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The Cage #3

The Gauntlet

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The Maze Runner meets Scott Westerfeld in the final novel in the gripping and romantic Cage series, about teens abducted from Earth by an otherworldly race.

Cora and her friends have escaped the Kindred station and landed at Armstrong—a supposed safe haven on a small moon—where they plan to regroup and figure out how to win the Gauntlet, the challenging competition to prove humanity’s intelligence and set them free. But Armstrong is no paradise; ruled by a power-hungry sheriff, it’s a violent world where the teens are enslaved and put to work in mines. As Nok’s due date grows closer, and Mali and Leon journey across space to rescue Cassian, the former inhabitants of the cage are up against impossible odds.

With the whole universe at stake, Cora will do whatever it takes, including pushing her body and mind to the breaking point, to escape Armstrong and run the Gauntlet. But it isn’t just a deranged sheriff she has to overcome: the other intelligent species—the Axion, Kindred, Gatherers, and Mosca—all have their own reasons to stop her. Not knowing who to trust, Cora must rely on her own instincts to win the competition, which could change the world—though it might destroy her in the process.

393 pages, Hardcover

First published May 23, 2017

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About the author

Megan Shepherd

28 books2,651 followers
New York Times bestselling author Megan Shepherd grew up in her family’s independent bookstore in the Blue Ridge Mountains. She is the author of several young adult and middle grade novels. She now lives and writes on a 125-year-old farm outside Asheville, North Carolina, with her husband, two cats, and an especially scruffy dog.

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5 stars
322 (24%)
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486 (37%)
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373 (28%)
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102 (7%)
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25 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 154 reviews
Profile Image for Trina (Between Chapters).
872 reviews3,757 followers
May 19, 2018
3.5 stars.

This was my favorite in the series. It had action, puzzles, I liked the characters more, it was pretty brutal/daring. I really disliked book 2 but am glad I finished out the series and liked the ending.

I still don't *love* the series, mainly because I think it juvenilized the characters - like 'I was abducted by aliens and will never go home again but it's fine because OMG CANDY!!!' But there were some good concepts and the audiobook narrator was amazing.
Profile Image for Sarah Elizabeth.
4,742 reviews1,306 followers
April 27, 2017
(I received an advance copy of this book for free. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)

“The wolves are strong. But the rabbits are clever.”

This was a YA sci-fi story, and the end to the series.

I liked Cora in this story, and I liked how she kept in mind what was best for her species as a whole. It was pretty brave of her to face the gauntlet the way she did, especially knowing that no other human had ever managed to beat it.

The storyline in this was about Cora trying to take on the gauntlet in order to prove humanity’s intelligence. We also got quite a lot of fighting going on between species, a couple of heroic deaths, and some sneaky twists thrown in, and I thought the pacing was better than the previous books too. The trials in the gauntlet were done well, and I liked that they weren’t too obvious either.

The ending to this was pretty good.

7 out of 10
Profile Image for Yusra  ✨.
249 reviews512 followers
April 17, 2018
I didn’t really like it, it was boring and annoying. also Cora shldve died. 😬
Leon will forever be my one and only, though. 💗 he was the light in this incredibly horrible book!
Profile Image for Tracy (Cornerfolds).
569 reviews197 followers
August 5, 2017
The Cage is a series that I have continued reading despite not actually enjoying it at all. Megan Shepherd had such a fantastic idea with this series, one that pulled me in because of its similarity to my favorite episode of The Twilight Zone. I read the first book expecting to completely love it, especially after loving her Madman's Daughter series, but came away extremely disappointed. Book two was just slightly better and here I am having read book three, even though I swore I wouldn't. I'm happy to report I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it either.

The Gauntlet picks up just after the end of The Hunt, with Cora and Co. on Armstrong, a planet they've been led to believe will be their safe haven. They quickly learn all is not as they've been promised, however, and the action begins again almost immediately. The original crew finds itself split into three different groups all working towards a common goal - save the humans and win their spot among intelligent species.

Cora remains a character that I'm not sure whether I love or hate. On the one hand, she's incredibly dense to the point of being annoying to read about. On the other hand, her story is the best one out of all of them. I was totally fascinated by her fight to get to the Gauntlet and run it! I still don't really care at all about her love interest, Cassian, and luckily he wasn't in this book until over halfway through. I could really do without Nok and Rolf (whose name I just had to think for a full minute to remember) and their annoying storyline. I didn't totally hate Leon and Molly, but that's about all I can say for them. As you may have guessed, the characters are far from the highlight of this story.

