Tuesday, January 20, 2015

ARC Review: The Prey (The Hatchery #1) by Tom Isabell @harperteen

Prey, The photo 22061971_zpsd7c0cf88.jpgA hot debut trilogy and a riveting story of survival, courage, and romance in a future where creating a master civilization is the only thing prized, no matter the method. After the Omega (the end of the end), 16 year old guys known as LTs discover their overseers are raising them not to be soldiers (lieutenants) as promised, but to be sold as bait because of their Less Than status and hunted for sport. They escape and join forces with a girls’ camp, the Sisters, who have been imprisoned and experimented on for the "good of the Republic," by a government eager to use twins in their dark research. In their plight for freedom, these heroes must find the best in themselves to fight against the worst in their enemies.

Title: The Prety (The Hatchery #1)
Author: Tom Isbell
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: Janaury 20, 2015

Brooke's Review:
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.

Tom Isbell photo 1526272_901241079901934_6503845174283429244_n_zps02fcc971.jpg
A graduate of the Yale School of Drama and the University of Illinois, Tom Isbell spent his professional career acting in theatre, film and TV, working opposite Robert DeNiro, Ed Harris, Helen Hunt, Lynn Redgrave, Rosemary Harris, Hal Holbrook, Anne Bancroft, Sarah Jessica Parker, John Turturro, Angela Bassett and others. TV credits include Designing Women, L.A. Law, Golden Girls, Murder She Wrote, Coach, Family Ties, Columbo and recurring roles on Jake and the Fat Man and Sisters. Film credits include 84 Charming Cross Road, Jacknife, Clear and Present Danger, The Abyss and True Lies. He was also the subject of a PBS documentary, Starting in Innocence.

He has written and performed three one-person plays, including Me & JFK, which has been produced in New York, Los Angeles and Egypt. With John Ahart, he co-authored Walt Whitman and the Civil War, which premiered at the Great American People Show in 1995.

As a director, Isbell has taken two productions to the Kennedy Center as part of the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF): Dear Finder, a documentary play about the Holocaust, and The Movie Game, written by Adam Hummel. He is the former National Playwriting Program chair for Region V of KCACTF.

An associate professor at the University of Minnesota Duluth, he was recently named the Albert Tezla Scholar/Teacher of the Year, as well as a Horace T. Morse Distinguished Teacher, the highest undergraduate teaching honor given within the University of Minnesota. He is happily married to Pat Isbell, who is both an actress and elementary school teacher.


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2 comments:

  1. I've been hearing a lot of what you mentioned about this book. It did sound really interesting, but also quite confusing. I got an ARC, but didn't read it because I have so many other books in my tbr pile. Maybe I'll get around to it, but I'm not rushing. I do love dystopians though.

    Michelle @ Michelle's Minions

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Unfortunately, totally confusing. I like the concept, but it needs to be fleshed out more. I won't be moving on to the next one. It just was not for me.

      Delete

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