To many out there, the recent vampire fad may be exhausting itself. Vampire stories have been told countless times and in countless variations, but The Hunt, by Andrew Fukuda, is an interesting take on the tale and worth the read for fans of the genre. The Hunt is targeted to the young adult audience, but it offers enough for older readers as well.
The story begins by detailing a world in which vampires are the top of the food chain and humans (called hepers in this world) are thought to be extinct due to hunting. Our unnamed hero (we later find out is named Gene) however is a heper living in disguise amongst the vampires. Fukuda does a nice job of describing the extremes that Gene has to go through in order to disguise his true self (extensive showering, shaving all hair except his head, fake fangs, no sweating, etc). It seems an impossible task to believe, but as a reader, it’s something you just accept as plausible and move on.
Our story for the high-school-aged Gene takes off when The Ruler announces that a Heper Hunt will be held and that eight random citizens will be chosen via lottery to participate as a hunter. As expected, Gene—and the girl of his dreams, who he calls Ashley June—are chosen to participate. They are whisked away to The Institute where the Hunt will begin and where they will receive training in advance. A lot of time is spent developing the state of the Institute, its management and the glory that awaits the hunters, as well as hints at the structure of the vampire government.
Fukuda is at his best when he’s writing exciting action scenes filled with suspense and terror. The book is violent in parts and quite detailed within those violent scenes as to the outcome that befalls the victims. Without giving any of the plot away, it’s a book that reads quickly when the action is unfolding and can drag inbetween, but the climax that leads to the cliffhanger ending is a blast to read, and leaves you compelled to continue the story in the sequel (The Prey, which will be released on Jan. 29th).
It’s been compared in other reviews to The Hunger Games in its style and approach, which makes sense. The Hunt isn’t a perfect book, but it does seem custom fit for a future film adaptation. If you’re looking for something along the lines of The Hunger Games and other young adult adventures, The Hunt is a great option.
Verdict: (Edit 1/29/12) Read it! The sequel, The Prey, is even better.