Once again, this book had a lot of good ideas but there were also a lot of really dumb ones. Shepherd's use of evolution and DNA (see spoilers at the end) was so embarrassingly bad I truly can't believe they made it to the final draft of this book. Then there was the awful dues ex machina at the end. I was at least somewhat impressed that one main character died. The Gauntlet itself was pretty cool, although it was WAY too easily beat based on all we've been told for the entire series.

Like in the other two books, the world is really the saving grace of this series. I loved reading about all the different worlds Cora visited and I wish I could find fan art that shows the fake towns and buildings used as fronts from all of these books.

While this book was tolerable, it could have been a whole lot better. I had so many problems with this series that I was never able to enjoy it, which is a real shame considering all the incredible ideas Megan Shepherd has cooked up. I'll probably read whatever she writes next because I think she has great ideas! I just hope it's better executed than The Cage series.


Profile Image for Alyssa.
1,069 reviews842 followers
October 5, 2017
WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME. My last two reads? Two three-star reviews of YA science fiction novels? I usually LOVE YA science fiction. :(

***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

The Gauntlet by Megan Shepherd
Book Three of The Cage series
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: May 23, 2017
Rating: 3 stars
Source: eARC from Edelweiss

Summary (from Goodreads):

The Maze Runner meets Scott Westerfeld in the final novel in the gripping and romantic Cage series, about teens abducted from Earth by an otherworldly race.

Cora and her friends have escaped the Kindred station and landed at Armstrong—a supposed safe haven on a small moon—where they plan to regroup and figure out how to win the Gauntlet, the challenging competition to prove humanity’s intelligence and set them free. But Armstrong is no paradise; ruled by a power-hungry sheriff, it’s a violent world where the teens are enslaved and put to work in mines. As Nok’s due date grows closer, and Mali and Leon journey across space to rescue Cassian, the former inhabitants of the cage are up against impossible odds.

With the whole universe at stake, Cora will do whatever it takes, including pushing her body and mind to the breaking point, to escape Armstrong and run the Gauntlet. But it isn’t just a deranged sheriff she has to overcome: the other intelligent species—the Axion, Kindred, Gatherers, and Mosca—all have their own reasons to stop her. Not knowing who to trust, Cora must rely on her own instincts to win the competition, which could change the world—though it might destroy her in the process.

What I Liked:

The Gauntlet is the final book in Megan Shepherd's second YA trilogy. I read and neither loved nor hated her debut trilogy, and I had high hopes for this series. Overall, I liked this science fiction trilogy more than I liked her historical fiction trilogy, but I wasn't completely impressed by this conclusion novel. I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it either. It was a decent conclusion though!

Cora and the gang have escaped from the Kindred and have made it to Armstrong, a small moon that is supposed to be safe. But when they are stranded there and captured by the Sheriff of Armstrong and her ruthless human army, Cora fears that she will not be able to run the Gauntlet. Meanwhile, Mali and Leon attempt to rescue Cassian, who sacrificed himself to let Cora and the others escape. With a little help, Cora and the gang escape on Armstrong - and Cassian escapes from the Kindred, with Mali and Leon. It all comes down to the Gauntlet. If Cora succeeds, an evolutionary jump will boost humans' natural abilities and help them overthrew the powerful species that is hunting them. If she fails, she'll die, and so will all of the other humans, and the Kindred too. It's do or die, and it all comes down to the Gauntlet.

“The wolves are strong. But the rabbits are clever.”

That line is my favorite of the book, and probably the series in general. It speaks to me on so many levels. Anya needs to hear it several times throughout the story, and it really is good encouragement. This line holds true for the duration of the book; the wolves are the Kindred, the evil humans, the Axion, and the rabbits are Cora and the other humans who are trying to escape.

Like the previous books, this one is written in third-person limited, with POVs of various characters. Cora's POV is the most important and the most common, but we also get to read from Rolf's and Leon's (and maybe Mali's too, if I remember correctly). Cora has shown a lot of character growth from book one to this book, as did Leon, and Rolf, and Nok. Nok surprised me by becoming one of my favorites of the "original" band of humans, from book one. I also adored Leon and his heroic self.

Cassian isn't present for about half of this book, and I definitely wanted him to be around more than he was, but I liked his stable presence in the second half of the book. Cassian is a good man and a very important player in the series. I wish the author wrote chapters from his POV though - he's easily the most interesting guy of the cast, but he seems one-dimensional sometimes, because of his mechanical, distant nature. But Cassian is so complex and interesting, and I think chapters from his POV would have the story even more intriguing.

