Series: The Hunt #1
Published by St. Martin's Griffin (5.8.2012)
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover, 304 pages
Source: Library, NetGalley
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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 can’t imagine having to live in Gene’s shoes. In fact, I think I’d rather have just killed myself to get it over with (or just be turned, if that’s even possible?). I simply do not possess the survival skills it would take. Let’s go over the reasons:
You have to act like a robot. No showing emotions – no raising eyebrows or widening eyes in surprise, no gasping. No coughing, sneezing, laughing, clearing of the throat (just thinking about that makes me do it). No humming, whistling, singing. No slouching or squinting.
You have to maintain better than perfect hygiene. You can’t sweat. You can’t have any body hair (and really, that was never mentioned on the vamp side – I guess they don’t/can’t grow body hair?) – so you have to shave daily. You have to keep your nails carefully trimmed and manicured (again, do they not break nails?). If you don’t shower very frequently, your smell will give you away. Which goes along with the sweat. No strenuous exercise in front of them.
You can’t sleep around them. Because they sleep on the ceiling, so if you’re caught sleeping somewhere…not on the ceiling…you’re screwed.
So basically, you can’t do anything. Which makes me wonder how it’s even possible at all for someone to survive. But at the same time, if Gene could do it, why weren’t there more others hiding in plain sight?
There were definitely some interesting quirks that the vamps had, and I have to give kudos to Fukuda for originality. They don’t laugh, they scratch their wrists when they think something is funny. Hugs are performed with ears instead of arms – rubbing earlobes together. And there’s no kissing or necking, instead it’s elbowing and armpitting. Hmm. Can’t say someone touching my armpit would ever turn me on…
There were a lot of holes in the world building. Mainly because the vampires weren’t explained hardly at all (in fact, the word ‘vampire’ wasn’t used even once). They just were. Which left me with tons of questions. How did they come to be? When/how did they take over the world? How does their population grow? Can a Heper – aka a human – be turned from a bite or scratch (there was a hint about Gene’s father being bitten and having to leave, but it never came right out and stated he turned)? Or are they born? Because how could they possible breed by having armpit-elbow sex?
And what year is it, anyway? It’s obviously been a long time, since Gene didn’t know what a ‘name’ was, or singing.
The Heper Hunt was kind of a twisted version of the Hunger Games. Hepers are almost extinct, so they’re a delicacy. And speaking of Hepers, it was interesting how Gene always said ‘we’ instead of ‘they,’ like he counted himself more among the vampires than the humans. And he thought himself better than the Hepers because he saw them as uncivilized and low like beasts. This bothered me – uh, hellooo, you’re human too, genius. You’re one of them! I wanted to slap him. He may as well have been a vamp himself.
Something else that irked me that I feel the need to mention, even though it’s a small issue – the overuse of ‘mercuric.’ EVERY time light was described, that word was used. In fact, one time it was used twice on the same page. I should have kept count, because I know it was used at least 10 times throughout the book.
What I liked best was the dark and gritty feeling this book had. It was dangerous and sometimes gruesome (the gory parts were pretty in depth), and there was an ominous mood that put me on the edge of my seat in anticipation. Plus, I was able to get a very vivid picture of everything in my head.
The revelation at the end with the Scientist didn’t make any sense to me. Gah, I don’t want to give any spoilers…but if you’ve read it you’ll know what I’m talking about. Because didn’t they say he was a Heper, yet his identity…? It was a shocking twist, sure, but it didn’t quite add up.
The world building was more holey than Swiss cheese and I couldn’t really connect with the characters, but the originality made it worthwhile for me.