Sunday, September 16, 2012

Same Book, Second Look - The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda


 
Today Special K is giving us her take on a book that I reviewed a short while ago.
 


Published: May 8 2012
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Pages: 304
Copy: Library
Summary: 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?


I’m on a roll! I’ve had a zombie book that isn’t a “zombie book” (Rot and Ruin), a werewolf book that isn’t a “werewolf book” (Hemlock) and now…a vampire book that isn’t a “vampire book”!

The Hunt is wonderfully original – and leaves you with questions and hungering for the answers – how did the ‘people’ (re: the vampire-like characters) come to be? Is this set before our time? Long after (yes…that would make it a dystopia!)? Or is this something parallel, something separate? Where are we? Earth? Some strange and distant planet? And just how do you pronounce ‘heper’? (Hee-per? Heh-per?) [I settled on heh-per].

None of these are answered. And it’s still fabulous. We follow our main character – whose designation changes based on where he is – through his life of fakery. He lives among the people, but is not one of them. Instead he is a heper, and if he makes just once involuntary human move (a bodily function that should be there, a show of emotion on a face) he is done for. You would think this would either make for a lot of inner turmoil, or a very flat character- but Fukuda moves to neither extreme, and we get a wonderfully well-rounded character.

But let’s get onto what everyone is thinking – it’s The Hunger Games with vampires. Well, yes…sort of. There are some tweaks and changes – the game itself is fairly similar, but the story follows a very different aspect, due to the situation of our main character. But Fukuda does something wonderful, and he nods to his predecessor, and lets us know where things are going to be different:

He suddenly stops moving as if remembering something; he looks at both of us sternly. “Only know this: I want a clear winner. It’s always better that way. No ties. The public does not like ambiguity. If it comes down to just the two of you…well…there can only be one. You will know what to do. Correct?”

Neither Ashley June nor I answer.
(The Hunt, pg. 137)

Gee – wonder where that came from? Anyone remember a book with an ending like that? And there’s another nod to another predecessor:

After all, if the roles were reversed and it was people who became extinct, people theories would likely be rife with exaggerations and distortions: […] benign beings who could coexist peacefully alongside hepers, somehow restrain themselves from ripping hepers to ribbons and sucking down their blood; they’d all invariably be incredibly good-looking with perfect hair. There’d probably be some outright confabulations as well: their ability to swim with dizzying speed under water; and ludicrous and laughable notions about people-heper romances. (The Hunt, pg. 87-88)

I laughed for a good couple minutes over that one. Anyone remember a vampire with perfect hair?

Fukuda’s writing style is that excellent blend of description and narrative (which is important to the story – I won’t explain why, you’ll need to read it!), and his characters have few moments where they make decisions I seriously question. Plus he has his nods to the reader as I point out above, which make you feel better about reading yet another iteration of Twilight or The Hunger Games – because although this has its basis in both (sort-of…The Hunger Games more so than Twilight), he puts an original style and orientation on it that makes it unique and fresh.

A great read – maybe even one I add to my own shelf, which is a high honour these days (I’m running out of shelf space, so my quality control standards have gone up). Look for the sequel The Prey, January 2013.

3 comments:

  1. I really want to read this! I've heard a lot of great things. I'm not a huge vampire fan, but I love that this takes a darker turn on the subject.

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  2. I've been wondering if I should read this and your review certainly convinced me! My co blogger and I often read the same books at different times. Is this perchance a meme?

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    1. Absolutely! Just mention our name if you use it. I guess we should come up with a button for it.

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