In terms of the romance, there are several romances and no love triangles. Rolf and Nok are a solid couple, and despite their current circumstances, I like how they grow to love each other even more. Leon and Mali are adorable together - they're both combative, which is funny to watch. Cassian and Cora are my favorite pair, and I really wish there were more scenes featuring them, in this book.

There is a looooot of good science in this book. When I say "good", I mean interesting, noteworthy, and thought-provoking. It's not just the planet-hopping or the space travel or the advanced intelligent species with supernatural abilities. Shepherd includes a variety of scientific issues worth discussing - the treatment of animals, the evolution of humans, mining resources. The setting of this book is purely fictional, but the scientific basis behind it is fascinating.

As far as conclusion novels go, the plot of this one wasn't bad. In fact, there was a good amount of action and the stakes were incredibly high. I wasn't bored or uninterested for the most part, though I did start to lose a little interest as the Gauntlet dragged on. The Gauntlet begins around the three-quarter mark (or thereabout), and it seems like it drags on. More on that below. In any case, the first half of the book was gritty and harsh, and the second half of the book was heart-pounding and yet a little predictable. The ending of the book was bittersweet and I didn't particularly love it. But it's not a bad ending.

What I Did Not Like:

I can't say I was bored while reading this book, because that wouldn't be true, but my interest definitely slowed down as the end got closer. It felt like the closer Cora got to the Gauntlet, the less interested I became. And then the actual Gauntlet course took forever! I started flipping the pages a little faster.

The predictability of the ending was a little annoying too. We all knew what was going to happen with the Gauntlet! Why not shake things up a bit? The ending of this book, in terms of the Gauntlet, was very obvious and probably the easiest way out. A little cliche though.

Also, you know how at least one main character has to die at the end of a trilogy? In my opinion, the wrong one died. Just my opinion. It wasn't Cora or Cassian, I'll tell you that. But the wrong character died.

Speaking of Cora and Cassian... they were hardly together in this book! As in, they didn't really even see each other until the last quarter of the book or so! And when they did finally see each other - man, I was expecting some swoony times! Sexy times! Anything! These two barely even kiss once! I can't help but feel a little disappointed. Cassian and Cora share some borderline steamy moments in The Cage and The Hunt - but the author gave us nothing, in this book.

Also, the ending in terms of Cassian/Cora did not leave me happy at all. Just saying. I need an epilogue in which Cora changes her mind of something. I'm trying to be vague, but gah! I'm annoyed and disappointed in the ending (in terms of Cassian and Cora). The ending in general is not bad. Though I did find it a little underwhelming - but I found the entire climax underwhelming.

Would I Recommend It:

I liked the series overall, definitely more than Shepherd's debut trilogy. I think this series is a good science fiction series, but it's not a life-changing series in general, you know? I do recommend it if you enjoy YA science fiction, but I don't necessarily recommend it in general.

However, I recommend this book if you've read the previous books in the series, or even if you've only read the first book. Finish the series! It's a fairly good series, and definitely worth finishing. This conclusion novel wasn't a great finish, but I loved the second book (The Hunt).


3 stars. I'm disappointed in myself, because the last two books I read were YA science fiction, and both got 3 stars from me! I love science fiction and I fully expected to love both books. Maybe it is my mood - though I don't think so! Any have Summer/Fall 2017 YA science fiction recommendations for me? Pre-published is preferred!
Profile Image for Long Live Wonderland.
202 reviews8 followers
January 5, 2020
The series started of so strong, but ultimately fizzled out by the end. I'm honestly kinda disappointed with this so I'll just say that this whole book just really felt like one giant cop out.
Profile Image for Marcia.
1,053 reviews109 followers
August 30, 2017
Verrassend spannend einde voor The Cage trilogie. Waar het eerste deel me niet helemaal wist te overtuigen, deden boek twee en drie dat glansrijk. Het verhaal zit vol actie, is origineel en onvoorspelbaar. Ik vond het tof!
Mijn complete recensie lees je op Oog op de Toekomst.
Profile Image for Jamie.
1,448 reviews1,109 followers
December 17, 2020
This book was a lot more violent then the previous two. And some serious twists in the story. Although one was somewhat obvious after a while. The ending was a bit bittersweet. I held nicely, and wow there were times I questioned any type of happy ending it was that...concerning. But it added that much more to my enjoyment of the story. Leon ending up being one of my favorites in this book. He really matured out. Nok and Rold continued to be 'meh' characters. Cora I liked and Willa I loved!

