The Hunt

The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda

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? (Goodreads)

The Story:

Gene is guy living in a darkly imagined world where humans are almost extinct.  He lives as the others do—staying away from sunlight, feasting on the raw meat of animals, showing virtually no emotion—but it’s all a rouse. It’s how he survives.  Gene has to pretend he’s one of them, otherwise he’ll be killed. Or devoured is more like it.

As fate would have it, Gene is chosen by lottery to participate in an incredible event. He and a few others will train to hunt and kill the last remaining humans in the world.  He has to keep up the guise, continue to make the others believe he’s like them, in order to save his own life.  The training will bring them uncomfortably close to him and will make him more conspicuous than he’s ever been. And worse if he gets through the training period, he wonders what he’s supposed to do when the hunt actually begins. Kill the other humans?

My Take:

This premise was so freaking cool. It was so nice to see the vampires as, you know, actual bad guys instead of swoony boyfriend material.  And never, not once, is the word vampire actually used, by the way. They consider themselves humans.  The actual humans are called hepers, which, from what I gathered, is a derogatory term.  They (the vampire/humans) speak of them (the heper/humans) like animals, calling them “it” and actually looking surprised when they how intelligence or abilities beyond a pet.

The story grabbed me in the first few lines and as each chapter progressed, I feared for Gene.  He’s an interesting character because we know very little about him. His basic history is shared slowly, through memories of his father and the lessons he was taught about survival.  This story isn’t so much about the actual hunt as it is about the process of getting to it.  The many times Gene has close calls with the others or the times when it seems like his facade is going to crack, I felt nervous for him.  At the same time, so much of the book is spent on the actual build-up (with great tension leading up to it all), that I was a bit disappointed that the actual event (the hunt) wasn’t front and center. I thought the ending was great and I’d definitely read the next book (this one leaves you hanging).

Crush Intensity: 4/5  This is a good, solid read.  It was completely different from anything I’ve read.

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for sending me a review copy of The Hunt!