The Author: Andrew Fukuda
The Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (an Imprint of St. Martin's Press)
Release Date: May 8, 2012
Marketing Copy Summary:
In a world where humans have been eaten to near extinction, seventeen-year-old Gene has only managed to survive by painstakingly concealing his true species. If the bloodthirsty creatures surrounding him knew what he really was—a human—he would be devoured swiftly and terribly. When Gene is chosen to participate in the government-sponsored hunt for the last remaining humans, it thrusts him into the fight of his life—and into the path of a human girl who makes him feel things he never thought possible. Now, he must learn the art of the hunt and elude his fellow hunters whose suspicions about his true human nature are growing. But most importantly, Gene and the girl he loves must find a way to forge a life together in a brutal world that’s bent on their destruction.
The title of this book can be a little misleading. Upon picking it up, I expected the Heper Hunt (as it's called) to take up the majority of the book. The hunt actually doesn't begin until about 2/3 of the way through. Those last 100 pages are nonstop, heart-pounding, breath-stealing action. No doubt about that.
What about the first couple hundred pages, you ask? I can't say as they were bad. On the contrary. They kept me riveted. From the beginning as Gene paints such a vivid picture of life in the midst of so many creatures that would just as soon eat him, if given the chance. He survives by adhering to a very strict set of rules that his father pounded into him at an early age. Even after losing his mother, his sister, and then his father, Gene is still alive. Still surviving.
Even if he is kind of douchebag. Okay. So this is where I admit that I didn't like Gene. Not at the beginning. Not in the middle. And definitely not at the end.
And, I understand why he was written the way he was. I mean, if you had lived your whole life pretending to be someone else, you'd kind of lose yourself, too, right? One of his father's rules kept repeating itself through the book: Never forget who you are. I felt (on more than one occasion) like Gene had broken this rule long before THE HUNT even began.
He kept me reading. Even if I didn't care for him, I found him interesting. I wanted to see what he'd do next. I wanted to find out if he'd redeem himself for me. And, he did. Once, maybe twice...but not until the very end. WHICH turned out to be a m*****f***ing CLIFFHANGER! (We all know how I hate those)
Now that you know my complaints, let me tell what I enjoyed about this book
- The writing. Fukuda has a spare writing style that immediately pulls you in. Each sentence flows into the next effortlessly. No eye hurdles in sight.
- The concept. It reminded me a lot of this book I read in junior high in which the really rich dude invites these big game hunters to his island and then hunts them down. Only here, the hepers don't know they're being raised and protected only to be hunted down, even when THE HUNT finally begins, they're left in the dark. I kind of love that plotline, even as I hate it. It brought about a lot of dramatic tension.
- The no name thing. I like how the vampires don't name each other. I like how Gene doesn't even realize he has been nameless for all those years until a heper asks him his name and he stumbles, has to scrounge at long buried memories to come up with his name.
All in all, this was a rather interesting read. Did I have issues with some things in the book? Yes. Did I love the idea, the writing? Hell yes. Did I like the main character? Not really, but I can see how Fukuda is setting things up for him to really make good, to Never forget who he is. I think anyone who is still interested in vampire books, or likes a little heart-pounding action would enjoy this tale. But, CAUTION: Cliffhangers ahead. I'm just saying.