2020-How did I forget so much of this! The death, the puzzles, the trickery! I really wanted to see more from Nok. She had a major opportunity but still relied more on others. Athough she was a bit savy early on. Mali seemed to suddenly mature a lot as a character. Still loved Leon and Willa best. I liked getting to know some of the other alien species better and the gauntlet itself was one twisted beast at times. Best book of the series though. But I wanted more security from the end.
Profile Image for Sarah Louise.
824 reviews389 followers
August 3, 2017
And it's over! As a whole, I really enjoyed this series. From the beginning of The Cage, we had a group of morally ambiguous characters trapped within a zoo-like compound. Their only mission was to escape and return to Earth. Throughout this series, especially within The Gauntlet, it unfolds as a discovery of what it means to be human.

As for the actual anticipated Gauntlet, the puzzles were clever, but surprisingly not my favourite moments. This is where the multiple point of views were an especially great asset. The perspectives outside the Gauntlet, Leon's being my personal favourite, were a nice break from the more intense, Cora focused chapters.

With Cassian still held captive, his presence isn't really seen until further in. And that means less Cora and Cassian interaction, which is a shame. I lost slight interest in him during The Hunt, but having him missing this time made me realize how much of an importance he had.

There's one major instance where a conveniently placed scientific discovery saves the day, which I can't help but be bothered by. Overall, I'm undecided towards the conclusion. This one was appropriate, and made sense for the characters, but not exactly what I hoped for.
Profile Image for Monica Haak.
Author 7 books90 followers
June 15, 2017
I loooove deze serie! Alleen kwam t laatste boek wel langzamer op gang en werd de vuurproef echt POEF POEF POEF gespeeld. Maar toch. <3
Profile Image for Aneta Bak.
427 reviews106 followers
June 13, 2018
In the final novel of The Cage series, Cora must find her way to the Gauntlet and successfully complete the three levels in order to grant humanity the freedom they deserve. The only problem is that Cora and her friends are trapped on Armstrong, a planet that was supposed to be heaven for humans, but turned out to be worse than hell.

I really enjoyed this whole series, from beginning to end. It was a lot different from Megan's last series, and it gave me the Maze Runner feels but had a better female cast of characters.

I haven't necessarily always liked Cora. There were definitely times in the series where she got on my nerves because she was just too stubborn and couldn't agree with any of the other characters. Cora was definitely not a "leader" as the book portrayed her character to be. Even though she has her flaws, that aspect definitely made her feel like more of a real person, and her character development throughout the series was definitely interesting to read about.

Even though Cora had the most important story to this novel, I really enjoyed reading from the other character's points of view, my favorites being Nok and Rolf. The character development these two have gone through was a thousand times better than Cora's. The way that these two are able to adapt to their situations and use what they've learned in the past to their advantage in the present is truly amazing. The romance between Mali and Leon was definitely cute, reading their side of the story definitely gave me some feels.

The thing I love about this series the most is definitely the world that Megan created and all the different details that went into making it seem realistic. From creating different races of aliens, to creating new planets, space ships and even the gestures and actions of some of the alien races were all so carefully thought out and unique. I really enjoyed reading about this world.

Overall, I loved the characters and the world from this story. While I liked Cora, she wasn't really my favorite, which is why I am so glad that this story is told from other's view points as well. This is the second series from Megan that I've read, and I definitely cant wait to see what this author comes up with next.

Happy Reading,
Profile Image for Sahil Javed.
258 reviews251 followers
January 7, 2021
The Gauntlet is the third and final book in The Cage series and takes place after Cora and her group have escaped the Kindred station and landed on Armstrong, what is supposed to be a safe haven for humans. But the town is not what it seems, and Cora must also figure out how to win The Gaunlet, and prove humanity’s intelligence in order to set them free.
“Humanity pulsed beneath her skin, making her realize that being human wasn’t just about memories, but about feeling what all people felt—fear and desire, hope and anguish. About finding one’s own way to belong.”

