Title: The Hunt
Author: Andrew Fukuda
Reading level: Young Adult
Size: 293 pages
Release Date: May 8th 2012
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Stand Alone/Series: The Hunt #1
First Line: "There used to be more of us."
Summary (from GoodReads):
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?
What a refreshing and original take on a subject that I though had been written to death: Vampires.
I loved our introduction to this new world order through Gene, who doesn't even know his own name at this point. We wonder...why the huge grooming ritual, why the fake front, why all the lessons and training.... And then we find out: Gene is one of the few surviving humans in a world of Vampires and each day fitting in is the difference between life and death. How do you survive in a world where being human (growing facial hair, sweating, needing to drink water and eat fruit) will mean certain extinction. You fake every moment of every day...until you almost forget who you really are.
The pace and syntax of this novel were absolutely perfect. Andrew Fukuda kept me on the edge of my seat and reading long into the night because I simply could not put this one down. Gene is a character that is believable and relatable...although I will admit that I don't feel that I really got to know him completely. But then again...isn't that the point...he could never actually "be" himself.
When Gene is thrown into a situation (The Hunt) where the stakes are raised to the point that he feels that he has almost no chance of survival, when the lack of the most simple needs such as deodorant or a razor mean imminent detection, when he discovers that it may not be so easy to pretend to be other than he is at the detriment of other humans...he then begins a journey of self discovery and growth. He remembers not only what a name is, but that his is Gene. He realizes that it's not so simple as just looking out for himself any longer once he starts to form connections with other humans. He realizes what "Never Forget" really means.
There was one twist near the end of the book which I found to be a bit disappointingly predictable. I kept hoping that Fukuda would find a different way to surprise me and then he delivered at the end of book with something I completely did not see coming...something that left me in goosebumps and dying for the sequel.
I can't recommend The Hunt enough. I'd give it 4.5 Timepieces if I could. It is so much more than just another Vampire book or just another Dystopia. It is fresh and engaging and trust me...you won't want to put this one down until you've read every last word.