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May 11, 2012

Review: The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda

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?
 The premise of The Hunt was initially what caught my attention. I resolved to keep an eye out for advanced reviews, and sure enough, the praise came pouring in rather quickly. After several recommendations from various readers, I managed to land an ARC to delve into. While I was initially very enthralled by this book, my opinion has begun to waiver after a bit of intense deliberation. I've found that I mainly enjoyed it for the action, which has always been the root of my interest in books, but a number of other facets were not quite up to par.

The title and synopsis are concise yet accurate in informing the reader about the basic plot, so I'm not going to do much summarizing. Moving on to characters (as always, a significant factor in my opinion of a book)--narrator and protagonist Gene is likable, but that's about all. Although his perspective is a nice twist from the sometimes overwhelming female voices in YA, it's not enough to stand out among the other male POVs. The love interest, Ashley June, is slightly more intriguing; however, her absence from certain pivotal scenes made her character seem underdeveloped.

My biggest issue with The Hunt is the world-building. In a world where bloodthirsty vampires rule, how is it plausible for a human to survive? How is Gene able to evade being discovered, especially considering how often he is placed in close quarters with a multitude of predators? I couldn't wrap my mind around the possibility, and because of it, I had difficulty focusing on the story. Additionally, there is just about no backstory on how these vampires came to be. My hope for the sequel includes much more on the history of society as Gene knows it.

Despite my negative thoughts on The Hunt, I can honestly give it points for two things: 1) originality and 2) suspense. Though this book has been compared to quite a few other popular titles, I don't believe I've ever read anything quite like it. Flaws and all, I still felt engaged and on the edge of my seat during prevalent action sequences. The abrupt cliffhanger at the end was also a sweet curveball that has piqued my interest in the sequel. Paranormal/apocalyptic YA fans, I'm glad to say that the original vampires have returned. Give this one a shot if you so desire.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

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