Thursday, January 15, 2015

ARC Review: The Prey by Tom Isbell

The Prey
Author: Tom Isbell
Publication: HarperTeen (January 20, 2015)

Description: The Maze Runner meets The Hunger Games in this heart-pounding trilogy. Orphaned teens, soon to be hunted for sport, must flee their resettlement camps in their fight for survival and a better life. For in the Republic of the True America, it's always hunting season. Riveting action, intense romance, and gripping emotion make this fast-paced adventure a standout debut.

After a radiation blast burned most of the Earth to a crisp, the new government established settlement camps for the survivors. At one such camp, the sixteen-year-old "LTs" are eager to graduate as part of the Rite. Until they learn the dark truth: "LTs" doesn't stand for lieutenant but for Less Thans, feared by society and raised to be hunted for sport. They escape and join forces with the Sisters, twin girls who've suffered their own haunting fate. Together they seek the fabled New Territory, with sadistic hunters hot on their trail. Secrets are revealed, allegiances are made, and lives are at stake. As unlikely Book and fearless Hope lead their quest for freedom, these teens must find the best in themselves to fight the worst in their enemies.

My Thoughts: In this dystopian beginning to a trilogy, boys are kept in resettlement camps where they believe that they are being raised before becoming part of the army. Book is one of the boys. When he finds another boy outside the camp and near death, he is surprised to hear him whisper "You got to get me out of here." When the boy recovers, he takes Book and a couple of other boys to watch boys who have graduated from the camp being hunted. This inspires Book to begin to organize an escape. On one of his initial forays, he discovers a nearby girls camp and meets a girl named Hope.

Hope and her twin sister Faith are new arrivals at the girls camp, They had been living in the wilderness with their father until he died and they were captured by soldiers. They quickly learn that they are being used for medical experimentation (think Nazi Germany and the concentration camps). Faith, who was always gentler and weaker, doesn't survive the experiments. And when Hope learns that the leaders have sent a message to eliminate the evidence of the experiments, Hope and some of the other girls decide that they need to escape too.

A small group of boys and a larger group of girls escape and try to make their way to a new district where they hope conditions are better. They have to battle the hunters, the soldiers, mutated wolves, and the elements as they try to find freedom. The book was action-packed with the girls digging a tunnel which is filling with water to make their escape and then the whole group running from a forest fire set by the hunters. The grossest part was when they had to eat maggot-infested meat to avoid starvation.

Like many dystopias, we have only vague ideas of what caused this and even vaguer ideas of what the world is like outside of the two camps. I am very curious about both of those things and wonder about the economics of raising these young men to be hunted. There has to be money somewhere!

Students who are looking for still another dystopia will enjoy this one.

Favorite Quote:
It was a game: four men with assault rifles versus six LTs with none. Predators vs. prey.
With Cannon supporting his injured friend, the LTs continued running. When they'd covered a good quarter mile, the three men revved their engines and took off. They weren't letting the LTs go; they were merely giving them a head start. For sport.
I got this eARC from Edelweiss. You can buy your copy here.

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