Title: The Prey
Author: Tom Isbell
Series: The Hatchery
Book #: 1
Reading Level: YA
Goodreads Rating: 3.25
Published: Jan. 20th, 2015
A hot debut trilogy and a riveting story of survival, courage, and romance in a future where creating a master civilization is the only thing prized, no matter the method.Taschima's POV:
After the Omega (the end of the end), 16 year old guys known as LTs discover their overseers are raising them not to be soldiers (lieutenants) as promised, but to be sold as bait because of their Less Than status and hunted for sport. They escape and join forces with a girls’ camp, the Sisters, who have been imprisoned and experimented on for the "good of the Republic," by a government eager to use twins in their dark research. In their plight for freedom, these heroes must find the best in themselves to fight against the worst in their enemies.
The Prey has one of those premises that just grabs your attention. Post apocalyptic world in which people are hunted for sport, high stakes, danger, maybe a bit of romance? I was hooked. Until I read the first 10% of the book. Then I found myself dragging my eyes along the page, counting down the percentage until this story came to its end.
The problems with The Prey go way past sentence structure and awkward descriptions. There is barely any world building, all you are told is that the "Omega" day happened, nuclear weapons were released (for no good reason it seems) all uppity into the air and the world was no longer the same. Electromagnetic BS made all the electronics on this side of the world (I think, wasn't really explained in detail, or at all) go bye bye and so they live in a "post apocalyptic world". Only, we don't know exactly why this war happened, in what state exactly the world is (because seriously, only the kids at this particular camp seem to be affected by "radiation" which affects NO ONE ELSE IN THE PLANET --at least no adults-- cause everybody else they meet show NO RADIATION SIGNS), or pretty much anything. We get no explanations, other than "this war happened, everybody hates you now because you are different, deal with it".
Things (objects and such) seemed to come up out of nowhere. Whenever binoculars were needed, there they were (and after an excuse allowed them to magically appear... just dont ask too many questions), whenever darts were needed they magically appeared by the dozens, and whenever our characters just needed their fellow bad guys to act super stupid and basically ignore them, the bad guys obliged.
Don't even get me started on the insta-love romance. It is one of the laziest romances I have ever read. Both parties are instantly attracted to each other, creating connections that aren't even there before they even speak for the first time. After meeting each other ONCE they already spend more than half their allotted chapter day dreaming about each other instead of, well, I don't know, thinking about the state of their situation and their world. But that would lead to maybe some world building, and who wants THAT? *raises hand way up high, and waives it like she just don't care*
"She has a memory of the boy in the barn, remembering the strong grip of his hand, the powerful kindness in his eyes. Maybe he can come to her rescue, she thinks. Maybe he will magically appear and cut through these bindings and lift her up, her body pressed agaisnt his chest as he carries her to safety. Maybe..."
"As she does, she thinks of the Less Than-Book. Although their encounter seems like a distant dream, she lets herself pretend it's Book who strokes her arms. She imagines him holding her firmly against his chest, the heat from his body mingling with hers."
This is after Hope has met Book (yeah seriously, that is his name, BOOK), ONCE. This is not the last time she will day dream about Book before they even meet again. The romance is too clingy, too fake, too soon. I just don't buy it, not from her nor him.
To make matters worse, a love triangle is tentatively introduced that makes Hope just completely lose sight of what is important, and who has been there for her for her entire journey.
The love triangle obviously did not work. I believe the third part to this love triangle didn't even acknowledge the girl once. It was all on her head. I felt like it was unnecessary.
One good quality of The Prey is the character of Book, in some small way. He is clearly not the one everybody thinks as the automatic leader. He is small, bookish, not very athletic, but smart. And he uses those smarts (most of the time) to get things done. I enjoyed that he wasn't the stereotypical leader because it was something different, having what would have been considered the "side-kick" as the main character. So kudos.
The Prey is something that has been done before, with far better results. I wish I could say that I may give the sequel a chance, but quite honestly I wont. I only finished this one because I was hoping that it would get better, that the plot line (iffy) would be explained in a better way, that the world building would happen, that the characters wouldn't make me want to rip off my hair... definitely not for me.