Book Review: The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda
The human populations has been decimated, nearly to the point of extinction. In our place are beings who look just like us. They work. They go to school. They have families. They are like us in almost every way. Except they crave our flesh and blood like we crave cookies and ice cream. And if they walk out into the sun, their faces pretty much melt off.
Now that’s something a little different.
It’s a terrifying time to be a human. We are the prey. A delicacy among them. They will catch your scent and hunt you down with blinding speed and fiery determination. And if they catch you, and they will, there’ll be nothing left of you but dry, licked and gnawed on bones lying still in the dust.
Gene, a teenage human, lives among the blood-thirsty, hiding in plain sight. Using the techniques his father drilled into him since he was just a boy. “Anything that draws attention is dangerous,” he’d say. That means his smell. The tiny growing hairs on his face and chin he has to meticulously shave each day. Fake fangs. Anything and everything that could draw attention to his true identity. Curiosity would be the death of him. Literally and violently.
But now his father is gone. He’s all alone. Possibly the last living human on Earth. Only that’s not true. There’s always the Heper Hunt.
The Heper Hunt. The most anticipated event on every blood-thirsty being’s calendar. Millions look forward to this game. It’s a time when a few lucky lottery winners are given the tantalizing opportunity to hunt a group of living humans. To devour them and savor every tantalizing drop of the rarest delicacy in the world.
Raised and bred in captivity, the humans, or hepers, will be released into the Vast. A seemingly never-ending landscape of bone-dry desert. Come nighttime, the lucky lottery winners will take up the chase.
But when Gene’s numbers are picked to participate in the enviable Heper Hunt, his entire life is threatened to be revealed. They’ll know he’s human when he can’t run as fast as them as they start the hunt. When they see he can’t devour another human being. People never pass up on Heper meat. Ever. He’ll be found out, and when he is, he’ll be nothing but a main course in a bloody banquet.
As the days count down to the Hunt, Gene must come up with a plan to save his life. But is a single life more important than the lives of other humans? Can he afford to lose the only chance he has to not be alone in a world of monsters?
I really enjoyed this book. Andrew Fukuda introduces a unique idea of blood-thirsty beings who aren’t on the “sparkly” side of the vampiric spectrum. His style was an attention grabber, as well as informative. I found myself reading this everywhere I was. Five minutes before class? Sure, I got some time to read. It keeps you in your seat and demands you stay there. You don’t wanna mess with books like that. Seriously. Just do as it says. With the constant threat of heart-pumping danger and imminent death, the characters only grow closer and stronger. Shining like a beacon of humanity in a very dark and scary world.
The ending, I do have to say, is not quite what I expected. A sort of throw-you-off-a-cliff situation. It was extremely fast-paced and full of action, though at times I found myself getting confused and left behind in the wake.
But, that sort of thing is always redeemable with a sequel, which I assume Mr. Fukuda is planning to do. It’s really an empty complaint. But hey, we readers always need an excuse to gripe when we finish an amazing book and have to wait for a sequel. Authors, it’s really your faults, I’m sorry. It’s your fault when you write a wonderful story and we have to wait, eyes glued to our computer screens scanning for release dates.
But, whether it’s from the kindness of our hearts, or the experience of reading your amazing books (I’m thinking the latter), we forgive you. I highly recommend this book to any Hunger Games fan or vampire follower. Two of the biggest hits in YA history. Andrew’s just combined them for you. How cool is that? Very cool, I must say. You’re a clever one Mr. Fukuda. Kudos.
This title was reviewed by the TLT Teen Reviewer Cuyler Creech. Cuyler reviewed this title as an e-galley on Netgalley.com, which may change before actual publication. It’s been known to happen. The Hunt is set to be published by St. Martin’s Press in May of 2012. You can see the official UK trailer for The Hunt here.
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About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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