Where’d I Get It: Purchased from BN.com
Synopsis (From Goodreads): 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?
My Thoughts: It’s been so long since I actively read for review purposes that I think I’ve forgotten how to do this. Ah well, here goes! I honestly don’t know why I picked up this book. Maybe the image of the cover on Barnes & Noble caught my eye, maybe the price was right – who knows. I don’t recall where I heard about it, so all I can say is – I bought it, I read it, and…. let’s go from there.
I read this on my Nook and I have a tendency to read at lightning speed on that thing. It took a day (or, well, an afternoon and into the evening – I have kids I have to pay attention to!) to read from cover to cover, but I did just that – read it from start to finish in as close to one go as I could make it. The premise is typical of what I feel YA has trended toward in past years, but it was done in such a way as to make the story feel new, or at least refreshed.
The protagonist is relatable (to an extent) and doesn’t have so many of the qualities I can’t stand in female protags. She’s strong, knows her mind, and makes her choices decisively. She’s also not wacky dependent on some strong male – although she does have a few lala goo-goo eyed moments that make me want to shake sense into her. The supporting characters are all individually interesting, and you become invested in each of them despite them not being the shining star of the show. I also approve of the diversity of the characters – they’re not all plain jane white folk doing plain jane white folk things. They’re a racially and culturally diverse mix of awesome people doing awesome things – although now that I think about it, there are some cultural stereotypes in there that may or may not be played up a little too much. I’ll have to read it again with a more critical eye to discern whether or not that’s the case.
At the end of the day, however, it’s a book I enjoyed. I immediately purchased book 2 in the series, and when I finished that (a day later), I purchased the 3rd. (Because we all know I can’t NOT finish a series.)
I definitely didn’t love this as much as I enjoyed The Hunger Games, but it was good, and I recommend you grab it.
Rating: 4 of 5