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?
This was a rather unusual book with some strong moments to it.
At some points, this book was very sentimental about the value of humanity and what it contributes to the world. At first I found this to be thought-provoking, but it became too much of a recurring theme for me to really appreciate it.
This was additionally rather telling about humanity. I'd like to hope that the results of the environment were the results of a selection; however, this definitely made me think about complacency and the environments we need to survive.
The characters selected and built were intriguing, especially while interacting with each other. I almost felt as if I were watching a science experiment from afar, also.
Cassian's affection felt a little too perfect though. He had just happened upon Cora, and just happened to find her intriguing, and just happened to pick her. I didn't find it to be terribly believable.
I did think the procreation aspect was a little forced, especially if the Kindred had been so interested in human culture--other than perhaps in the past fifty years in the most Westernized countries, what they encouraged would be abhorred in most societies.
The ending was rather dramatic. I'm curious to know what happens next, but I'm not sure if I'm captured enough by the premise to actively seek out the next book.