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The Prey

The Prey

4.4 13
by Tom Isbell

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The Maze Runner meets The Hunger Games in this heart-pounding trilogy. 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. Riveting action, intense romance, and gripping emotion make this fast-paced adventure


The Maze Runner meets The Hunger Games in this heart-pounding trilogy. 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. Riveting action, intense romance, and gripping emotion make this fast-paced adventure a standout debut.

After a radiation blast burned most of the Earth to a crisp, the new government established settlement camps for the survivors. At the camp, these sixteen-year-old "LTs," are eager to graduate as part of the Rite. Until they learn the dark truth: "LTs" doesn't stand for lieutenants 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.

Editorial Reviews

ALA Booklist
Readers will appreciate the irony and subtle, deeper meanings in character and location names as Isbell shapes his own vision of a dark world. Pair this with other blockbusters about hope in the midst of despair and danger, Veronica Roth’s Four, Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games, and James Dashner’s Maze Runner
Publishers Weekly
In actor and first-time novelist Isbell’s dystopian future, kids like Book are all too common—orphaned, congenitally deformed by nuclear fallout, and living in “resettlement camps” after EMPs rendered electronics useless. Book believes that life in Camp Liberty is still better than the lawless outside world until a runaway from another camp shows him the truth: he and his friends are society’s “Less Thans,” being raised for the rich and powerful to hunt for sport. As Book begins planning his escape, he meets Hope, a girl in a neighboring camp, who is an identical twin, the government’s perfect test subjects. The two protagonists work well together, though their romantic story line—including a halfhearted love triangle—is a bit forced. But the book plays to its strong suits, with plenty of peril (human and otherwise) and illuminating glimpses of the world outside the camps that allowed this system to thrive. First in a planned trilogy, the story delivers its message without moralizing and will keep readers rooting for Book and Hope. Ages 13–up. Agent: Victoria Sanders, Victoria Sanders & Associates. (Jan.)
School Library Journal
Gr 7–10—A largely derivative work that borrows plot points from several popular dystopian novels. Despite this lack of originality, Isbell's tale keeps readers intrigued and makes a solid contribution to what is becoming an overextended genre. In the Omega post-nuclear-war age, an EMP has wiped out all electricity and civilization must rebuild; thus the Republic of the True America divides the population into resettlement camps. Protagonists Book and Faith reside, respectively, in Camps Liberty and Freedom. Camp Liberty houses "LTs," those with birth defects or "abnormalities" like dark skin. LTs believe they are being groomed to be lieutenants, but in reality they are "Less Thans," who are to serve as live game for hunters. After Hope and Faith's father's death, the twins find themselves in Camp Freedom undergoing Nazilike experiments. This plot-driven novel covers familiar territory and the characters do not bring anything new to the genre, yet the action and writing make up for its shortcomings. The book ends with several unanswered questions; no doubt avid dystopian fans will anxiously await the next installment.—Laura Falli, McNeil High School, Austin, TX
Kirkus Reviews
Teens uncover their post-apocalyptic, dystopian society's secret program that segregates those deemed inferior to use as game in rich men's hunts.An orphan nicknamed Book who's grown up in an all-boys government-run camp discovers a strange new boy, near death, in the desert. Book befriends him and learns that after the boys graduate, they aren't bussed away for leadership positions as promised—instead, they're hunted by the rich as entertainment. Turns out they're scapegoated Less Thans—a designation given to undesirable races, religious groups, political dissidents and a variety of other discriminatory categories. Alternate chapters break from Book's first-person, past-tense narration for a third-person, present-tense account that follows Hope, who's been running from government soldiers for years. She and her twin sister, Faith, are captured and brought to a girls' facility specializing in twins for twisted medical experiments. Brought together by chance, Book and Hope feel an instant connection. That doesn't stop them from making a weak love triangle with another character when small groups from each camp unite to escape certain extermination. Running for freedom, they face such perils as soldiers and wolves, but the most dangerous are the hunters, yielding scenes in which the teens use clever strategy to defend themselves against the better-equipped hunters. Isbell aims for inventive description but frequently fumbles, producing phrases like "anvil-shaped face." Light worldbuilding leaves too many questions unanswered, paving the way for the sequel. It's an exciting concept, but the execution is for the most part mediocre. (Dystopian adventure. 13 & up)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Prey Trilogy Series , #1
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.80(h) x 1.20(d)
650L (what's this?)
Age Range:
13 Years

Meet the Author

Tom Isbell is an actor-author-professor. A graduate of the Yale School of Drama, he has acted in theater, film, and TV, working opposite Robert De Niro, Ed Harris, Sarah Jessica Parker, and others. Currently a theater professor at the University of Minnesota Duluth, he has had three of his plays produced by the Theater for Young Audiences at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, including Teddy Roosevelt and the Treasure of Ursa Major, which was adapted into a book with then–First Lady Laura Bush penning the foreword. Tom and his wife, Pat, live in Duluth, Minnesota.

