Friday, October 28, 2016

Teen/YA Review: The Hunt

Earlier this year, I thoroughly enjoyed the unique and intriguing YA novel The Cage by Megan Shepherd. I just finished listening to its sequel, The Hunt, and enjoyed this suspenseful and action-packed novel just as much as the first book.

Explaining book 2 is a bit tricky, since I don’t want to give any spoilers in case you haven’t read the first book yet. Here goes…

In The Cage, a group of teenagers found themselves on a far distant planet, captives of a race of beings that said they had captured the teens and brought them there in order to save the human race. The six teenagers were in a sort of habitat, created for them to mimic Earth, and were watched by the aliens through mysterious dark windows, as if they were in a zoo.

In book 2, the teens have been removed from that habitat. Several of them find themselves in another artificial environment designed to mimic Earth, but not for their own comfort. This place, called The Hunt, is one of many areas that mimic someplace on Earth purely for the entertainment of the aliens, who seem to be fascinated with Earth’s varied history and cultures. The Hunt mimics an African safari lodge, complete with a fake (indoor) savannah and real wild animals imported from Earth.

Cora, the main character from the first book and the most desperate of the group to escape, is assigned to The Hunt. Her job is to work in the lodge, singing on stage to entertain the aliens as they sip their drinks and look out over the “savannah.” Much to her delight after being separated from the others, Lucky soon joins her there, working with the animals to take care of them and revive them after they’ve been “hunted” with tranquilizer darts. Within a few chapters, we find out what is happening to the other original Earth teens and where they are each being held.

The teens have by now learned a lot more about this alien world, though they are still piecing together, bit by bit, the aliens’ plans for the humans they have captured. One big question is whether or not Earth still even exists, as the aliens have told them that humans destroyed it shortly after these six were abducted. Once again, Cora leads the group in planning an escape from their current imprisonment, strategizing on how to beat the aliens’ own system if they can.

As with the first book, The Hunt is filled with action, suspense, and imaginative situations. This alien world is well thought-out and unique. The aliens in charge use telepathic abilities and see humans as a less intelligent species because they don’t. The world and its many inhabitants is endlessly fascinating and complex. The human characters are familiar by now, and I was rooting for them, though there are still plenty of questions to be answered…I can’t wait for book 3!

HarperChildren’s Audio

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