Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Books
Release date: May 10th 2012
Paperback, 304 pages.
Rating: 4½ out of 5
Source: Received from publisher for review.
Reviewed by: Jen
Against all odds, 17-year-old Gene has survived in a world where humans have been eaten to near extinction by the general population. The only remaining humans, or hepers as they are known, are housed in domes on the savannah and studied at the nearby Heper Institute. Every decade there is a government sponsored hunt. When Gene is selected to be one of the combatants he must learn the art of the hunt but also elude his fellow competitors whose suspicions about his true nature are growing.
The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda has got to be one of the most tense books I have ever read. Every time I opened it up I had this feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach as I sat on the edge of my seat reading. This is not a book for the faint of heart!!
On page one of The Hunt the story’s narrator, Gene, describes how a six -year old human showed up for the first day of kindergarten. She made it through most of the morning, but by naptime her classmates had devoured her. The teacher got to her first. You have to know that any book that starts with a six-year old being eaten by her kindergarten teacher is going to be intense! Gene goes on to describe how he is the only living human left of his family, and as far as he knows the entire country. He also describes the tedious rituals he endures in order to pretend that he is just like everyone else, because if he doesn’t he will surely be devoured within seconds of discovery. Gene wishes he were like everyone else: fast and sleek, bloodthirsty and unemotional. Being human in a world of vampires, although the author never uses that word to describe his dystopian society, is depressing and lonely. While Gene has managed to keep everyone fooled for seventeen years his luck runs out when he is chosen for The Hunt. The Hunt is a government sanctioned competition to hunt and eat as many humans, called hepers, as possible. For most “people” being chosen for a heper hunt is a dream come true, but for Gene the hunt will mean discovery and sure death.
I thought this story was an interesting twist on the ideas from The Hunger Games. The main character is thrown into a competition where the winner is the one who can kill the most, but the similarities stop there. The competitors in The Hunt are never in danger of being killed themselves. They need no weapons to take down and eat the humans they are chasing. They just need to make sure they are the strongest and fastest if they want to taste real human blood and not the synthetic animal meat they are used to.
The tension of this book lies in Genes attempts to keep people from discovering that he is actually a heper. Gene is housed at The Institute for a week to prepare for The Hunt and his disguise supplies are all back home. As the days wear on Gene is getting closer and closer to discovery. Every page I read I was pretty sure that Gene was going to get eaten. Then the author would find a creative way to save his main character only to throw him into an even more harrowing situation.
I thought the differences between people (vampires) and hepers (humans) was fascinating. The author does an excellent job of creating a society where everyone is only able to come out at night. Yes, unlike some vampire tales these vampires will dissolve into pus and goo if caught in the sun.
The Hunt is absolutely not a run of the mill vampire story. There is no vampire/human love story and there are no werewolves to be found. This is a survival story set in a dystopian world where being human will most definitely get you killed. So if you want to know if Gene survives in such a brutal world you will have to read The Hunt for yourselves. If you love edge of your seat thrillers than The Hunt will not leave you disappointed!