by Andrew Fukuda
St. Martin’s Griffin
Publication Date: May 8, 2012
Copy received from: Publisher
The world has been taken over by vampires, and any remaining humans are forced to blend in and live amongst them in order to survive. Then, the vampire leader decides there is going to be a heper (slang for human) hunt, and the hunters will be determined by a lottery. When Gene, a human, is chosen to be one of the hunters, he is put in more danger than ever. Being in such close quarters for the training period may prove impossible for him to come out of the situation alive.
While this may sound very similar to the concept of The Hunger Games, it is markedly different in the way Fukuda has chosen to deliver his world building. There is no explanation as to the history of how the vamps came to rule the world, which is at times frustrating, but also adds to the austere dystopian feel that it is just the way things are. The fact that any remaining humans have to blend in so convincingly that they do not even spot each other is testament to the danger they face and their need to survive.
For those of you that like to draw metaphors from fantasy worlds, as do I, there is plenty from which to extrapolate. Most notably the emphasis on blending in could easy be used as a representation of any otherness in society. The abundant themes of stealth, being forced to live like the oppressors, the dangers of being outed, derogatory names for those that are not the authoritarians, and self-hate resonate throughout. When Gene is confronted with the opportunity to converse with the humans being kept in a glass dome by the vamps, he acts as though they are lesser being than he and refuses to identify as one of them, even with no vampires around. His ability to not claim who he really is, is what sets him apart from both the vampires and the humans.
There are parts of the story that certainly make the reader suspend belief beyond just the idea of vampires, such as: If the vamps can smell even a drop of human blood, how would a human female survive even a day of puberty? There is hand sanitizer available, but no running water- do they never get dirty? The vamps have no hair on their bodies, but they have hair on their head- why? Also, how did they take over the world- I really want to know? Just a few questions I had to make myself stop asking throughout the story.
Although there are many questions that arise, it is easy to overlook them in this fast-paced well-plotted story. The Hunt not only delivers a believable dystopian world, it does not talk down to the reader in a need to explain every detail. I know I am in the minority when I say that I did not particularly enjoy The Hunger Games, and wound up skimming a great deal of the book. The Hunt, however, grabbed me from the beginning and forced me to read every word as the plot became more complex and every detail valuable to the mystery and action unfolding. I will definitely be visiting Fukuda’s world once again when the sequel is released, because I just have to know!
Tomorrow: Guest Post from Andrew Fukuda!
This book can be purchased at Amazon.com, as well as your local independent bookseller.
For more about Andrew Fukuda, visit his website.