The Hunt — Andrew Fukuda

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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?

In a society where hepers — humans — are all but extinct and vampires flourish, Gene is trying to fly under the radar to avoid detection. His father has given him all the tools he needs to survive and blend in, as long as he never captures anyone’s attention for too long. But when he is one of the select few chosen for the prestigious honor of participating in the Heper Hunter, he’s suddenly in the spotlight, along with classmate Ashley June, the girl he’s had a crush on forever and someone who might just suspect his secret. While Gene learns more about his species and prepares for the Hunt, there’s a clock ticking down to his discovery, and once that happens, he knows he has no hope for survival.

Wow. I’m thoroughly in love with The Hunt. From the very beginning, we’re introduced to a society the likes of which we’ve never seen or imagined before. Everything about Gene’s world is new, fresh, and absorbing. The way the vampires behave is fascinating and the fact that Gene is able to interact with them, undetected, is incredible. He’s immediately a likable, sympathetic hero. He’s not the smartest (well, he’s book-smart, but not as street-smart as Ashley June), the strongest, or the bravest. Really, the only thing he’s good at is blending in. But he has heart and drive and he’s inquisitive enough to search for answers that we so desperately need.

What I find a bit surprising is that the majority of this book isn’t actually about the Hunt, but actually the preparation leading up to it. In fact, there are a lot of parallels to The Hunger Games, which isn’t a comparison I make lightly. The Hunt is similar enough to The Hunger Games that it’ll appeal to the same fan base, but distinct enough to draw in a new crowd and stand on its own as an original, unique series. While I thought the long preamble before the hunt might become drawn out or dissatisfying, it never did. The preparation for the hunt provides a lot of necessary insight and also lets us really ground ourselves in this world.

My only problem with this book is that the ending feels a little rushed, though I can forgive that a little because I know we’ll pick right back up in the action in the next book. Which reminds me, the ending is very much action-packed, the kind of heart-pounding, page-flipping action that I live for. I also like that The Hunt sets us up for a love triangle, but doesn’t go there. It’s definitely a smart idea not to complicate the plot with an unnecessary love triangle just yet, though I can see it coming into play later in a more satisfying manner. For now, The Hunt is a riveting, thrilling read — definitely one of my favorite books of 2012 so far. I can’t wait to get my hands on a sequel, even if I have to wait a year for it.

Pages: 304
Published: May 2012
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Source: NetGalley
Rating [rating: 4.5]

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