Remember that time last year when I loved The Cage? Ah, me too. Good times, good times. Anyway, since I was such a fan, The Hunt went onto my Goodreads “Must-Have-Grabby-Hands” list before it even had a title. Needless to say, I was super excited about it. So did it live up to my exceedingly high expectations? (Well, of course, based on the title of this post, you know it did. But let’s pretend you hadn’t gathered that already, okay?) And I will try to keep this as spoiler-free for both books as possible, promise!The Hunt by Megan Shepherd
Series: The Cage #2
Published by Balzer + Bray on May 24th 2016
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.
Is there any better feeling than a sequel that you’ve been dying for surpassing its predecessor in fabulousness? I think not. And that is the situation at hand, basically. How, you ask, did the author accomplish this feat? I shall tell you!
- The stakes were higher. So Cora and the gang really didn’t know what they were dealing with, not completely, during much of The Cage. But in The Hunt, they’re much more aware of the severity of their situation, and that brings both the action and their own personal turmoil to another level. Adding to this strife is the fact that they (and in turn, the reader) has basically no idea who the “good guys”- if they even exist– are. So not only is a lot of the world an unknown, the people (aliens may be a better term here?) and their motives are too.
- This book is nice and twisty! When things happened, I rarely saw them coming- at all. There were parts of the story where my jaw totally dropped, and I love that! And yes, this does end on a nice big old cliffhanger, so be prepared! But it also makes me want the third book so incredibly badly, so I suppose that’s a job well done too! (Plus, I don’t really mind a cliffhanger as long as I know another book will be coming someday!)
- The characters really grow, especially Cora. Cora, as the main character, was forced to make a lot of decisions that would impact herself and everyone else. It wasn’t easy for her, nor should it have been, and I liked that it was realistically portrayed. The captives have definitely grown to care about each other, and I think they all have finally realized how dire their situation really is, which makes for a lot of character development all around.
- I still ship my ship, a lot. No spoilers, I promise, just… I ship certain people, and I am excited to see what happens next in terms of this romantic situation. And it’s definitely a slow-moving kind of thing, which I think a lot of you enjoy 😉
- The world building becomes bigger and more vivid. Granted, in The Cage, there wasn’t a ton of opportunity for world building because they were in, you know, a cage. So now, there is a lot more that we’re shown in this world, and it definitely felt vividly painted. There are a few settings that I was horrified by, mostly because I felt like I could picture them so, so well.
Was there anything I didn’t like? Hmm. No. Not really. It did take me a few chapters to get back into the world and characters, but really that is a super minor thing, and had I reread The Cage (like I hope to do when Book 3 comes out!) that would have been no issue at all.
Bottom Line: Seriously, one of the strongest second-in-series books I have ever read. And with such a unique world and diverse characters (in every sense of the word, really), this series is absolutely a win for me so far!