I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda
Series: The Hunt #1
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on May 8th 2012
Genres: Dystopian, Paranormal Fantasy, Post Apocalyptic, Young Adult
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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?
If there is anything good coming from the newer crops of dystopian fiction these days it’s one thing: Evil, ravenous vampires are back. With books like The Immortal Rules and now The Hunt, YA thriller fans are sure to be pleased by this turn of events. I know I am. Unfortunately, The Hunt failed to WOW me on that factor alone.
In a nutshell, The Hunt is like an inverted Immortal Rules with a Hunger Games-esque twist. Instead of our young, male protagonist, Gene, being the only vampire among humans, he is one of the only humans living in the lion’s den. In order to pull this off he must shave off all his body hair, clip his nails, polish his fake fangs, and bathe rigorously every single day. In addition to the intense grooming, he must suppress his basic human mannerisms such as laughing, sweating, singing, flinching, clearing his throat, ect. when in contact with “people.” All of this is done because Gene lives in a world where he is considered a “heper,” barely a step above a farm animal. In order to survive he has to hide who he truly is or risk being eaten. So when he is chosen for the Heper Hunt (think Hunger Games arena), you can only imagine his uneasiness. “Awkward” is an understatement.
The Hunt has a lot of potential because regardless of how I feel about it I can’t deny that it’s creative. It features an entirely different spin on vampires that both intrigued me and weirded me out. It’s also very readable and easily holds a reader’s attention. I also felt myself enjoying Fukuda’s prose as well, especially when Gene thought of his past memories of his family. That’s the main reason why I ended up giving the book two stars instead of one. But like I said earlier, that alone won’t win anyone points with me.
*sigh* I feel like a broken record saying this, but if we are going to write a dystopian novel, please supply some background info. I don’t need to know everything under the sun, but I’d at least like to know how your world ended up in its current cesspit state. Is that too much to ask? How did the vampires come to take over the world (literally)? Where did they come from? They managed to eat almost ALL the humans? Why did Gene even bother to try to blend in with vampire society? Why not run away? Have vampires taken over the entire world or did only the U.S. go to hell?
Again. Is the rest of the world still partying like it’s 1999? Why does Gene know so little about his world? Did the humans – excuse me, hepers – not pass any knowledge of their histories down to their children? So many question, with too few no answers.
I think I hated almost all the characters in The Hunt, but Gene? He takes the number one spot on this here shit list. My biggest issue of the book resides with him because he was an idiot. A very selfish idiot. At the Heper Institute (where the hunters stayed and “trained” for the Heper Hunt) he begins to go thirsty since vampires don’t need water, but there was a lake right in front of him the entire time. He talks about it and never thinks to go drink from it when the vampires are sleeping during the day. *facepalm* The plot twist – if you can even call it that – was so easy to guess, but guess who was incredibly shocked? Ding, ding, ding! Gene. And no, this was not a case in dramatic irony because everything that was revealed to the reader, Gene already knew. Hell, he’s the one who narrates the story!
But that’s not even the half of that. I could deal with a slow main character, but what I couldn’t deal with was his “I’m better than these dirty hepers!” attitude. When Gene first arrives to the Heper institute and finds out the heper can talk, read, write, comprehend things, he is blown away. Shocked! This does not compute. I just wanted to yell at him, “YOU ARE A HEPER! If you can bloody do it, uh duh, so can they, genius.” But it gets worse. Gene knows the hepers will be hunted, but they don’t. Does he tell them? Attempt to help his people? NO. He just goes on business as usual, thinking that once the hepers are sent out to their deaths he can sneak away. That made me so angry. These are your people – perhaps the last humans alive – and you are going to sit and let them be eaten without doing anything about it? No, instead, you drink their water, eat their food and work their deaths into your escape plan. Even by the end when Sissy (“Head Heper in Charge”) tells him, “We don’t abandon our own” all he is thinking about is Ashley June. Not one single shred of remorse for his original plan to lead them to their deaths. Unbelievable. Cast him out of the human race. He is not one of us.
I mean, what did he expect he would do after the Heper Hunt? Go on living in his fake life where he could die at any moment? Who would want that kind of life? That makes not sense. If the world happens to end with vampires devouring humans and I’m left with an idiot like Gene, I’m tripping him as I run from the vamps. And don’t get me started on Ashley June. She was just as bad as Gene and can die in a fire for all I care.
The Hunt reminds me a lot of another book I’ve read called Glimmerglass. Not because they are similar in plot or anything, but because the reader must abandon a certain amount of logic and “just go with it.” If anyone is familiar with me, they will know that it takes a lot for a book to convince me to “just go with it.”
A list of things Fukuda expected me to buy:
-Vampires only eat bloody meat and can’t stomach other foods except for ice cream. Wait, what?
-Gene never got sick from eating raw bloody meat.
-Gene has learned to suppress basic human instincts like smiling, laughing, coughing, squinting, flinching? How the hell is that possible? So what happens when Gene gets sick? He stays home? And what would be his excuse for not being in school? The vampires don’t appear to fall ill in this world.
-Sex by armpits? I’m sorry, that one, while creative, was a little too hard to swallow. Or were they making out?
Before she could regain her footing, I shoved my elbow into the socket of her armpit. The way I had read about in books, seen in movies. I had her. Her body tensed in anticipation as my elbow locked into her armpit. And just like that, her body lost all tension and softened. I swiveled my elbow in long, luxurious circles, and her body moved in rhythm. Salivary wetness slivered between and around her snarling teeth. I concentrated hard after that, keeping up with appearances, making sure that the snarls came out in the right fevered pitch, that my body oscillated with enough passion and frenzy.
–Gene had no idea that Ashley June was a human. It was so obvious.
-Vampires couldn’t tell Gene was a heper just because he shaved all his body hair off. Really? He still had hair on his head. Does that somehow smell different from facial, leg and arm hair? If they could smell the hepers in the dome even when they weren’t sweaty, then they should have been able to always smell Gene is school.
It left me dangling of the edge of a cliff with three words.
*tries to repress a very human sigh* *doesn’t work* *LE SIGH*
I’m sure there are a lot of people who will love The Hunt. It’s different, interesting, creative and action packed. And while it didn’t really work out for me here, I’m tempted to check out book two to see where the story goes. But as I say in the rest of my two star reviews, the next book can hang out on my “You’re on Probation” shelf.
ARC was provided by the publisher via NetGalley. Thank you!