Our main character (who doesn't have a name until about 1/2 way through) is human -- otherwise known as a heper. The world is now populated with "people" who are vampires. Gene (the name of the main character) has lived hidden among the vampires, pretending to be one of them, risking his life every day for his whole life.
He can't sweat, or use any facial expressions, or laugh or yawn, or slouch. There are many other things that vampires don't do -- so Gene has adapted as best he can. He must be awake during the dark and sleep during the day.
The thing that turns Gene's world upside down is the announcement that there's going to be a hunt. For hepers. Members of the "people" will be selected at random, trained, and allowed to hunt hepers that have been raised in captivity. Guess what -- Gene is randomly selected, and faces even more challenges to keep his true identity hidden. Vampires don't drink water or eat anything except raw meat. Now that Gene is constantly among them, there isn't any water available.
This is only one of many challenges and close calls, and it was sometimes difficult to believe Gene's successes. And, the main premise, that Gene has been able to hide his humanness is hard to believe. I got past that, because my heart was pounding during much of The Hunt. During those "close calls," I was rooting for Gene. I wanted the Hepers in captivity to somehow be able to survive and defeat the vampires.
I liked the characterization that Fukada gives the vampires. They scratch their wrists instead of laughing. They crack their necks and drool when they get excited. I just loved their "personalities." There's a lot of blood, and parts are pretty gross.
If you want a different, exciting take on vampires, and you are willing to get past a premise that has some weaknesses, give The Hunt a try. I'm sure it's not for everyone, but I can hand The Hunt to A LOT of my teens, and they will devour it.
Published by St. Martin's Griffin, May 8, 2012
eBook obtained from NetGalley
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