Rating: Liked (Hated-Disliked-Okay-Liked-Loved)
I should have hated this book. It did all the worst things a YA book could do... and yet the author pulled it off. Not only did I not hate it, I actually enjoyed almost all of it.
At first, I had a serious case of deja vu. I was certain I had read this book before, but it turned out it was just one with a similar plot. Back in 2013, I read and reviewed a god awful book called The Zoo. Review 1: The worst book in the history of bad books and Review 2: I deserve a reward or punishment for finishing this book.... In both The Zoo and The Cage, aliens steal teenagers from earth, put them into a human zoo, and told them they have a month or less to get pregnant.
In addition to the near-fatal flaw of being like The Zoo, The Cage had a number of other issues. A love triangle. A seriously annoying female main character.
However, other than the main character being annoying, the author made everything work. Aliens stealing teenagers from Earth? She made it make perfect sense. Aliens wanting the teenagers to get pregnant? Ugh, but yes, she made it make sense. The love triangle? She not only made it make sense, but I liked it! That never happens. Plus the book had a great twist. And I LOVED the aliens!
With rare exception, the characters were realistic and believable. The exception to that was a change I suspect was made since this was a YA book. In some third world country, a beautiful girl was hired by a "modeling agency" to move to some other country and become a model. In the real world, that would have lead to sexual slavery, but in the book, the girl actually was a model. Starved and beaten and abused, but no mention of sex at all, just photo shoots.
While the second book in this series is already out, I don't think I'm going to pick it up. Usually I would, since I enjoyed the first one, but I feel like I'm playing with fire -- nothing in this story should have worked, and so I'm worried the second book would lose whatever made this "shouldn't work" situation work... which is silly. It's the author who made this work, and I should trust her through a second book... and I am curious as to where the story will go, so... sigh. Maybe I'll pick it up.
Edit: Oh wow, the summary of the second book sounds really good! Okay, getting it for sure.