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DNF Review: The Prey by Tom Isbell

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Prey
Tom Isbell

Series: The Hatchery #1
Genre: YA Post Apocalyptic
Hardback: 416 Pages
Publication: January 20, 2015
by Harper Teen

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.

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.


Book grows up in an all-boys government-run camp. When he meets an injured boy, Cat, in the desert, Book learns that the boys at the camp will become entertainment to be hunted by the rich after they graduate. The Sisters from the girl camp are raised for twisted medical experimentation. I love the concept of twin experiments, but a reason should have been provided. While the storyline is an exciting concept and the originality, the writing doesn’t flow well, and character motivations are missing. The plot may be unique for some readers, but it was lackluster for me.

The book is written in alternating perspectives from Book's first-person, past-tense narration and the third-person, present-tense of Hope, a Sister from the girls camp. It is confused. Although we have a second POV through Hope, her presence did not add to the plot for me. She seems to exist for the purpose of giving Book opportunities to perform heroic acts.

The characters fell flat. I feel no attachment to any of them. The plot focuses on their struggles in the camp and on the run. There is no character development. In addition, the world building is weak and lacking. There is no background information on why the world becomes this way or what the government seeks to achieve with the dual camps. Again, motivation is lacking.

10% into the novel, I began skimming. By the midway point, I still had no idea what is going on. Maybe in the next book the author will go into more details, but The Prey provides the bare minimum of information about the war before the kid’s time. I have no interest in reading further.

An ARC was provided by Harper Collins for review

Rating: 1 Star

  1. The Prey

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** Content warnings are from the parts of the novel that I read and may not reflect the entirety of the novel **

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