“The Prey,” the sequel to “The Hunt,” by Andrew Fukuda really makes Fukuda’s writing skills shine. It’s the middle book in a trilogy — typically the book that bridges the action and character development in the first book to the climax in the third book. Second books tend to be less action-filled.
Not “The Prey.” Not at all. This sequel is perhaps even more action-filled and thrilling than the first book. Gene, the human who had lived most of his life as a “heper”(vampire word for human) among vampires, has escaped from the vampire community into the desert with a few other human children. They were the human children that the vampires raised in a huge glass bubble, taking the adults (parents) for fun and food. Sissy, the only girl and the leader, and the other boys escape with Gene. Once across the desert, they find a river with a boat anchored there and take the boat to try to escape from the vampires chasing them.
The vampires continue to chase them across the desert, using what tools and protection they can to protect themselves from the deadly sunlight. Eventually, they even find a way to follow the escapees down the river (even though vampires in this world cannot survive in deep water).
Gene and the other humans finally reach an outpost, a village, with humans living what at first seems to be an idyllic life — happy faces, lots of wonderful food, no vampires. But the village has suspiciously few boys and very few adult men or women. There are only a group of “elders” and lots of young pregnant women.
The set-up seems very suspicious to Gene and to Sissy, but the other boys seem appeased — sated, in fact — by the huge amounts of really good food and the compliant women (the older boy, Epap, especially appreciates the latter). Sissy is separated from the boys, and Gene also is kept apart from the others.
The dark side of the village soon comes to light when the branding scars on the forearms of the young women are seen. The elders are drunk much of the time and are the only ones who seem to be allowed free speech. The rules for the rest include: no one is to be left alone — groups of three at a minimum; smiley faces are required; and nobody is allowed to ask questions.
Gene is informed by the elders that the rest of the world consists of humans, unlike the vampire world he had known. And that human community — the outside world — has requested that Gene and his group be sent to them. There is a train that will take the kids there.
What Gene discovers and where the train really leads is a huge part of the exciting plot. How he escapes (no spoiler here — what protagonist ever dies in the second book?) and what he figures out will keep the reader on pins and needles waiting for the third story to come out.
This reader started reading in the afternoon and didn’t go to sleep until the early morning hours to finish the book. It’s a story that can’t be put down. Even reluctant readers will love this series! As a matter of fact, if this trilogy isn’t made into a movie, someone out there in Hollywood is asleep at the wheel.
Please note: This review is based on the final hardcover book provided by the publisher, St. Martin’s Griffin, for review purposes.
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