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Wednesday, 5 March 2014
Buy or Borrow: BUY!
Source: Copy courtesy of the author, Sophie Davis.
It's been 9 months since Talia was injected with an unknown substance and shot at Ian Crane's compound in Nevada. Since, she's had to learn to walk all over again, and has been dealing with regular seizures. Talia feels like a prisoner, she's been confined to her childhood home while recovering, with no contact with anyone, and her dream of being a Hunter on hold...possibly forever. So when the Agency director, Mac, asks her to go undercover at the McDonough School for the Talented to find the spy who set the trap for her in Nevada, Talia jumps at the opportunity.
Until she see's she'll be working with Donovan, the ex-boyfriend she's known through childhood that cheated on her. That she's not so jazzed about, to say there was some tension would be an understatement. But after a fight ends in a seizure, a tentative friendship begins to form. Enter Erik, Talia's former team mate, and make out buddy in the week leading up to her mission, and the guy she's got some very strong feelings for. But hey, atleast she's got her best friend Penny there, to assist her in uncovering the spy, and help her deal with the boy drama.
As Talia becomes more entrenched in her assignment, she quickly discovers the lengths Mac and the Agency will go to in the name of war, and what she's capable of, when the interrogation of a suspect goes horrifically wrong. Talia begins to realize that Crane's influence is spreading, and there are few operatives without a tie to the coalition. Forced to face hard truths, and dangerous conclusions, Talia realizes that it's those closest to her hiding the biggest secrets. As finding the traitor dumps Talia in to a constant state of frustration and desperation, with lies everywhere, she realizes she needs help. But who can she trust when everyone has something to hide. Who isn't who they say they are? Is Donovan responsible for her seizures? What is Mac hiding? And will Talia and Eric get to be together? You know...without the whole arguing and life threatening mission getting in the way?
So, Sophie very kindly sent me this to review, and man am I so glad for her kindness, because it looks to me like this is going to get better and better. We skip all of the recovery period and join Talia 9 months after the end of Talented, and as she's back on her feet.
The amazing world building from Talented is expanded on as we get to see one part of the world that was previously mentioned, in more detail...the school. An entire mini world is created in the world we're already familiar with, that encompasses you and sucks you in. The new scenery keeps the series fresh, and the readers engaged and interested. We also get to see more of how the world works, with the justice system and so on, which is really cool! Going back in to this world, I had to do a little happy dance, because it's so unique, and it's impossible for you to get tired of it!
The prose is just as concise with the background and details, and just as smooth flowing. The prose is so slick, you could slide right off if you where walking on it. There's just as much action, just as much intrigue and just as much humour, but on another level to Talented. I kept flashing back to Talented and how much I loved and enjoyed reading it and how I was consumed with the characters and story, much like I was with Caged all over again!
I loved all the characters in Talented, they where all so well written and full of life, and that's carried on in Caged, but we get to see even more depth to them, and find out more about them. We see Talia in a different way, she's not a Hunter, but she's still badass, but you admire her strength in dealing with the seizures and everything on her plate. I feel like I morph in to Talia, or atleast merge with her when I read, because I find myself not only following her thought process, but thinking some of the same things she does, like with Erik. Like Talia, I really thought he'd run a mile when he saw her have a seizure, because I was kind of envisioning he-slut Erik, but shame on me. I loved Erik in Talented, he was perfect, and I should have known we'd see an incredibly tender, sweet and caring side to him in Caged regarding what Talia's going through. I love his protectiveness, although the scene after the Dinner scene...I really wanted to smack him one.
Donovan is complicated for me. I was kind of meh about his character in Talented, he was a sweetheart, as I said in my review of Talented, but at the same time, he was a bit of an ass sometimes, and my opinion of him morphed in to hatred after the Incident. I am fully Team Erik. All the way. BUT. Caged, I felt, gave us more of a look at Donovan, we saw deeper in to his character. I saw he had a sweet and caring side, even more so than I originally thought, he was there for Talia even though she was (rightfully) horrible to him, he was remorseful BUT he was kinda stupid thinking she'd take him back and I enjoyed seeing a side of him that wasn't shown very much in Talented, although I was reading and thinking "HELL NO" when Talia was confused about her feelings for him.
With Donovan and what was going on with him and Talia in Caged, I've seen a couple of people saying "Oh I thought the love triangle was out the way in Talented" and blah blah blah. Well, let's be real. Throughout the whole confusion with the guys (which was very realistic by the way and well done) Talia states she has stronger feelings for Erik, and he's who she wants, and I doubt she'll go for Donovan as second best. Donovan's kind of like a safety blanket for Talia, he makes her feel safe at a time when she doesn't. You need to remember that Talia's known him for years, so for me, it wasn't really a love triangle, because I was confident that Erik would prevail, and he did. It was more she wanted to be friends with him, and didn't want to lose her new friendship with him.
Back to Donovan, I'm interested to see what happens with his character. Can they be friends? Can he get out from under his father's thumb? Speaking of Mac, I personally saw him as a pretty great guy in Talented, Talia's rescuer and protector who took her in, and cared for her. In Caged...well....he's shady. He's up to something, and he's done something, and it is killing me not knowing what and trying to guess.
Everything you thought you knew about the characters when you finished Talented....well...in Caged it gets turned upside down, no more so than with Penny. You see different sides to everyone, and get to know the characters a bit more, they're all built on from Talented, and some of them aren't what you thought they where.
Now. Penny. I really didn't see that coming, I came to the realization after Talia did, when she went storming into the room. I'm simultaneously gutted, because you know....betrayal of my favourite character, but at the same time, I'm intrigued, particularly about the revelation in the last 5% of the book I think it was, during the court scene. I'm frothing at the mouth with anticipation for the next book!
While i'm talking about Penny and shocking revelations, let's move on to the plot. As I said, it's action packed all the way through, we have romance, we have regular drama, bitchy girl drama (seriously, someone smack Cadence) and boy drama. For every question that's answered there are a million more. There's a tonne of twists and turns, and shocking plot twists that I guarantee you even Nancy Drew couldn't predict. You're incapable of putting the book down, but you don't want it to end. Seriously. I was on a night out for a friends birthday and I was thinking about the book.
Davis has a knack for giving you exactly what you want in the book, answering all your questions, but also giving you a load more of intrigue ready to be answered in the next book, but still leaving you satisfied and ready for more. I honestly cannot get enough, and I feel like the books are just going to get better and better.
Caged ends on a hell of an explosive note, and the anticipation is ramped up as you get closer to the ending. The plot is rich, and complex, and blends the over arching storyline for the series, seamlessly with the storyline for this portion of the series. A lot of sequels aren't as good, but Caged isn't one of them, it's better. A lot of authors put more emphasis on the overarching storyline, and setting up things for the next book. Not Davis. Setting up the next book is provided, but it's not the sole focus. I can't stress enough how perfectly written these books are, and how much you will regret never reading this series!