Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Hunt by Megan Shepherd

The Hunt by Megan Shepherd
Release Date - May 24, 2016
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages - 368 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received from publisher for an honest review**

**spoilers for The Cage**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
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.
Rarely does a book surprise me as much as Megan Shepherd's The Cage did. Human prisoners meant to live their life while being studied by an alien race like inhabitants in a zoo. This series sequel proved to be just as  surprising, just as dark, and  showcases exactly why this a series you should be reading.

This is the type of book that demands to be discussed. Its themes of humanity, morality, and what those mean are begging to be dissected at length. The entire premise of humans in captivity like animals is enough of a conversation piece without tossing in the other complex elements Megan has skillfully woven in. Its complexity is perhaps one of the most surprising parts of this series. It is unpredictable and that makes for captivating read.

Just when I thought Megan Shepherd could not make this series any darker than she has I am proven wrong. This sequel amps up the risks, and the horrors that the characters are faced with. The realities of what happens in this psedo-safari are just the tip of the brutal truth that awaits within these pages, and I am impressed that Megan Shepherd did not hold back in any way. She makes sure we feel as uncomfortable, as afraid, and as horrified as the characters.

Trust is not a word that belongs within these pages, and as readers we are not any more sure of who to trust than the characters are. Shaky alliances, and desperate moves are the only chance at survival all the while knowing the consequences of getting caught will be severe. It is a pulse pounding, thrilling read that easily has you invested in the outcome because of the characters.

The characters have more growth in this novel than in the previous. If the first novel was about world building and laying the foundation of the series, the second is about allowing the characters to exist within the world that has been built. We get a clearer picture of who they are and what they all stand to lose. This allows the romance to resonate a little more. There are a few couples I came to care about in this sequel. The algorithm that matched up the humans in the first book does seem to work because all of the couples seem compatible, and a few of those relationships progress in this sequel.

My only issue is the sort of love triangle that is created in the first novel. Cora's attraction to Cassian always came with a side of unease for me. He is part of the group that is holding her captive after all and I don't trust him. She is drawn to him like a moth to a flame despite her own misgivings. This novel resolves the love triangle issue in pretty much my least favourite way. I will be interested to see how the events of this novel impact the last part of this trilogy and I hope Megan has a few more surprises in store when it comes to Cora's heart.

The ending of this novel, once again, ends on a cliff hanger ensuring that the reader will be desperate to get their hands on the finale. It spins the story into a new and unexpected direction that has me really excited to see where the story goes next.

A thought provoking series that has a surprising darkness at its heart. Megan Shepherd has created a intriguing series off an even more intriguing premise. If you enjoy fast paced books with plenty of surprise you'll want to give this series a try. 

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