YA Dystopian Novel,
The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda
Title: The Hunt
Author: Andrew Fukuda
Series: The Hunt #1
Type: Young Adult Dystopian
Publication: December 24th 2012 by St. Martin’s Griffin
The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda was a frightening read, full of everything that I love about a good young adult dystopian. Then, like Julie Kagawa’s The Immortal Rules, Fukuda gave the dystopian a paranormal element with a vampire ruling class. It certainly put a new spin on the popular genre, but with the broad sweeping world-building that wasn’t quite as tight as it should be, it left me asking a few questions.
Let me set the stage. The world is a very different place then what we are used to. Humans are extinct and vampires are the main species. The world actually doesn’t seem very different, Fukuda makes references to more colonial settings like horse-drawn carriages for transportation, but also refers to more technological advancements, it was very reminiscent of The Hunger Games, in that regards (besides some other aspects).
The main character is basically nameless, you don’t find out until very late in the novel that he actually has a name (or just read the synposis on Amazon lol). He lives within the vampire society, but he is one of the few remaining humans. For some reason he has decided to blend into the society of vampires, by the use of very drastic measures. He has to reign in any of his normal human emotions and behaviors including laughter, or the fact that he can’t see in the dark. He must care for his body very carefully, making sure he has no body hair, doesn’t sweat, his fake teeth are polished, nothing out of order. It is all very intense and any misstep would result in him being ripped to shreds by the beings he calls peers.
This in itself made me think, why bother? Why did he want to fit in with the vampires? Why not just find a cave and live a solitary existence? It is not like he could make friends with the vamps, or get to close. Learn how to use a crossbow and don’t venture out during the night. But, I’ll pass that off as logically challenged on the kids part.
Which I guess is what I probably should do, because the main character, the narrator, Gene, proved himself to be rather dense throughout the whole book. About a third in, they announce what is called a “Heper Hunt.” The government keeps some hepers (humans) stashed and every now and again they dust them off, pick a few vampires and stage a hunt. Our dear narrator gets chosen as one of the few vampires to hunt the hepers and he knows that it will be the death of him. Did he run for it? Nope, he went to the Heper Institute and figured, why not join in on the hunt.
Now, most of the vampires think of the hepers as merely animals. They are surprised when the hepers pick up tools, use language, read, that sort of thing. They can’t get very close to them, because the vampires have no self-control. They’ll walk out into the daylight to eat a heper and get fried. This doesn’t constitute much research. But, our silly narrator seems to buy the vampires thoughts on hepers, that they are dumb and can’t really talk or use tools. Which again didn’t make much sense, because he was one himself, wasn’t he?
Again, because of the author’s fascinating narration style, I was most of the time, just going with the flow. I’ll take it, I’m freaked out for the narrator and surprised by some of the twists and turns. Some of them. It was also very fast-paced so I was engrossed. The Hunt was freaky, scary and really rather creative in the story creation. I do believe I will probably read on in the series, I just couldn’t get past some of the basic premises of the novel. I also had a big problem with the narrator himself, he was just so very selfish and rather dumb at times.
I could tell that Fukuda put all his efforts into the world that centered around the vampires. The laughing by scratching their arms, the weird elbow-armpit sex, the fact they drown in water that is deeper then their chest but still have a swim team.
Yet – while he was thinking up all this crazy elbow stuff, he didn’t cross all those ts. For example, you want to tell me that through this whole time our narrator went to school – he never sneezed or flinched once? Or got a paper cut and bled a little? Broke a sweat in P.E.?
Fascinated yet? It did have worth enough to read though, there was just a lot of loose-ends that didn’t quite make me want to go “READ THIS BOOK IT’S AWESOME.” More like a shoulder shrugged, “yeah it’s ite.”
Recommendations: This is a mature Young Adult Novel with some graphic violence and topis that are not suitable for immature readers. Usually on the same lines as most dystopian novels, much heavier topics then your normal fair.
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