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The Prey (The Hatchery, Book 1) 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
CTKGurl More than 1 year ago
This book is not just for young adults. It is a deftly told story full of great elements; the plot picks you up right away, and keeps you completely captivated. At times heartbreaking, at turns funny, and heart-poundingly exciting constantly. I don't want to give away any spoilers but there are quite a few nail-biting escape sequences. Cinematic in its language and bleak imagery, it is full of great characters, and their plights, concerns and cares become your own. It is a fast-paced, action-packed story! But don't worry, there are also moments of profound sadness and great passion. It really has everything anyone could ask for from a book. It is a must-read if you like books even a little bit.
Breault More than 1 year ago
This is a fantastic book for anyone seeking a heart pounding adventure. The main characters are so easy to get behind and trust me they will need your support for the harrowing experiences they are forced to endure. The Prey grabs you by the neck from page one and doesn't let go till it's over. It's a fast read that will leave you wanting more. Luckily there are two more books coming out in this series. I can't wait! 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
YES. From the Prologue to the last pages. I loved this book. For me, this novel was an extremely refreshing read. It had qualities of the film "Stand By Me" with Holocaust undertones, and "Hunger Games" experiences...I couldn't put it down,  I even cancelled certain engagements just to finish the book. The relationships between characters is complex, yet still keeping that childhood simplicity we all still long for. I was surprised at Isbell's fearlessness, It's a young adult novel that puts true fear in your heart in the first 5 pages...Not many YA books do that in my opinion. Isbell creates a protagonist who fails at things, does not have a "good shot", and has a leg shorter than the other...Yet from the moment you meet "Book", yes his name is "Book", there's no going back. He becomes your true leader "flaws" and all. You won't regret picking up this surprising YA novel. I can't wait for the sequel.  
mccullumm More than 1 year ago
LOVED. THIS. BOOK.  A brilliantly told story that takes many different twists and turns throughout. I couldn't put the book down, it kept me interested the entire way through. You grow to have a deep understanding for the characters, especially the two protagonists. I loved the dual perspectives, one in first person and the the other in third person. I loved the realness of the characters, who are not always likable but certainly don't have to be. As an avid reader, it felt like a brand new story, one that hasn't been told before... which can often be hard to come by. 
MsBailey More than 1 year ago
This book has many great qualities of a dystopian world. I am no expert reviewer, but I have read my fair share of dystopian novels, and this has become one of my favorites. The story is revealed slowly, we learn what is happening in the world as the characters do.  Which is perfect. If we knew everything about the world going in, the adventure would be over.  The characters are brilliantly written. They face the troubles ahead with grace, strength, and determination. I was on the edge of my seat every moment to see if Hope, Cat, and Book would make it through the next challenge. Mutant animals, storms, brown shirts, and hunters, are all faced with planning that only comes from the most prepared. I was surprised by the ingenuity and intuition that these characters were given.   I was touched by the stories Isbell found the time to intertwine into the story. Each character has a secret, and they are revealed at  the exactly right times.  Set Twenty years into our future, the book is more believable. With people around who still remember the Omega, it makes me wonder who  would be the survivors if these events did happen.  Overall, I loved this bookl. I read it in one day, cover to cover. Although it is a young adult novel, I believe that any age can enjoy this adventure.  And I cannot wait until the next installment!  
Sarah_UK1 More than 1 year ago
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.) After reading the negative reviews for this book on Goodreads I nearly didn’t read it, but I’m so glad I did because I really enjoyed it! I liked the characters in this book. Book always tried to help other people, Hope always looked out for her sister, and Cat hid a heart of gold under that rough exterior. The storyline in this was good, and there was plenty of information for me to not feel confused. Admittedly we weren’t immediately told everything about what had happened, but I was glad of that because I didn’t want info dumps, instead we found out what had happened as we went along, and I appreciated that. This book had lots of action and excitement, and I really liked it! I might be a bit of an adrenalin junkie I’ve discovered, so the constant danger and desperation, not to mention the escaping and battles etc. was enough to keep me happy and interested. At points I really didn’t want to put this down! There was a touch of romance in this, but not a lot. What we did get was pretty sweet though, and I liked it. The ending to this was good, even if the onward plan was a little risky. I really enjoyed this book though and I can’t wait to read the sequel! Overall; really good dystopian adventure, 8 out of 10.
TommyB2 More than 1 year ago
