Andrew Fukuda's The Hunt before you dive into this post!
When we left Gene, Sissy, and the other survivors, they'd made their way to a boat and were trekking up the river in hopes of eluding the ravenous vampires that were pursuing them. The Prey (releasing tomorrow) picks up right where The Hunt left off.
After their narrow escape from the Heper Institute, Gene, Sissy, and the others now fight for survival on the river. It's their only hope in remaining safe from the vampires that hunt them. With just a few notes from the Scientist to guide them, they believe the river will take them to safety. What they find at the end is beyond their wildest dreams. A solitary settlement located within the mountains seems almost too good to be true. Food is plentiful and the people within the fortress walls have no fear of the vampires outside. But Sissy and Gene quickly realize that there's something very strange in this little village: there are almost no men or boys and the women live by a strict set of rules set by the Elders in charge. And what of Gene's father, the Scientist? For Gene and Sissy, this longed for salvation may be just as dangerous as the life they've just escaped.
The Hunt was one of the most original twists on the vampire trend that I've seen in ages. The blend of post apocalyptic/dystopian setting and the last of humanity fighting to survive - with Gene passing himself off as a vampire - made the book a tense and unique read. It's hard to imagine that Fukuda could top that, but he almost does with The Prey.
The tension and suspense that made The Hunt such a quickly paced read, is still there in The Prey. Plus there are so many new questions: what's Gene's dad up to? What's up with the settlement? What awaits Gene and the others beyond this newfound village? What's up with Ashley June (who you may recall was left behind at the Institute)? And so much more!
Some of the issues that come up in The Prey are really dark. It's common in an end of the world setting to see this sort of pessimistic downfall of humanity theme, so I wasn't surprised, but Fukuda's presentation of these issues is still shocking and thoughtful. It's a pretty emotional read, to be totally honest - one that left me breathless with anticipation (cheesy as that sounds) and fearful of the fate of the characters. There is a slight tinge of hopefulness in spite of all that seems so hopeless by the time you get to the end of the book. Overall, The Prey is an incredible follow up to The Hunt.
I have to say I am really loving this series. It's a perfect cross over for both teen and adult readers. Beware, readers, there's also a cliffhanger ending here in The Prey. I think Fukuda must be laughing somewhere imagining all of us ansty as hell to get our hands on the next book!