Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Hunting by Sam Hawksmoor [Review]

Young Adult, Science Fiction, Thriller
Publication.Date  August 2nd 2012 (Paperback edition)
Published By:  Hodder Children's Books
WebsiteSam Hawksmoor 

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

Genie and Rian thought they'd beaten The Fortress and stopped the dreadful experiments. But now someone even more ruthless has taken over, and wants to investigate why the experiments didn't kill Genie Magee. She is Fortress property, he claims - along with the other survivors.

Now there's $10,000 reward on their heads, armed roadblocks on the highway, and the dreaded threat of 'Mosquito' that can shut down their brainwaves by using their genetic information against them. There's only one possible escape from the bounty hunters with shotguns, and that's down the wild unforgiving river to a bleak future forever on the run.

Or they must turn and face The Fortress, find out its secrets, and use them against it. Seize their lives back, and fight for their very right to exist!

"Every day I just look at you and think it's a miracle you're here and you're OK."
"I'm only OK because you're here, Rian. That's the miracle."
"Care about yourself and people will care about you." 
"I'm not going to be hunted any more. We're going to have to find a way to face them and beat them. We're going hunting."

     The Hunting is the second book in The Repossession series, and it picks up exactly where the first book left off. More than 36 kids had been kidnapped and used as guinea pigs in teleportation experiments performed by the cold-blooded scientists working for the Fortress. Majority of them lost their lives. Only a small group of kids managed to survive and escape, and now they're being hunted down, one by one, and taken back to the underground research facility to be used in yet more vile experiments. Genie, her boyfriend, Rian, and Rian's sister, Renee are on the run. Accompanied by the rabbit-chasing Mouncher, they managed to escape downriwer to Vancouver on a raft. But they're not safe yet. They survived the teleportation. They're extremely valuable. And the Fortress will do anything it takes to capture them. 

     Teleportation devices, horrific experiments, sub-sonic waves, a corrupted (and evil) Reverend, supernatural powers and brathtaking action sequences - The Hunting has all that and more! It's a finely chiselled Sci Fi thriller that is dramatically driven with relatable characters and completely unexpected plot twists. Without a doubt, one of the best YA Sci Fi series out there.

     Science Fiction is a genre of big ideas and interesting premises, and Sam Hawksmoor is definitely a big concept guy. He does his research well and offers a very thorough worldbuilding and character development. The Sci Fi part of The Hunting, while totally mind-blowing and requiring a considerable degree of suspension of disbelief, is constructed in a way that actually makes you wonder if some of that stuff could one day be possible. The ideas are fascinating and exciting, but also kind of scary. Hawksmoor inspires you to ponder the possibilities and advantages of teleportation technology, but also invites you to consider all the dangers and consequences of it. He also raises many important questions, of both practical and philosophical nature. What's more important: the lives of a few dozen kids or technological progress that could possibly save the entire planet by stopping global warming? Where do we draw the line between "sacrifice in the name of science" and murder? What about the ethical principles and morality of scientific research? 

     The Hunting is so much more than just a well written novel full of imaginative speculations and ground breaking concepts. It's also an action-packed, blood-chilling thriller and a poignant, meaningful story of survival, friendship, loyalty, love and finding one's place in the world. Complex, thought-provoking and emotionally affecting, it works on more than just one level, giving the reader something to think about, as well as something to get emotionally invested in. While not entirely rid of mood lifting, hopeful moments, The Hunting is (for the most part) very dark and disturbing. There's this omnipresent sense of danger and pursuit. You're always waiting for something bad to happen, anticipating the worst, preparing yourself mentally for the next attack. It's a truly heart pounding, nail-biting book that will keep you glued to its pages. I enjoyed all the twisty, jaw-dropping plot developments. Some of them made me cry, some made me want to pull out my hair, but in the end I came out of reading this book very satisfied and excited to see where the story will go in the next instalment. I especially loved the fact that we learned so much about the research facility and how it came to exist. We also learned about the person behind the entire project, the one funding it and pushing all the buttons. That was definitely very interesting! 

      I enjoyed getting to know the supporting characters a bit better, especially the feisty red-head, Geenie and her genius love interest, Cary. There were times when Geenie really got on my nerves (she can be pretty annoying!), but she eventually grew on me. One thing for sure, I will never forgive Ri, the way he acted in the final chapters was unacceptable. I still don't understand what brought about such a dramatic change in his behaviour. I am, however, looking forward to see if Rian and Renee will be able to work things out!

     All in all, I loved The Hunting. It's a great story with a very cool premise. If you like your books fast-paced, thrilling, ambitious and thought-provoking, you'll definitely love this one! And be sure to have a box of tissues handy. The ending will break your heart.

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