok is pregnant. It is only with Cassian’s help that Cora unlocks her true psychic potential and is able to see the exit: a hidden door in the bottom of the ocean habitat.
• Cora escapes the cage and convinces Mali, Lucky, and—at the last minute—Leon to come with her. They swim beneath the ocean and find a control room. Freedom! Of course, it doesn’t last long. Cassian is waiting for them. He’s the Warden who has been keeping them locked away the entire time. He’s betrayed Cora. But in this betrayal, Cora’s mind shatters and she realizes her full psychic potential. Humans are now entering a new stage of evolution—and are even more dangerous.
OMG WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT? HERE ARE SOME QUESTIONS WE NEED ANSWERED IN THE HUNT:
• Did Cassian really betray Cora after he professed his love for her?
• WTF is going on with Cora’s psychic abilities?
• Now that Cora has shown that humans are “intelligent”, will the Kindred grant humanity its well-deserved freedom? (Spoiler: not likely.)
• How are Cora, Mali, and Lucky going to be punished for having escaped?
• What happens to Leon, the only one who succeeded in the escape?
• Does Nok have her baby, and if so, why is Serassi so eerily interested in it?
• Is Earth really destroyed—or is that a Kindred lie?
The Hunt hits shelves May 24th! Get your copy here.
Could you survive a life in one of the biomes from The Cage? Take the quiz to find out!