The Prey

I’m going to be honest here.

I didn’t expect this book to be great. I know, I know- don’t judge a book by its cover and all that. But it was one of those books you pick up at the last second, push to the side amidst long-awaited sequels, and eventually muddle your way through while simultaneously watching your favourite reality TV show. You might take a liking to one of the characters; you might even search up the author’s website in a moment of boredom.

The Prey by Tom Isbell is nothing like that.

Based in the radiation-torn Republic of True America, this book starts off with Book, a sixteen-yar-old boy who was born with one leg shorter than the other. Since he could remember, he’s been living in Camp Liberty, a facility where boys live until they pass through the “Rite” at the age of seventeen. Book can’t wait until he passes through the Rite and finally becomes one of the Brown Shirts… until a mysterious boy shows up at the boundaries of camp to tell him otherwise. The boy, nicknamed Cat, shows Book what really happens when you go through the Rite: the campers are hunted down for the same mental and physical differences they were sent to Camp Liberty in the first place for.

The second chapter starts the story of a sixteen-year-old girl named Hope. Straggling through the wilderness with her father and twin sister Faith, they’ve been living on the run ever since the Brown Shirts murdered her mother ten years prior. Just before her father dies, he tells Hope that she must separate from Faith if she wants to survive. Obviously, she’s like, “um… okay, you’re delusional, and how ’bout not?” but that doesn’t stop Faith from running off in the night. Long story short, Hope and Faith end up in a different concentration camp, called Camp Freedom, where most girls have a twin, and some don’t… anymore.

Following the adventure of Hope, Book, Cat, and all of their friends as they try to escape the Republic, this book is pure awesomeness in all four hundred and four pages. Since this book has some pretty complex themes, and has obviously taken a lot of inspiration from what happened in World War II, I would reccomend this more for grade eights and up. Personally. But, I mean, if you’re in grade four and you find this book really interesting, who am I to hold you back? It’s a great book. The Prey– in my experience, which I’m not saying is extensive by any means- is one of the best books I’ve ever read. Hands-down.

It was just enough action. Just enough inspiration. Just enough fantasy. Just enough reality. Just enough romance. Just enough tragedy. Just enough we’re-probably-going-to-die-today-and-I-couldn’t-have-asked-to-be-with-better-people.

Just enough why-haven’t-I-heard-of-this-book-before.

the prey book cover