Book Critique – The Release (Prey #3)

For review of all books in the series: Go here.

Stars: 3 / 5

Recommendation: Hope & Despair; Friendships & Betrayals; Love & Hatred; Cruelty & Revenge; Rulers & Subjects; Captures & Escapes; every page gives you a variety in characters, emotions, plans, mishaps and terrors. A recipe for a dystopian novel successfully executed.

The Release is the conclusion to The Prey Trilogy by Tom Isbell published in February of 2017. The plot begins n Camp Liberty two months after where it ended in previous book, The Capture, with Book, Cat and Hope, rescuing the surviving Sister and Less Thans, but stuck there for now.

The series is set in 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 becomes the Republic Of The True America and divided into different Resettlement Camps and Territories. The Camps are handled by Military Sergeants, Colonels and Majors and myriads of Soldiers called Brown Shirts. The specific territory that this plot takes place in is the Western Federation Territory.

With Camp Liberty liberated from the people who run them and the Brown Shirts, the only course of action that Cat, Hope, Book & the remaining Sisters and Less Thans have is to go on a full frontal attack at the people who have caused so much ruin and harm in their lives. However, they have unexpected new enemies; surprising allies; and heartache that is again too heavy to carry for such young'uns.

Being teenagers, one would expect them to do mistakes before they have a successful path. Tom doesn’t disappoint us in showing that trait. However, these are survivors and we see more grit and strength in them than normal teenagers. I liked that Tom showed their failures and successes on equal ground. 

Again I am frustrated with one of the protagonist who is so consumed by revenge that even when needed they reject the help they have close-hand. Why couldn’t they accept help and work together better than struggle alone, even if it meant for the good of the other person?

I have read a lot of articles and fictional novels that involved wolves. It always amazed me about how organized the wolf packs are, how they strategize their plan of attacks and how well they take care of their families. I think they are more better than humans. Tom gives us first hand experience of the wolf pack dynamics in this book. 

Tom also touches on the various warfare that countries engage in whether a battle is needed or not - biochemical agents; guns; and any means that can be used. He shows the mind of fanatics so vividly that it gave me shudders. Reminded me of Hitler and also a pair of leaders from our current world.

The book is written in 3 parts - Part One titled Enemies; Part Two titled Allies; Part Three title Release - each subtitled with famous quotes. Each part's title inadvertently giving a concise of what we would find in just one word. Ingenious, I say. The entire plot is written in first person narration when the story is told from Book's perspective and normal manner when it is told from Hope or other's perspective. 

Contrary to the previous two books, I found quite a lot of errors by the author in this book. Although the plot wasn’t written hurriedly or no where concluded in a quick finish, but perhaps the editing was too faster and who ever did the editing missed them. 

The conclusion to the series comes with heartbreaks; consequences of the battle against the evil; and eventual win. But it also comes with resolution of past; blending of hearts and minds; and a brave new world for the survivors of the apocalypse and the battles they faced. I would have preferred a little more into the life of the characters in the new world that is formed after the antagonists are vanquished.

Hope & Despair; Friendships & Betrayals; Love & Hatred; Cruelty & Revenge; Rulers & Subjects; Captures & Escapes; every page gives you a variety in characters, emotions, plans, mishaps and terrors. A very good conclusion to the series, despite my misgivings on the first book.

Spoiler Alerts:

1. Plot reveals:

a. Hope was looking to find her childhood home in the previous book. Tom gives a closure to that in this book.

b. It was unknown if Miranda betrayed the protagonists in the end of Book 2, even though she had helped once. In this Tom makes it clear that she did try to help at the cost of her life.

c. Dr. Galingham claimed that Dr. Uzair Samadi, Hope's father was known as the Butcher of the West and had been an active participant in the experiments conducted on girls. Tom gives a closure to Hope regarding her father in this book.

d. Media, Books and Music that are referenced in the book - Book quotes from John Dunne's No Man is an Island; A Tale of Two Cities; Nathan Hale, the Revolutionary War hero; Shakespeare's Rome and Juliet.

2. Sub-Plots:

a. Various Territories:

i. Current President of the Republic of The True America & his aides - President Vasquez; James Heywood; Jocelyn Perrella;  

ii. Western Federation Territory - lead by Chancellor Cynthia Maddox

iii. The Heartlands Territory - 

iv. Skeleton Ridge

v. No Water

vi. Eagle's Nest

vii. The Skull People - The founder of The Skull People, Goodwoman Olvera, is Book's grandmother. His mom was Maria who died giving birth to him. Others - Goodman Dougherty; Goodwoman Marjorie Marciniak; 

b. Less Thans other than Book who have escaped Camp Liberty - Cat; Flush; Twitch; Red; Book's dog Argos follows them.

c. Sisters other than Hope Samadi who have escaped Camp Freedom - 19 of them escape; Diana; Scylla; Helen; Angela; Lacey. Hope's mother was Charlotte Patterson Samadi.

d. Various groups the Less Thans and Sisters face - Crazies; Brown Shirts; Colonels; Sergeants; Mayors; Hunters (lead by a Man in Orange vest)

e. Camp Liberty - Boys are kept here who are called as Less Thans. A total of sixty-eight survived at the start of this book.

f. Camp Freedom - run by Dr. Joseph Gallingham who have been experimenting on the girls in the camp. All girls are twins by birth and are called as Sisters. A total of fifty-five survived in this book. Other Sisters - Sarah; 

3. Grammatical / Factual / Location / Historical / Character Errors:

a. On Pg. 12, Line 7 from bottom, shouldn’t it be "…she would cloak herself…"

b. In Chapter 2, author Tom shows that Hope has accepted that her father was actively participating in the experiments conducted at Camp Freedom. Again in Chapter 31, he has her thinking about her dad again as if she hadnt accepted his role in the experiments. Nowhere in book 1 or 2 did author give any inclination about that. In fact he had showed Hope not believing it and trying to find the truth. I wonder what chapters had been cut from the books to have this disconnect. 

c. On Pg. 16, Line 6, it should be "…what do I tell him…"

d. On Pg. 183, Line 7, it should be "…wasn't one of us…"

e. On Pg. 314, Line 15, it should be "…we're not going to worry about…"


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