TITLE: The Hunt
AUTHOR: Andrew Fukuda
LENGTH: 304 pages
PUBLISHER: St. Martin’s Griffin
RELEASE DATE: May 8, 2012
SUMMARY: (via amazon.com)
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?
REVIEW: This first in a new horror, post-apocalyptic series about vampires is a curious addition to the genre. It tosses other traditional vampire mythologies on its head with the human population practically extinct and the vampires the ruling people. The main character, Gene, has been taught his entire life to avoid bringing attention to himself and to take great care with his appearance to not give away, by some banal human characteristic or gesture, the fact that he is not one of them. But his normal routine of going to school and protecting his secret is interrupted when he is chosen in a lottery to participate in a once-in-a-lifetime hunt of humans.
I found the premise of the book a little hard to swallow. With all the mythology out there surrounding vampires, the qualities all vampires are supposed to have (enhanced hearing, sight and smell) seem at odds with the idea that a human could hide in plain sight. And while I’m a firm believer in the willing suspension of disbelief, even this premise seems a little difficult to pull off. Yes, Gene’s father drilled into him the need for utmost caution and avoidance of any telltale differences, but it still seems a little far-fetched that Gene would have survived this long. There were also some details about the vampires that were a bit strange a la sparkling vampires. The vampires in this book don’t kiss or touch in a traditional human way (which makes sense because they aren’t human) but rolling one’s elbow in another’s armpit caused me to laugh. It seems comical rather than just different. The wrist-scratching rather than laughter was also odd. I realize there would be no need to hide these odd qualities if vampires were the dominant species but it doesn’t seem to f it with the traditional legend of vampire seductiveness. And why change these elements while keeping the more traditional sunlight-kills and sleep-hanging-upside-down qualities of their kind. There is a humorous passage poking fun at some of the other vampire series out there right now that I thought was a clever thumb-of-the-nose at the genre itself. It’s good to know Fukuda doesn’t take himself too seriously.
Beyond that, I found the plot to be an interesting new twist. Vampire-controlled society would be an alien way to live. Everything always happening at night and emotion beyond anger or bloodlust being unknown.There was plenty of action and I never felt like any of the background setup was laborious. When first beginning the book, I was unsure if it was a stand-alone or an installment in a series. The book ends ambiguously. Not knowing that it is indeed the first in a series, the book could have stopped there, leaving the reader to imagine the fates of the remaining characters. But I do see how easily it will be to continue the story of those involved in The Hunt.
Fukuda’s writing impressed me the most. Fukuda manages to take a potentially tired genre-blend and make it a pleasure to read. There were many times that I reread passages because the turn of phrase was so appropriate and yet nothing that I would have come up with to describe the situation. With lines like “the rind of moon hanging in the sky” and “razor-sharp wit that could…” I am anxious to see what his writing brings in the future. Overall I would give The Hunt a Thumbs Up! and encourage vampire fans to take a ride with Gene and the others.