by Nicholas Conley
2012. 320 pages.
Genre: Thriller, Horror, Young Adult
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Who is Ethan Cage?
Is he just a troubled 17-year-old high school student? A quiet, intelligent kid with a bad home life? Or is he a shattered human being, a boy who lost his faith in the world when he discovered that his loving father was secretly a psychotic serial killer?
As Ethan’s world suddenly spirals out of control, he must confront the reality of his dark past and finally make the decision that will either define his life – or cut it short prematurely.
First Sentence: Ethan Cage was only ten years old the night that changed his life forever.
Are any of you truly surprised that I gave a Nicholas Conley book 5 stars? This man just never fails to impress me! The Cage Legacy is Conley’s first novel. It differs from Pale Highway and Intraterrestrial slightly in genre in that this one is a dark thriller. And that, my friends, is one of the best genres out there!
Imagine as a young child that your father is your hero and mentor, yet in a single night that image is shattered when the cops raid your house and arrest your father for being a sadistic serial killer. Do you think that might mess with your childhood psyche just a bit?
Poor Ethan Cage is growing up in a broken home now as his father rots away in prison. His mother is a pill-popper that abuses his younger sister, Mary, and Ethan himself is struggling with the typical identity crisis that most of us face as teenagers with the added stress of coming to terms with how he feels about his father, authority figures, and his own darkness.
The Cage Legacy examines the idea that certain behaviors tend to follow genetics and get passed down from generation to generation vs. the idea that we are who we choose to be, despite how our dna is pre-programmed. Like all of Conley’s main characters tend to be, Ethan Cage is well developed and easy to empathize with. The story dives deep into his inner psyche and his struggle to overcome the darkness that every human being craves at one time or another — complete control.
The fun truly begins when Carter Cage escapes from prison. the character of Carter Cage combines the personas of the sadistic serial killer and the mad scientist beautifully! The only redeeming quality for Carter is the love he has for his son, and his reasoning for breaking out and going on another killing spree is as warped as a mad scientist can get. The man is insane as well as brilliant, and that makes him one hell of a guy to apprehend as well as an intriguing character!
In all, The Cage Legacy was a wonderful read, even during those moments when the gory details started taking shape in my mind and it made my empathetic little heart cry. Cheif Johnson… oh man. I liked his character so much! My only regret is now I am all out of Nicholas Conley books to read!
If he couldn’t have control, he could at least be completely uncontrollable.
The truth was that fate had given him many choices. He’d just chosen the wrong ones.
“We follow the same paths our parents followed, even if it’s unconscious. Then we get cynical, and fall into that whole self-fulfilling prophecy thing. It’s a trap we never escape, since we forget that we’re actually free to make our own decisions. It’s a lie. You can choose your own path, Whitney, if you just step away from the one life tries to choose for you.”
Wounds never heal instantaneously, no matter what you apply to them. They take time.
wounds never heal instantaneously, no matter what you apply to them. They take time.
Life was nothing if not a constant series of decisions, about who you’re going to be.
“Mary, if there’s one thing you need to remember, it’s this. Never put the idea of control first in your life. Life isn’t about control. It’s not about power. The only thing you can control is yourself, and you have to always remember that.”
“We are who we choose to be.”