Description (from Goodreads):
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?
The Hunt is the latest in a recent trend of young adult literature that plays off of the success of The Hunger Games. While not a dystopian, it features a main character thrown into an impossible situation–chosen by lottery to take place in a government sanctioned publicity event involving probable failure and death. Gene needs to use all of the survival skills he’s been learning his entire life to make it through, because Gene is a lone human living in a world of vampires. Really, The Hunt is like the lovechild of The Hunger Games and the 2009 film Daybreakers.
The Hunt is exciting and fast-paced. I don’t think this book will have a hard time finding an audience. The writing is easy to read, and there’s palpable tension running throughout the novel. Fukada is good at setting up scenarios where we fully expect Gene to fail, and milking those for maximum effect. There’s also a romance here, but I didn’t think it overshadowed the story or felt out of place.
I did have some issues with The Hunt, though. The biggest for me was that the mechanics of vampirism was never really explained. We see that vampires sleep upside down, can’t go in the sun, eat bloody meat and drink blood, and don’t have any facial ticks or emotions. I’m on board with all of that. Less compelling were the wrist-scratching in lieu of laughter and elbow to armpit sexitimes of the vampires. I could go along with this if it weren’t so out of left field, and if some kind of explanation was given. Furthermore, I got the feeling that vampires aged and were very close to actual people. I wanted to know if vampires could be born, or if they had to be turned. And since humans were pretty much extinct, wouldn’t that mean that there were a set number of vampires on Earth, which would gradually decline as they were exposed to the sun, etc.? See what I mean? Too many questions.
Those weren’t the only questions I had, either. I also wanted to know what led up to this point. Why do they use horse-drawn carriages instead of cars? It seemed that the vampires had been in charge for a while. Why? Also, were we really expected to believe that Gene had never accidentally cut himself, or cracked a smile, or broke a sweat? It was a bit far-fetched.
Even so, I did have a good time reading The Hunt. Fukuda is quite cruel with the ending and leaves things hanging from a steep cliff. Readers who bought into the story will need to read the next book in the series. I just hope that Fukuda invests some real time in better world-building so that there is depth to the setting.