Author: Andrew Fukuda
Genre: YA, paranormal dystopia
Publication Date: January 29, 2013 (St. Martin’s Griffin/Macmillan – North America)
Source: Publisher-provided finished copy
Summary: For Gene and the remaining humans—or hepers—death is just a heartbeat away. On the run and hunted by society, they must find a way to survive in The Vast… and avoid the hungry predators tracking them in the dark. But they’re not the only things following Gene. He’s haunted by the girl he left behind and his burgeoning feelings for Sissy, the human girl at his side.
When they discover a refuge of exiled humans living high in the mountains, Gene and his friends think they’re finally safe. Led by a group of intensely secretive elders, the civilisation begins to raise more questions than answers. A strict code of behaviour is the rule, harsh punishments are meted out, young men are nowhere to be found—and Gene begins to wonder if the world they’ve entered is just as evil as the one they left behind. As life at the refuge grows more perilous, he and Sissy only grow closer. In an increasingly violent world, all they have is each other… if they can only stay alive.
☆: 4/5 stars – not quite good as book 0ne, but still a great followup to “The Hunt”!
Review: While not quite as satisfying as book one, “The Prey” is still a great middle book for this trilogy, and gives us some much-needed information and more excellent worldbuilding based on what Fukuda gave us in “The Hunt”. And tons of more action and tension, too. But the lack of satisfaction has me looking all the more forward to the release of “The Trap”, which should be released later this year. “The Prey” isn’t the most exciting sophomoric effort of 2013 so far, but it’s still a very solid and important installment in “The Hunt” trilogy.
In a very Tolkienian move, most of “The Prey” is dedicated to the journey to what the dome hepers call the outside world The Land of Milk and Honey – so there’s a lot of walking. Prepare yourself for it. But at the same time, it’s not boring journeying – much of the time Gene, Sissy, and the rest are being chased by either the vampires or, in a surprising and rather ballsy move on Fukuda’s part, by their own kind. Be it in the continuing Hunt or just on the lam, Gene and Sissy’s group is almost constantly on the run, and even when they’re not, the tension, the pressure and urge one feels as the reader is absolutely palpable, and Fukuda has improved even more in that technical area, building upon momentous talent that was already there in the first place.
We get a whole bumper crop of new characters in this book, too – literally, a whole village full. Much like Ann Aguirre’s “Outpost”, this book too is arranged around the idea of an outpost (or as it’s known in this book, “The Mission”), a last bastion of humanity in the world full of the supernatural literally wanting to devour them. There are a lot of similarities between the two books, but it ends where the creepy groupthink of the men of the Mission force upon the girls of the village, and Gene, Sissy, and the rest land smack in the middle of it all. This really tests the group’s loyalties to each other, and makes the reader ask themselves – if you’ve spent your life on literal display in front of people who will eat you, would you abandon your life on the run for a simple basic pleasures even if the people providing them are more than a bit dodgy and abusive to one of the people in your group of friends? It’s something that really does make you think and put your brain in where it might go if it’s in survival mode. While these new characters aren’t very fleshed out, they’re fleshed out enough to contribute to the worldbuilding in terms of backstory, and where things might go from here. So in the end, they served their purpose.
While I feel like this book could have been edited and certain events and big reveals could have been sped up and exposed compared to how late they were revealed as things stand as they are now, some of the backstory we get from the Mission’s elders is absolutely insane and stunning. We get to see more of the world outside of the Institute and the dome – we find out where the Metropolis/Institute is geographically, and we find out how far in the future we are (hint: it’s pretty far). A lot of info but not clustered into too many dumps – I’d say that Fukuda interspaced them pretty well with the creepy Mission people’s behavior. When writing a second book in a trilogy, the danger of too many infodumps too close together is pretty large, but he managed to overcome it. I love that Fukuda can keep me on my toes when it comes to mystery and worldbuilding – just when you think you know the rules of this world, Fukuda will totally turn things on their head, and give you just barely enough time to digest, and then send you on the run once more.
I did want a little more out of this one – though I’m glad that the romance was downplayed as much as it could have been (a good move on Fukuda’s part for sure), but glad all the same it was there. I can’t even put my finger on exactly what I wanted more of (maybe a little more active chasing from the vampires? That’s definitely one of them), but I just needed more than I was given. I suppose we’ll get more in the next book.
Final verdict? While not as satisfying as book one for me, I’d say that “The Prey” largely escapes Middle Book Syndrome and gives another delicious bite of this crazy vampire-filled world. Also, can I just say that I love that Fukuda dedicated it to his grandmother? That’s adorable. “The Prey” is out now in North America by St. Martin’s Griffin, so be sure to check it out when you get the chance!