The Prey by Tom Isbell is a heart pounding adventure that takes us into a post apocalyptic America 20 years after a nuclear fall out has devastated the world. The Republic Of True America has emerged and the world is now divided into territories. The Prey is comparable to other YA dystopian books out there, but I believe it stands very much on it's own and has a life and voice to it that explores a more human experience in a post-apocalyptic world. It is grounded in a believable world instead of creating an overly futuristic sci-fi world.  It is written from the perspectives of the main characters Book & Hope, and it really gives the book a unique voice seeing  that each character speaks in his/her own tense. I liked this touch to the book. You really get a feel for the characters and you can step inside their heads and really feel how they operate. All the characters are very well written. The story moves quickly and keeps you guessing what will happen next.  You find yourself getting wrapped up in the characters struggle and the story itself. I honestly could not put the book down and it is definitely a page turner. I finished reading it in two days, and I'm not a fast reader at all.  It was enthralling and when the book was finished, I found myself wanting to know what happens next. In my opinion, that's what makes a good book. One that keeps your attention and makes you want more! Seeing that this is only the first book in a trilogy of books, Mr. Isbell has established his world and made his mark. I cannot wait to see how the rest of the story plays out. I really recommend this book. It's suspenseful, romantic, tragic, witty, real and honest. Give it a read.
Luci_Mazzella More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book is definately a page turner and i can say is one of the best books i have ever read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I want snother one
JC_West More than 1 year ago
I just finished The Prey by Tom Isbell last night. What a fantastic story and page turner! It took all of my willpower to not rush through the book in one sitting. Isbell’s choice to tell the story from two different perspectives (one male, one female) helped me engage with and relate to all of the characters. I am genuinely excited to see how this group of characters grows and changes over the course of the series, and I can only hope to learn more about their backstories in the future. The Prey is so much more than just another dystopian adventure, and it really shows that history has and could again repeat itself. The underlying feeling of work camps and a “superior race” brings me right back to the situations the world experienced during WWII.  Whether you are an avid reader or someone who has not read a book in 20 years, The Prey is an entertaining and thought provoking story that appeals to more than just young adults. I highly recommend it.
Brooke-The-Cover-Contessa More than 1 year ago
I want to thank Harper Teen for sending me a copy of this book to read and give an honest review. Receiving this book for free has in no way changed my opinion or review. When this book arrived in the mail, I was really excited to read it. I haven't read a good dystopian in a while and the cover drew me right in. So I had great hope that this story would draw me in and satiate my need for the genre. Sadly, it did not. I really wanted to like this book. I even read to the end of the book, after contemplating not finishing it a few times, in the hopes the plot of the story would make it a better read for me. But it was just not meant to be. I think my biggest issue with this book was not so much the story line, as it had it's good points, but how it was told. It is written in alternating perspectives. One is first person past tense the other third person present tense. I really don't understand why it was told this way. Usually, third person is done because the author needs the reader to be able to see the character from their own perspective, as opposed to seeing the character through their own eyes. Yet, seeing Hope this way did nothing for me. It didn't make me like or dislike her. It didn't make me feel like I knew her any better. It just made me confused. And having the male POV in first person past tense confused me more. Why was it done in past tense when Hope's POV is present tense? Throughout the entire time I read this bothered me and I could not put it out of my head and move past it to see any greatness in the story.  I also had great issue with many of the descriptors in this book. Sure, the author was trying to make us see certain things (the lay of the landscape, the color of someone's eyes or skin, etc.) but it's all about telling us what things look like rather than showing us. And, in all honesty, I didn't really understand the underlying plot. The boys are raised for sport, the girls are raised for experimentation, but we are never given the background of why the world became this way or what the government is really trying to achieve with the camps they have established. The world building is terribly lacking. How did the camps come to be? Who decided to set them up? Also, the government officials the reader is introduced to during the course of the book really lend nothing to the story. They are just there to be evil and because the reader has no idea why they are in their positions or what is expected of them, it's unclear what their role actually is in the story. Couple this with some unreasonable and unrealistic scenes where these rebellious teens armed only with arrows and darts and traveling by foot are able to fight off adult men toting large guns and riding on ATVs or in motorbikes. And add in an insta-love romance that seems to be going love triangle only to pull back and you get a story that is seriously flawed. And I have to say all the characters were very flat. I didn't get any distinct personality from them at all. Even the way they are described didn't stick with me. And the boys are supposed to be deformed in some way (the main character has one leg shorter than the other) yet they are able to overcome just about anything as if they have nothing wrong with them (it's barely ever mentioned). I felt no attachment to any of them, had no empathy for them to make it out alive in any of the situations that they were put in. Does it have the potential to be good? I think so, if the world building were done better, the story line were tightened, and the alternating points of view changed to be in the same tense. I'm actually surprised after reading the ending that this is the first in a series. I can honestly say that I will not be picking the next book up. Dystopian lovers may or may not enjoy this book. Unfortunately, it just was not for me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Poorly written