Author: Andrew Fukuda
Genre: YA, survival/dystopian/apocalyptic, sci-fi
Release Date: May 2012
Summary: Don’t Sweat. Don’t Laugh. Don’t draw attention to yourself. And most of all, whatever you do, do not fall in love with one of them.
Gene is different from everyone else around him. He can’t run with lightning speed, sunlight doesn’t hurt him and he doesn’t have an unquenchable lust for blood. Gene is a human, and he knows the rules. Keep the truth a secret. It’s the only way to stay alive in a world of night—a world where humans are considered a delicacy and hunted for their blood.
When he’s chosen for a once in a lifetime opportunity to hunt the last remaining humans, Gene’s carefully constructed life begins to crumble around him. He’s thrust into the path of a girl who makes him feel things he never thought possible—and into a ruthless pack of hunters whose suspicions about his true nature are growing. Now that Gene has finally found something worth fighting for, his need to survive is stronger than ever—but is it worth the cost of his humanity?
☆: 4.5/5 stars – DEFINITELY one of the best vampire books I’ve ever read!
Review: If you’re looking for a new vampire book without paranormal romance and…sparkly vampires, “The Hunt” is DEFINITELY your book. These vampires drool, they scratch their wrists instead of laugh, and they hang upside down like bats when they sleep. This is a breath of fresh air within the genre – with a guy narrating in a future where humans are very nearly extinct and action that doesn’t stop from the first page onward, THIS, ladies and gents, is the true successor to “Hunger Games”. No, it’s not kids killing each other – it’s much worse. Humans being held in a pen and vampires hunting them down. It’s quite possibly the end of the human race. And I can’t wait for the next book.
While the world is mostly stable, we don’t have a solid backstory as to how things became this way. This is the thing that nagged at me the most throughout the book – we’re teased with glimpses from Gene’s past, where seems to be some sort stability with humans, but their independence is definitely being threatened as with both Ashley and Gene, their parents and siblings are killed off or are bitten early, and are both thoroughly taught to “blend in” – no facial expressions other than bloodlust and romantic/sexy times lust allowed, no laughing, no certain types of swimming – nothing that might give you away as anything else but a vampire. While we’re given a lot of information as to how these two were taught how to survive, we’re not given a whole lot of information when it comes to how this came to be – because Fukuda hints through Gene’s father that it wasn’t always this way. I really hope Fukuda talks more about this in book two, and thus give us a far more solid anchor in this insane world that he’s built. I wanted to know more in depth about how the Ruler and the Institutes came to be, how humans obviously lost their hold of the Earth, and how far in the future (or if this is an alternate present situation) we are.
What I love the most is the how he’s rebuilt the vampire as we know it – they’re cordial, but they’ve got some absolutely disgusting habits. They have drool cups at dinner. They eat a ton of processed foods. They sleep upside-down with cuffs that help hold them in place from the ceiling. They scratch their wrists instead of laugh and hiss and their necks snap back when they’re in any kind of lust – especially bloodlust. Fukuda makes the vampire seem absolutely abhorrent – gross, disgusting, DO NOT WANT-worthy in a way I haven’t seen in YA since….well, aside from “The Immortal Rules”, which doesn’t quite makes vampires this gross (more like really threatening in a dystopian way), I don’t think I’ve ever seen a YA author really take things this far. And I love Fukuda for it. While “Immortal Rules” is more about empowering one of the few “free” humans left (and a lot of this is girl power, too), Fukuda is all about the danger of extinction that hepers (humans) are literally facing every moment of every day.
And another refreshing thing – as much as I love the PNR genre, this one was PNR-free. I won’t say between who, but it’s heper-heper love goin’ on, and that was really nice to read in a sea of PNR YA books that have been hemorrhaging (no pun intended) out of the industry since “Twilight” hit. And we’re not even given a certain of if it’s actually love or not, or just really being in-like with someone, or being under the threat of possible extinction bringing two people together. Fukuda leaves us a bit in the dark there and doesn’t have Gene explicitly state his feelings (as in “I love her”), and I love that ambiguity.
Final verdict? If you’re looking for something fresh to read within the paranormal and dystopian genres, “The Hunt” is most definitely for you. Definitely makes my best of 2012 so far list. “The Hunt” is out in May from St. Martin’s Griffin/Macmillan. This is one vampire/dystopian tale you just cannot miss.