This was definitely my least favourite book in the series, mainly because the plot was just not as strong as it was in the other instalments. I also felt like I didn’t have much of an investment in the plot of these books, like I was more concerned with the romance between Cassian and Cora. But I think the way this book progressed was predictable, in that Cora did The Gauntlet and won, and then proved humanity’s intelligence and worth, even though she had to fight against the Axion, who were secretly pretending to be the Kindred in order to stop humans from gaining the status of being the fifth intelligent species. Some characters died, like Rolf, whereas others got together, like Leon and Mali. And the book ends with Cora, Leon and Mali making their way back to Earth, where they hear a song, proving that Earth is still there.
“You’ve gone further than any human ever has,” he murmured. “I’m proud of you. Nothing will change that. Nor the fact that I love you.”

The romance is my favourite part of this series and I think that another reason I didn't enjoy it as much was because there was hardly any romance. Cassian is captured for the first half of this book, and then they are reunited in the second half but she is busy doing The Gaunlet. But then they confess their love for each other. But what annoys me the most is how their relationship was left at the end. I understand that Cora is not going to drop her whole life and stay on the planet with Cassian because she has ties to Earth and wants to go back and be reunited with her family. I get that. It’s realistic for her to want to go back. But the way the romance was concluded was just like yeah cool, you stay here and I’ll go back to Earth and then we’ll see what happens. Like what? At one point I’m pretty sure she says that she doesn’t think she’ll see Cassian ever again and that annoyed me because you built up this romance over the course of three books to have it end like that. I’m disappointed. I wanted more.
"The wolves are strong, but the rabbits are clever."

Overall, The Gauntlet was an okay conclusion, it wasn’t amazing, but it wasn’t terrible either. I really wanted more of a rounded conclusion to the romantic aspect of the plot, but you can’t have everything. I did enjoy this series, even though my enjoyment lessened as it went on, but I don’t think it's one I’d ever reread,
Profile Image for Becky -  Pug and Books.
365 reviews3 followers
May 15, 2017
The Gauntlet by Megan Shepherd

Star rating: ★★★☆☆ 3/5 stars

Format: ebook galley

Summary: In the third and final book of her series, Cora is determined to run the gauntlet and help humans become acknowledged as an intelligent species.

Review: I received a free copy of this book for review from Edelweiss.

I was pretty disappointed with this book. I liked the first two books of this series and this one just didn't have the same appeal of the others. There wasn't as much connection to the characters in this, it felt super flat. I guess it didn't help I spent the first half of the book pouting that Lucky was dead.

There were a lot of plot holes in this book that stood out. Particularly the "cheat" to the gauntlet. Cassian made it sound as though he had discussed cheating with Bonebreak and Firemage but he arrived at the last second before the gauntlet began. So how could he have told them that Cora's greatest fear was water so they could replace the water source with stasis fluid?

I've always been kinda meh about the romance between Cora and Cassian, it just doesn't have much of anything going for me. This book did not improve that at all, especially since I'm pretty sure Lucky was only killed to remove him as competition. I really hated anytime they were romantic.

I thought it was a terrible ending, it didn't feel like it really left the reader with any closure. There were a lot of deaths and they just didn't seem to have any of the weight or meaning. It was really disappointing because I really was looking forward to this book.

Recommendation: I hate to say skip the end book of a series but it honestly didn't bring me any closure to the series.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Just a Girl Fighting Censorship.
1,893 reviews113 followers
June 11, 2017
As much as I loved the series, this final book was a bit of a letdown, especially the last 50 pages.

First the good, these characters are fantastic. Bonebreak and the rest of the Mosca are delightful, interesting, complex, and endearing, I wanted more time with them! The rest of the usual gang is great but Leon in particular won me over. He started out as a very unlikable character but has steadily grown into my favorite human.

Overall the book starts off strong as it picks up right where the second book left us hanging. However, as the book goes on some of the revelations and discoveries were a little hard for me to get behind, I'm no scientist but Shepherd's use of DNA was ridiculous even after taking alien technologies into account I was finding it hard to suspend disbelief which distracted from the story.

Also, there's the Gauntlet that we've heard so much about...well it doesn't really live up to the hype. Most, if not all, of the challenges faced are absurdly convenient and not at all challenging enough.

Overall, this book was good but not as great as the two that came before it, bummer.

