TITLE: CAGED (Mackenzie Grey #2)
AUTHOR: Karina Espinosa
GENRE: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
PUBLISHED: April 26th 2016
Caged is the second book in the Mackenzie Grey urban fantasy series by author Karina Espinosa. With the help of Lucian, the head vampire of NYC, Mackenzie was able to escape the fate of being forced into a pack by Charles, the alpha of the northeast. Since then Mackenzie has become a better wolf. She has realized her dream of becoming a police officer and has acquired the skills she previously lacked to protect herself. Trouble still follows Mackenzie wherever she goes but she has yet to find a case she can’t solve or an injustice she doesn’t feel obligated to make right.
In Caged the main plot focuses on Mackenzie’s lineage, her personal freedom, and her destiny. As well as the still simmering issue of the Luna’s rights. Mackenzie Grey has had a taste of werewolf society and found it wanting she isn’t a Luna and never plans on becoming one.
“Rights are wronged. Screams are held. Etched scars kill hearts that dare rebel. Victory eats in the presence of the saved. Oppression rests in idle hands of the brave. Lest fear ignite a silence too loud to ignore, Untie the bonds, reclaim what’s yours. Tides rise in the wake of the unchained moon. Innocent howls split open the sleeping tomb. Only one will champion and lead the enraged. No warrior surrenders. No warrior remains caged. “That’s what the wolf told me during my Quest. I sweated enough to hydrate a third-world country, and that was the shit it told me. It doesn’t even make sense!” I whined. “And then La Loba, after more than a year later, tells me saving Emma is the journey the Vision was talking about!”
“Lunas weren’t slaves, but they weren’t free to be who they wanted to be. There was a structure and they had to follow it. It was the reason I was on the run and not part of the Brooklyn Pack. I couldn’t live like that—I’d rather be dead.”
To save a juvenile female werewolf from becoming a luna Mackenzie must come out of hiding and face the truths of her lineage head on. As events unfold, Mackenzie realizes she can’t hide forever and she doesn’t want to be looking over her shoulder for the rest of her life. She wants to changes things so that she can truly be free.
“The oppression of Lunas! What they’re doing is wrong and I haven’t done a thing about it. What if it’s my job to change things…for Emma,”
“I don’t want to be on the run forever and I can’t throw Emma to the wolves.”
At the end of book one, Mackenzie learned she was adopted although she chose to ignore it. In Caged Mackenzie’s lineage is brought to the forefront. She learns who her father is, which only creates more problems for her. She becomes the most wanted unmated female luna of the American werewolf nation. Alphas are willing to go to any means to capture her and force her into their packs.
Mackenzie is forced to defend herself and fight for her freedom several times. Realizing that fighting for her own freedom changes nothing. Mackenzie’s fight becomes a fight for the rights of all lunas. Mackenzie becomes the Simone de Beauvoir of the werewolf world.
“Look at this part: Only one will champion and lead the enraged. I know I’m not the only Luna who is sick of their misogynistic ways. I can do this, Rome, I know I can. I have to—for my own freedom.”
“Right now there is an eleven-year-old Luna in the warehouse and Charles has no idea where to place her. What if she lands in a Pack similar to Chicago’s? Is that the future you envision for any child you plan to have? To raise girls who will become slaves and boys who will become monsters?” I took a breath and eased my racing pulse. “We can do something about it. We have to stand up for ourselves—we are capable, I’m living proof that we are.”
Mackenzie also has to deal with the still simmering love triangle between herself, Sebastian the alpha of the Brooklyn pack, and his beta Jonah.
“What’s going on between you and Jonah?” I said, as we entered Cold Springs, my hometown. “Nothing.” “No, there’s something and I feel like I’m entitled to know. So spill, because I won’t shut up until you do.” He sighed. “We haven’t been seeing eye-to-eye, lately, that’s all.” “Why? You guys are best friends.” “Sometimes that’s not enough, Mackenzie. People change.” “Do I have anything to do with it?” I fiddled with the radio station to occupy myself. “Yes,” he whispered.”
Sebastian seems to have come to terms with Mackenzie’s alpha personality. It goes against his Alpha sensibilities, but he respects Mackenzie’s right to make decisions about her own life.
“You’re just going to let her do this?” Jonah asked his Alpha. “You heard her, Jonah. It’s her life, her decision. We will respect it and do what we can. You understand?”
Jonah who in book one seemed the most likely to succeed in the fight for Mackenzie affections, in Caged reveals his true colors. While he loves Mackenzie, he has no respect for her independence. He would see her safe by any means in spite of what she wants for herself. For his own happiness and peace of mind, he would turn Mackenzie into what she would never want to be, a luna.
“You think I would own you? I wouldn’t do that to you, Kenz,” his brown eyes saddened. “Essentially you would. At some point in our mate-whatever-matrimony, you would put your foot down on something you were against me doing. It would be irresponsible of me to think you could change.”
By the end of Caged, the issue of Mackenzie’s lineage and freedom is somewhat resolved, but the issue of the luna’s rights seems to have ended in a massacre.
Throughout the first two books, I really enjoyed Espinosa’s writing. Caged is definitely a step up from Shift; the Author seems more confident in her tale. Espinosa knows exactly where the story is going and takes us three via fastest route. Caged is enjoyable and face-paced. I recommend the book to urban fantasy lovers or any reader looking for a quick escape from reality.