The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda
|The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: Ok, so the premise owes a bit more than a nod to The Hunger Games and the worldbuilding is a bit flakey, but it's about time vampires made their way over to the dystopian genre. Bookbag loves all things bitey and we thoroughly enjoyed The Hunt.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 304||Date: May 2012|
|Publisher: Simon & Schuster|
|External links: Author's website|
Gene - not that he remembers he's called Gene - is one of the few remaining survivors in a city peopled by vampires. His mother and sister were killed when he was just tiny and his father finally succumbed to a fang bite infection some years before. Gene's life is all about concealment. He shaves his body hair. He's careful to avoid any situation in which he might sweat - swimming is ok, but other sports are not. He files his nails. He behaves, always, as a vampire would behave. Everything is going so well until the Heper Hunt is announced...
... the few remaining humans are held in captivity at the Heper Institute and once every decade society is entertained by a hunt. Participation is by lottery and Gene wins one of the fiercely-desired places. Training for the Hunt at the Institute, Gene finds it increasingly difficult to maintain the deception and his fellow combatants begin to suspect his true nature...
There are a few problems with The Hunt. While the overall feel of Fukuda's vampiric world is wonderful, full of darkness and menace and the unexpected, it doesn't always hold perfectly together. The Heper Institute has cutting edge technology but every day life is rather steampunkish, with horses as transport and the like. And there are various references to huge video cameras and other bits and pieces of IT kit. I wasn't quite sure about where we were with all that. And I can't quite believe in a society where no-one has a permanent designation but everyone does familiar things like go to the same job or school every day. It just wouldn't work. And how is that human teenagers can live alone as orphans? Hmm... not sure about that, either.
Ok, so the premise owes a bit more than a nod to The Hunger Games and the worldbuilding is a bit flakey, but it's about time vampires made their way over to the dystopian genre. Bookbag loves all things bitey and we thoroughly enjoyed The Hunt. It's clearly part of a series and there is a bit of a cliffhanger at the end, but the overall arc advanced nicely and the main focus of this instalment - will Gene be outed as a heper? What will happen at the Hunt? - was pretty much resolved.
There's plenty of violence, goodly dollops of blood and ooze and gore, some mystery and a little bit of love interest. We really liked the way Fukuda gave Gene a kind of Stockholm Syndrome, too - brought up among vampires, always striving to be like a vampire, when he firsts meets the hepers he scorns them, believing the propaganda that they're brutish savages. And the opening scene is an absolute corker - grabbing you so quickly you couldn't do anything but read on. What more could you want? If you like fangs, that is. And we like fangs. A lot.
If you like the hunt premise and you haven't already read it (unlikely!) try The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. If it's more bitey-bitey stuff you want, we love The Last Days by Scott Westerfeld and My Swordhand is Singing by Marcus Sedgwick.
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