Speculating on SpecFic

Fantastic Literature: From epic fantasy to fairytales to myth-making

The Prey  - Andrew Fukuda Ohhh. It’s set in our future. Right.That’s pretty much all I got from this book – and it was through pages and pages of info-dumping conversation between Gene, Sissy and a guy who turned out to be the villain. But hey, you don’t hear me complaining because I finally figured out what was going on in terms of world-building. One of the things I don’t understand, though, is why the person telling us the history of this world uses terms that we, as 21st century people in this world, understand, but it’s highly unlikely that Gene and Sissy would have understood half of what was said because they don’t know the appropriate history, terminology and lack the proper context. But readers are meant to turn a blind eye to it.Basically, the author proposes that the vampiric disease began in Sri Lanka, a small and conveniently isolated part of our world. It was designed to be a genetic weapon, and of course, everything went terrifically wrong. Initially, the island was converted quickly, but the contagion was contained, and those infected were dying off. At this point our speaker pauses for a breath, and Gene, stupidly, asks “And that’s how it ended?” I do not blame the speaker at all for laughing so hard. Gene – you’ve lived with the infected all your life, and here you are, idiotically asking if that was it, if they all disappeared. What. A. Moron.I don’t think Fukuda handled this aspect well; all world building elements are conveyed in a rather amateurish fashion, and I can’t bring myself to be impressed with it.Which is sad, because there’s really nothing else to be impressed about in this book. All the things I loved about The Hunt – Gene’s struggle to survive in such a hostile environment, the tantalising hints that the author dropped about the survival of humanity, the hilarious conclusions the vampires came to regarding humans – are all absent from The Prey. I had to make do with an annoying, childish cast, a stupid, selfish hero, and a run-of-the-mill dystopian society that bored me. Everything in this book is predictable, straight forward, and clumsily executed.Gene is insufferable in this novel. Nothing about him makes sense – when he realises that there is something very weird happening in the mountain refuge called the Mission, he basically bumbles around causing trouble and demanding answers. All it does it hurt the people around him. He falls in with yet another girl, and now he’s got weird confused feelings for three of them. It doesn’t help that he has zero experience in expressing his emotions, which I know he can’t be blamed for, but it makes for an intensely boring book where Gene can’t figure out what it means when people frown, gasp or look at him funny.There is a lot of action in this book, which is probably its saving grace. I think Andrew Fukuda showed us in The Hunt that he can write action sequences well, and it continues to show in this book. There were times where my heart was pounding, and I was rooting for the team to be successful. However, I feel like the team argued a lot between themselves over who was going to do what. Any time some one needed to risk their life for the others, everyone needed to stop and argue for five minutes over who was going to do it (wasting time people, aren’t those vampires faster than cheetahs?). It didn’t matter anyway frequently it was decided that Sissy or Epap would do something, only to have Gene tag along, instead of taking care of the younger kids like a smart person would. But for Gene, it’s always about number one.I’m not sure how eager I will be to read the third and final volume of this series. I do want to see Gene figure out his and Sissy’s role in everything, to finally get to the bottom of the mystery that is his father, to get more than a glimpse of what life is like outside the two sheltered environments that we have seen so far. But I don’t think I can read much more about Gene, Sissy and the rest of the gang.If you pick this up, I sincerely hope you enjoy it a lot more than I did.A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for review.You can read more of my reviews at Speculating on SpecFic.