Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda [Review + Giveaway]

Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia, Paranormal, Horror
Publication.Date  December 24th 2012 (Paperback edition)
Published By:  St. Martin's Griffin
WebsiteAndrew Fukuda 

The Hunt
My review copy:Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Where to get:

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?


"Every morning, he'd remind me. Don't do this, don't do that.
No laughing, no smiling, no sneezing, no frowning."

When she turns to me, our eyes connecting even across the length of the schoolyard and through the kaleidoscope of crisscrossing students, I remember that red ember glowing in the dark ashes like a June sun.
Her designation is Ashley June, I think to myself.
"You think you've got us beat, you stupid heper? You think you're so smart? Hey, you sweaty, smely, singing heper! We're only getting started! You better run! You hear me? Because come dusk, the Hunt starts. And we'll be pouring our of here to hunt you down, to rip into you, to shred you to pieces. You hear me? You came here for a Hunt?! Wellm a Hunt is what you're going to get!

You get me?

You're going to get a Hunt! 
You're just a wimp! You're just an emaciated, emolient fake! You couldn't blow the pods off a daffodil if your life depended on it."
Call me picky, but imminent death at the hands (or teeth) of a friend who would suckle blood out of you at the drop of a hat... that throws a monkey wrench into friendship building.

     Chilling, disturbing and heart-pounding, The Hunt is an astonishing piece of dystopian literature, capable of being scary, strange and moving - sometimes even all at the same time. Fukuda throws the classical vampire lore and futuristic dystopia into a blender, and the result is a delicious, ready-to-devour product that will satisfy the most ravishing hungers. 

There used to be more of us. I'm certain of this. Not enough to fill a sports stadium or even a movie theater, but certainly more than what's left today. Truth is, I don't think there's any of us left. Except me. It's what happens when you're a delicacy. When you're craved. You go extinct. 

     Gene is a pretty regular teenage boy, who probably wouldn't stand out from the crowd if not for the fact that, to his knowledge, he's probably the last human alive in the entire world. His mother, his father, every other person on the planet - they're all gone. And he's alone. Surrounded by vampires. Having little to no choice, he's forced to pretend to be one of them. Before his disappearance, his father taught him how to blend in: shave every day, don't sweat, don't make any facial expressions, don't sigh, laugh or cry. Essentially, don't be human. And, against all odds, Gene managed to survive all those years, among creatures who wouldn't blink twice before tearing into his flesh if they discovered his secret. His chances of survival drop drastically when the government announces The Hunt, offering a few chosen ones a chance to hunt and consume the last remaining humans. Picked as one of the lucky participants, Gene will have to fight to stay alive. 

"Never forget who you are."

     I really loved The Hunt. It was fresh, unique, gripping and exceptionally well-written. Some parts were a little bit sketchy on the details, and I certainly had a problem with how selfish and ignorant the lead character often appeared to be, but even all that didn't manage to cloud my overall enjoyment of this awesome story. I really liked the parts that focused on Gene's internal struggles. Alone and surrounded by enemies, he grew up without any real parental guidance. He remembered all the rules his father taught him, but he forgot what it really meant to be human. And his journey to re-discovering his humanity - his compassion, selflessness and ability to trust another person - was quite fascinating to follow. I often got mad at him, despised his choices and attitudes, but at the same time I understood where all that came from. Most importantly, he grew a lot as a person (even more so in book two!), and I eventually grew to like him, even care about him.

"Out here, I'm a prisoner in my own skin. The restrained desires, the repressed smiles, the fake scrathes, the fake fangs - these are the bars of a deeper prison."

    Vampires in this book are exactly the way I like them: blood-thirsty and absolutely terrifying. They're the real deal, not some domesticated, sullen-Cullen, snacking-on-squirrels hippies. And they'll stop at nothing (literally) to rip you apart. Andrew Fukuda does not hold back, he delivers all the gruesome, spine-tingling details (and he starts on the very first page of the book). I loved it! Everything - from the way they would drool and crack their necks when excited to their uncontrollable thirst for human blood - was intense, vividly described and thoroughly disturbing. The idea of a heper hunt was appalling, yet somehow fascinating, and I had a lot of fun following the unravelling events. 

     The Hunt is a book that demands 100% of your attention. You need to remain focused all throughout the book, otherwise you'll miss out on things that are crucial to fully understanding and appreciating the story. And I know that because even though I really tried my best to inhale all the details - no skipped passages or skimmed-through pages - I still managed to overlook some important stuff. And that's simply because the world-building in The Hunt is very rich and complex. The story is full of all those little bits and pieces of information that - while incredibly essential - are all too easy to miss, even if you are, in fact, paying attention. It wasn't until I sat down with the book for the second time and re-read certain parts of it, that everything clicked into place for me. I'm talking about details that - if missed - will significantly decrease your enjoyment of the story, leaving you dissatisfied and confused. And again, I know that because that is precisely how I felt! Even though I loved how original the story was, how incredibly captivating (at times even beautiful) the writing style was and how exciting and heart-pounding some of the scenes were, I came out of reading The Hunt thinking that it lacked in the logic department. And it didn't, not really. Sure, some developments were less than likely (for once, I still don't understand why Gene had to go to school with the vampires in the first place), but Andrew Fukuda did a pretty good job explaining and motivating most of the things. I guess what I'm trying to say is: you'll understand the story better if you really focus on what you're reading. 

     Overall, this was an immensely enjoyable, entertaining and thrilling read. If you like your books creepy, twisty and crackling with tension - The Hunt is the book for you. It's one helluva a roller coaster ride!

WHAT YOU CAN WIN:  2 x The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda 
OPEN TO: Canada & International
Ends: April 30th

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