Profile Image for Saruuh Kelsey.
Author 23 books84 followers
April 4, 2017
That ending was SAD!!!! :(

One of the best damn YA sci-fi series I've ever read - strong from the first page of The Cage to the last of The Gauntlet. I don't know what I can say about this book other than it surpassed my every hope and expectation, and the shocks never let up from the beginning. It's hopeful and miserable and full of guts and determination. I love Cora, I love Cassian, I love the world, the story, the cleverness of the Gauntlet. We even got a sneaky A.I. which I adored. Thank you for this gift of a series. I'm really sad to see it go.
Profile Image for Ruthsic.
1,763 reviews15 followers
May 27, 2017
The conclusion to the Cage series has Cora as the savior of the human race throughout the galaxy in the form of being their champion in the Gauntlet. However, interstellar politics means she has to first fight her way across to even reach the planet where the gauntlet will be held. The squad has to face many challenges, including separation from one another, betrayal and mistrust, and what they learnt through the Cage, the Menageries, the Dollhouse and the Hunt comes to save them now in this test. As the plot evolves, we learn that running the Gauntlet is not just about elevating humans to a superior race, but also about protecting the existing ones.

As a conclusion to the series, The Gauntlet works but I was not overly impressed with it. I remember (even though it has been almost a year) that The Cage and the Hunt were involved books - you could connect to the characters. Here, we get fewer perspectives (Lucky died *sob*) and even with more pages devoted to Cora, I felt essentially out of touch with her. Moreover, once the secret of the Gauntlet was revealed, the plot kinda lost the individual meaning to the characters. It became a Plot Ex Machina at the same time - tying up the threads raised by the new threat in this book too soon. There is much more unbelievable science (or is it spirituality?) involved in this book, and that kind of renders the threats impotent. A series of conveniences and boom, the book ends on a hopeful note. Overall, if you had loved the series, chances are you might still like this book and the ending, but you might not be awed by it.

Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review from Balzer & Bray, via Edelweiss.
Profile Image for Aly.
2,727 reviews
November 17, 2018
Final book in The Cage trilogy.
There was a lot of talk in book 2, The Hunt, about the gauntlet and how hard the challenges are and so I was excited to see Cora try to beat it in this book. The wait for her to begin the gauntlet took a while, like 2/3 of the book, so I felt like it dragged a bit. Then of course, all this crazy action happens at the end and it flies by. The ending of the book wasn't what I hoped for, so I was a little disappointed. The narrator for the audiobook was great again and I highly recommend listening to these.
Profile Image for Shelley.
5,220 reviews462 followers
June 30, 2021
*Source* Publisher
*Genre* Young Adult / SyFy
*Rating* 4.0


The wolves are strong. But the rabbits are clever.”

The Gauntlet is the third and final installment in author Megan Shepherd's The Cage trilogy. In this final book in the Cage series, Cora must do whatever she can to run the Gauntlet, and prove humanity’s intelligence. Otherwise, it is likely that Cora will never see Earth again. The Gauntlet is full of dramatic twists and turns sure to shock readers and keep them on the edges of their seats until the action-packed final scenes. With the whole series now available with the publication of The Gauntlet, these are perfect books for a summer binge-read.

#Full Review @ Gizmos Reviews

Profile Image for Kate.
2,061 reviews77 followers
April 6, 2017
A fantastic ending to a thrilling Science Fiction trilogy! So much action and so much on the line for all the characters in this last installment. Shepherd's world building is impressive, and we see more of the universe she's created than ever before as our main characters find themselves working feverishly to get Cora to The Gauntlet, and the stakes are higher than ever before as the fates of several species rest on her shoulders. If you haven't started this series yet, now is the time to pick up The Cage and The Hunt- I kind of envy your ability to binge read this series all at once, because the wait between books was sweet torture!
Profile Image for Sarah {Literary Meanderings}.
680 reviews281 followers
May 30, 2017

• Find my reviews here: Literary Meanderings

- - -

The Gauntlet is the final book in The Cage series, and I have to say I was pretty satisfied with the end of the trilogy!

The book picks up pretty much immediately after the events of The Hunt. Cora has escaped and Cassian is captured. A ton of revelations took place near the end of The Hunt, so I was pretty anxious to get my hands on this book!



• Cora really grew as a character in this book. She went from a follower to a leader and was strong enough to participate in the Gauntlet and BEAT IT. Cassian sort of took a backseat in this book as the “hero,” giving Cora the spotlight.

• The supporting characters were essential to the story overall. Supporting characters, both new and old, played key roles in the book and the overall end of the story. I was especially impressed with how much I fell in love with Bonebreak. That little bastard surprised the crap out of me.

