Continuing with the critiques I started in 2015, here is the next in series – a book review.
While watching the reruns of one of the Murder, She Wrote TV Series episodes, for some reason one of the character, Detective Grady, caught my attention. And when I looked up on who played the role, I came across Tom Isbell who not only acted a few films and other TV shows as a bit actor, but also is now an author of a series of books. Naturally that caught my attention more. So promptly I bought a book of his and thus the review here.
The Prey is the first book the three part series The Prey by Tom Isbell published in January of 2015. The plot is set in a post-apocalyptic United States after the world was destroyed by nations who go on nuclear war against each other - an event called Omega. One enormous burst of electromagnetic radiation and everything electronic gets destroyed - no modern amenities left for common man to use. The US is called as the Republic Of The True America and divided into different Resettlement Camps and Territories. The Camps are handled by Military Sargents, Colonels and Majors and myriads of Soldier that everyone called them as Brown Shirts. The specific territory that this plot takes place in is called the Western Federation Territory.
Book is 16 year old and is one of the Less Thans living in Camp Liberty finds an injured boy of his age just outside their Camp. Not having any marker on him and unable to identify where he was from the Camp's supervisors - Sargent Dekker, Major Karsten and Colonel Westbrook - take him in to heel. The boys name him Cat. Cat reveals the actual motive of this camp to Book and his friends - that the kids from this camp are called Less Thans based on their color, obesity, deformities born with, or anything related to politics; that the 17 year old kids who are graduated and sent to Rite are not made into Soldiers in other camps but are turned into Prey for Hunters. Knowing the truth Book along with Cat and 6 other kids - Flush, Twitch, Red, Dozer, June Bug and Four Fingers - plan for an escape from the Camp.
In a parallel story Hope, Faith and her Father - Dr. Uzair Samadhi - have been on the run for ten years escaping The Republic. Now hopelessly injured and closed to death their father asks them to go separate ways so they can save themselves from The Republic since they were twins, right before he breathes his last. Initially they go separate ways, but Hope finds her sister again as she knows Faith cannot survive alone. But they get captured by The Republic and taken to Camp Freedom where they are put up in Barracks B dedicated for twins. Hope immediately finds out that there was something seriously wrong with the Camp and the Sisters - as they called themselves - in Barracks B especially. This camp is run by Dr. Gallingham and Colonel Thorason. Eventually Hope finds out what exactly was wrong and what was happening at this Camps - at the cost of the life of her sister. She also finds some hard truths about her father that she fears if shared she will be a target of every person in the camp. And about the fate of the girls in the Camp at the hands of the tough and cruel woman Chancellor C. Maddox.
So with the remaining 19 Sisters and Hope eventually escape the Camp with help of Book and joins the remaining seven Less Thans into the Skeleton Ridge. How does their fate turn out, where will this journey take them? Will they escape the Colonels, Sargents, Mayors and Brown Shirts of both Camps and reach the next territory - The Heartlands? What is in store for them there? Is it any better than here? The remaining plot follows to get the readers some answers.
The book is written in 3 parts. First Part Liberty introduces us to the key characters Book, Hope and Faith and their lives in the Camps Liberty and Freedom. Part Two Escape shows how the eight Less Thans from Camp Liberty and twenty Sisters from Camp Freedom escape their camps into the Skeleton Ridge. Part Three Prey shows how the twenty eight Less Thans and Sisters make their way through Skeleton Ridge, Flats and eventually into the Heartlands.
There have been many books written with the concept of post-apocalyptic world or dystopian universe. To name a few The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins, Four by Veronica Roth and Maze Runner books by James Dashner. So the plot was very similar and easy to follow with nothing different to offer. What it lacked was the grip the reader needs to stick to the plot. It felt rushing at times and too descriptive at other times. Although it does shows the cruelty to people, settlement camps and the ulterior motives of the so called rulers, it was not very detailed enough to get a jerk in the reader's body. A loose plot with enough unpleasantness, despair and hope shown. Yet it lacked the punch.
I might try the next book to see if it gets any better, perhaps sometime in future. Not a bad first read though.
1) Tom Isbell acted in two episodes of Murder, She Wrote TV Series:
b. In the 1993 episode, ""Threshold of Fear", he portrayed the role of Detective Grady.
2) The episode of Hunters hunting down the Less Thans as Prey, may be fictional in this book. But this kind of sport is very real in the world. There are parts of the world that people are captured by the ones who organize these hunts and thrown into jungles or deserts and the Hunters hunt them like animals and kill them. I had seen an episode on Criminal Mind similar to this and it still keeps me awake whenever I think of that episode. **Shudders and Shivers**