Written by: Vitina Molgaard
“The knife possessed an answer to the search for his own identity, but it never gave it to him. It was dark, deceptive and supernatural. It was alive charged with a fierce, brutal energy.” – The Cage Legacy
What we have here is a coming of age story with a different twist. Our young man is trying to figure out who he is as a sexual being while dealing with a slightly shattered personality after growing up in the shadow of a psychotic serial killer father.
From the early years of Ethan Cage’s life he has felt somewhat ‘different’ from other people, and with justification. This young boy goes from being an adoring son to an outcast as a result of his father’s actions. As he begins to mature he finds himself not only battling with the normal issues that any pubescent teen encounters. but also a dark aspect to his personality that threatens his sanity. Just as he begins to develop a promising relationship life deals him another blow when his father escapes from prison.
This story has quite a plethora of characters. We’ve already met our protagonist in Ethan so it is time to introduce the main antagonist: his father… Carter Cage. Carter’s a highly intelligent man with certain proclivities towards sadism and murder. While he is a doting father, that does not hinder his other activities. Add to that a drug addicted mother named Evita, who’s not only neglectful, but fearful of her son. Mary’s Ethan’s younger sister, loving despite being mistreated by her mother. Somehow, she’s able to maintain a certain sweetness about her. Whitney’s Ethan’s troubled love interest, and Anthony and Chris play comfort to Ethan, two buddies we could all use in our lives.
Just a heads up, this book falls into the young adult horror class. While we definitely have that flavor within these pages I am going to say that there is enough darkness to breed legitimate adult horror. This one rides a fine line, and Ethan Cage is no Holden Caulfield (Catcher In The Rye), of that we can firmly establish.
It must be said that there’s a command for attention to be given to a fuller development of the main characters. I realize the goal here was to maintain the angst of teenage years, and we do see it, but we are also treated to some heavy material suited for the mature. That being said it is not that this novel does not achieve what Mr. Conley set out to do. He has in fact succeeded, in my opinion. But what I am saying is that I think my expectations of where this novel could have traveled strayed from it’s (presumably) designed demographic. But hey, that’s just my personal opinion.
Would I recommend this book to you? Yes, just be aware that you probably don’t want too young of an adult reading it. It’s rather edgy and vehement, pushing boundaries that some (parents in particular) may find off-putting.
Mr Conley has written the novel I believe he set out to craft tand ultimately, that’s a commendable feat. Whether he sustains a focus on young adult novels is his decision but personally I would like to see him take the leap into adult horror because he has the ability to construct a fine novel that ratchets the terror to an entirely new level, unfit for youth.
The Cage Legacy is a novel to read. It’s not perfect, but it is indeed enjoyable, and it certainly showcases promise of more relishable work from Conley.
Order The Cage Legacy right here.