• The actual Gauntlet Cora participated in was SO interesting. I actually wasn't expecting Cora to have to run the Gauntlet. I expected something to happen to thwart her plans or something, but nope, she had to do it and she did it well. The puzzles and mindfuckery of the Gauntlet really added a freaky element to the story. I also like how the Gauntlet itself is intelligent and thinks for itself.

• I have a love/hate relationship with the end of the book. Let me tell you what I loved first. I loved that Megan Shepherd isn't afraid to kill characters off. This always impresses me if done at the right time in and in the right way. Not only did she kill Lucky in the previous book, but she killed off a main character in this one as well. I also liked that Earth still existed and that although this was the case, some of Cora's friends chose to stay behind and make a home where they were.

This brings me to my ...


• Unlike her friends, Cora decides to go home to Earth. :( Yeah, this ending could be considered a road-less-traveled, but I hated it. I am a romantic and I wanted her to stay behind with Cassian. I get that she has family and yadda yadda yadda, but but... IT IS LOVE! I'm a baby. Wah. *pouts*

That is really the only thing I wasn't a fan of. Aside from this tiny detail in the end, everything was amazing.
The wolves are strong. But the rabbits are clever.
Overall, I loved it. There were a ton of plot twists and even more revelations in this book than the last! It was definitely a jaw-dropper. Cora and her friends grew and morphed into awesome people who essentially saved the universe and stopped interstellar war. Pretty badass, if you ask me. It was a satisfying ending to a trilogy I have adored keeping up with. :) Definitely recommend the series as a whole!

- - -

Book source: From the publisher for review
Publisher: HarperCollins

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Profile Image for Ashley.
1,014 reviews
November 23, 2017
Oh my goodness was this not enjoyable.
Just too many issues for me I'm sorry.
For example:

When burying Lucky-how on earth did Cora dig a pit big enough for his body with her bare hands? I understand she has a chimp helping her (seriously, a chimp), and that it's not very hard packed soil, but still. Have you ever scooped sand with your bare hands? Gets old fast. Would certainly stop before had enough of a hole to bury someone and even if I did somehow have the will to go on...it'd take forever.
We discover that the Kindred and humans are close enough genetically that one completing the gauntlet helps the other. So why didn't the humans get a boost before? And why aren't all Kindred pushing for humans to be recognized? And if they know they come from earth, why aren't they more interested in saving the planet, allowing it to be destroyed? And why are they treating humans so bad? And why do they even need to study their physiology? And...I'll stop.
Then there is the miracle syringe. It contains the DNA from thousands of individuals and somehow you can add to it by drawing blood and it never fills! And somehow just injecting yourself with the DNA slurry you take on the DNA of all others to the point where you can access their knowledge to the point where you can even speak other languages. Because that's totally a thing.
So the Axion were masquerading as a bunch of people. Got it. That's fine. But Anya started showing the signs that she was not actually Anya back on Armstrong, way before they got to the refueling station.
It's awful convenient that it's never mentioned Cassian gets to go into the gauntlet in the last part too, or that it has time for breaks. I mean...wouldn't that be a big part of strategy?
Okay, so we find out that Cora doesn't die because Cassian had all the water used converted into stasis fluid. So...why exactly was he so panicked when the water started to fill the room he was in?
The gauntlet is over, it's time to go home and...it's only going to take a couple weeks to get there? So close and no Kindred thought, "you know, I want to go see if our home planet actually existst." So close, they were able to pick up radio signal pretty quickly. Oh yeah, and that radio signal...why is the farthest reaching signal a radio? FM radio it is my understanding only has a range of about 60 miles. And why would a kindred vessel even be tuned to that?
And in the end...Leon is the only one with a happy ending? Cora and Cassian, despite insisting they're so connected, are not going to be together? There isn't a solution that allows her to be a space ambassador or something? I mean, you have a child as a member of your super important council. Can't we just make up another totally unrealistic position?
Profile Image for Olga .
16 reviews
August 11, 2021
As much as I wanted to enjoy this, it was just mediocre. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not horrible. But I’ve read dozens of better books than this. ( spoilers from here on out).

