“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?”
Thoughts: As far back as human’s ancient ancestors, vampire stories exist. There always has been, and always will be, a fascination with the bloodsuckers due to human’s desire to battle against death. Interestingly enough, in a majority of the stories, humans have always maintained the majority against the nightwalkers. They may be prey, but somehow vampires never seem to be able to take over the world. That is, until Andrew Fukuda’s The Hunt.
The psychology of Stockholm Syndrome is at the heart of The Hunt and is what gives the story its depth and makes Gene so interesting. The use of pronouns becomes very telling throughout as the reader uncovers Gene’s sympathies. Even though he knows he is not one of the vampires, he considers himself one. In fact, he longs to be one, although he knows that he would die first before that would ever be possible, given the vampiric lust for human blood. This battle between desire and a natural survival instinct creates more than enough tension to appease even the most discerning reader. The additional drama created by Gene’s increasingly more complex conflicts, both internal and external, is just an added bonus.
Targeted for middle grade readers, The Hunt is not a novel that crosses generations well. The major plot twists are fairly transparent, and readers outside of the target audience will easily guess how the story is going to unfold. Character development is minimal at best. This is a story where the action is the main focus, but for the right reader, it is effective.
The Hunt is a creative role reversal on the ubiquitous teen vampire dramas. Mr. Fukuda has definitely shaken up the world of vampire stories. Gene must find a way to survive in a world where one drop of split blood spells his immediate doom. Given strict rules to follow, his ability to adapt is just as astounding as his internal inclusion within the vampire community. The story heats up when Gene is taken out of his familiar world and forced to find ways to blend in without any of his tricks or tools. To the right reader, one is instantly thrust into an unfamiliar but intense and intriguing world. With a great twist at the end, Mr. Fukuda creates one final hook for interested readers, creating that agonizing wait for the next book in the series. Based on what was uncovered in this one, it will be worth the wait.
Acknowledgments: Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for my review copy!