4.5 stars.Andrew Fukuda returns full force with a sequel that grapples you as soon as you begin reading, as if you were the book’s prey. The Prey picks up where we left Gene, Sissy, Epap, Ben, Jacob, and David at the end of The Hunt as they escape the Duskers, the vampire/zombie-esque race that dominates Fukuda’s post-apocalytpic world. In The Prey Gene and the hepers are in search for the Land of Milk and Honey, Fruit, and Sunshine that the Scientist – who we learn is Gene’s father at the end of The Hunt – spoke of in his journals and teachings at the Heper Institute while escaping the Duskers. On the way to discovering this mysterious paradise that was spoken so highly of they come across a compound village, The Mission, that at first seems safe and inviting but really is a prison, a misogynistic and prejudiced little society under the surface, full of lies and secrecy. While at this remote but thriving village Gene, Sissy and the other surviving “hepers” learn more about their world’s history, about the whereabouts of Gene’s father, about the cure for the Duskers, and if there really is a paradise called the Civilisation at all.The thing with The Hunt and The Prey is that it’s pretty easy to not be fooled. Early on, you can guess who is who, what is what, etc., because everything really is in plain sight. If you read these books knowing how Fukuda writes them and sets up his twists early your premature guesses may be correct 95% of the time as there is a lot of foreshadowing throughout. I know my assumptions were correct, which did sort of add a guessing game element to the story when reading. However, despite that, Fukuda’s writing, storytelling and world building are the strongest elements of The Prey, mature and effortless at the same time. From the first chapter Fukuda throws a ton of action in your face, and the story flows like a raging torrent from then, full of action, full of conflict, sweeping you up in Gene’s struggles until the end presents itself.Gene has become ever more realistic in The Prey with him struggling to identify who he was in the past to who he is in the present through memories and inner conflicting thoughts, as well as identifying the father he knew before to the proclaimed “Scientist” he is known by the other hepers and people of The Mission and the secret identity Gene’s father had hidden from him. Not only is The Prey a story about physical survival, it is a story about emotional struggles. This struggle is seen in Gene for most of the book, as well as in his band of Heper Institute-survivors while living in The Mission. Each of the characters besides Gene, particularly that of Sissy and Epap, are further developed, with trust, leadership, and uncertainty being influences for the conflicting dynamics between them. Fukuda’s story has evolved tremendously since the first book, much more visual, much more realised.There was a lot to take in in The Prey, from the expansion of this Dusker-dominated world, to The Mission, to the importance of Gene as the protagonist, to Gene’s father, to the mysterious Civilisation. Due to the intensity filled, fear inducing, heart thumping, action packed story, this series is one that will have boys thoroughly entertained, and just like me, clamouring for the third book now.