The ending was so bad. She says she truly loves Cassian and doesn’t want to part him, and THE ONLY THING HE WANTS IN LIFE IS TO BE WITH HER, yet she chooses life on earth, with no clear purpose. It’s because she wants to visit Lucky’s farm and see her family, which I understand but in the grand scheme of things they needed her in space more, and she left cassian. Also she said she’ll never see Nok again which makes no sense because it only takes two weeks to travel. And the fact that cassian can’t stay with her even though he said all he wants to do is be with her is stupid. And some of the writing is very plain in the dialogue. Like when they say someone’s dead they just say " oh they died", which doesn’t seem very realistic. And when Cassian told her BONEBREAKER AND HIS BROTHER SACRIFICED THEM FOR HER, she didn’t even acknolwedge it. The ending wasn’t very satisfying at all. She Basicaly ends up where she was at the beginning. And we should have gone to Anna to see what she feels about ruling the whole country. But one thing I loved was the theme of self sacrifice through out the book. How Lucky sacrificed himself, bone break and his brother, Lucky’s mom, Rolf, All the kindred who sacrificed themselves for humanity and everyone who fought. so I loved that, it was very well crafted. But I feel like the ending was a bit rushed. Also the last thing she says before her supposed death is I never forgot my family which is great and all but I think that’s kind of anti climactic. And the whole thing where Cassian suddenly saves the day with his lying plan wasn’t well executed. Expected more.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Kassandra Patti.
Author 1 book13 followers
June 6, 2017
What a way to end the trilogy. My oh my it was action packed and full of suspense! It kept me from sleep because I just had to know what was going on. I don't like the end too much, I wanted Cassian and Cora to stay together so BADLY! But I understand why they don't but the hopeless romantic in me wanted more. This book was a great end although I'll always want more and more and more from Megan and her books
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Kelly Brocklehurst.
Author 7 books28 followers
February 4, 2020
When The Cage and The Hunt first came out and I read them, I loved them. If I had read The Gaunlet in 2017, when it came out, I probably would have loved it, too. Instead, I let it sit on my shelves from then until now, and I didn't enjoy it. I was bored, I didn't care about any of the characters, and I didn't feel invested in any of them or their stories. So much time had passed since I had read The Hunt that by the time I got to The Guantlet, I had lost interest in the series entirely, and if I hadn't owned The Guantlet, I probably never would have read it at all.

All that being said, I did have some technical problems with the story. The actual scenes that were set in the Gauntlet Cora runs weren't that exciting. Actually, they were opposite: they were boring and the puzzles were too quickly solved. There were some puzzles where in a matter of just a few pages, Cora had solved the puzzle and moved on. There was no tension, and even though we were told what was at stake, it never actually felt like there was anything at stake for Cora.

I didn't like getting the multiple POVs. I can't remember if the first two books in the series had multiple POVs, though I assume they did. The multiple POVs here, though, felt unnecessary and unbalanced. We spent more time in Cora's POV than we did in anyone else's, to the point where I wondered why there were chapters told from other POVs at all.

I think my not liking this book is due to a combination of waiting too long to read it and feeling disillusioned with YA in general (so why I keep reading YA books right now is beyond me). I'm sure other people who are into YA and sci-fi will love this book, but as much as I wanted to love it after loving the first two books in the series, I just didn't.

Profile Image for Haley.
708 reviews6 followers
June 17, 2017
Very heart-wrenching. I wish there was another book, like a romantic epilogue. One thing that crossed my mind reading this is that Bonebreak is basically Yondu from GOTG in this book. And Willa, a chimpanzee who ran the Gauntlet, is their Rocket Racoon kind of. This series has been awesome and it seem Megan Shepherd can make anything awesome because I never liked historical fiction and then I read the Madman's Daughter series, which was the first Hist Fic I like and it was a retelling. I can't wait to read another YA book by her. Hopefully it will be sci-fi or fantasy or paranormal.
Profile Image for Whitney.
432 reviews43 followers
July 13, 2017
The Gauntlet is the final book in The Cage series, and while I found it thrilling and interesting, it was my least favorite book in the series because of the ending. 

In The Gauntlet, Cora and her friends escaped from the Kindred and are on a ship with Bonebreak, a mosca. They left behind Cassian who was being tortured because Cora needs to run the Gauntlet so humans can be considered intelligent like the other species. 

There was a lot of drama, death, surprises, and twists (and a little romance) throughout this novel. Cora is so strong, as is all the others who escaped with her, but they as humans can only fight for so long without help from others. The actual gauntlet sounded incredible and interesting, a total mind warp that pushes you in every direction. With certain species on the brink of war with one another and ready for a complete take over, can Cora successfully complete the Gauntlet to save humanity and her friends, and be considered as worthy as the others?

With plenty of action and heart stopping shockers, The Gauntlet was super intriguing but as the final novel, it was slightly disappointing because of the decision a certain character made at the end.
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