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The Hunt (The Hunt Trilogy) Hardcover – May 8, 2012
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From School Library Journal
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Eleven years ago, one was discovered in my school. A kindergarten student, on her first day. She was devoured almost immediately. What was she thinking? Maybe the sudden (and it’s always sudden) loneliness at home drove her to school under some misbegotten idea that she’d find companionship. The teacher announced nap time, and the little tyke was left standing alone on the floor clutching her teddy bear as her classmates leaped feetfirst toward the ceiling. At that point, it was over for her. Over. She might as well have taken out her fake fangs and prostrated herself for the inevitable feasting. Her classmates stared down wide-eyed from above: Hello, what have we here? She started to cry, they tell me, bawl her eyes out. The teacher was the first to get to her.
After kindergarten, when you’re free and clear of naps, that’s when you show up at school. Although you can still get caught by surprise. One time, my swimming coach was so enraged by the team’s lethargic performance at a school meet, he forced all of us to take a nap in the changing room. He was only making a point, of course, but that point near did me in. By the way, swimming is fine, but don’t do any other sport if you can help it. Because sweat is a dead giveaway. Sweat is what happens when we get hot; water droplets leak out like a baby drooling. I know, gross. Everyone else remains cool, clean, dry. Me? I’m a leaky faucet. So forget about cross-country, forget about tennis, forget about even competitive chess. But swimming is fine, because it hides the sweat.
That’s just one of the rules. There’re many others, all of them indoctrinated into me by my father from the time I was born. Never smile or laugh or giggle, never cry or get teary-eyed. At all times, carry a bland, stoic expression; the only emotions that ever crack the surface of people’s faces are heper-cravings and romantic-lust, and I am obviously to have nothing to do with either. Never forget to apply butter liberally all over your body when venturing out in the daytime. Because in a world like this, it’s a tough task explaining a sunburn, or even a suntan. So many other rules, enough to fill a notebook, not that I ever felt inclined to write them down. Being caught with a “rulebook” would be just as damning as a sunburn.
Besides, my father reminded me of the rules every day. As the sun was going down, over breakfast, he’d go over a few of the many rules. Like: Don’t make friends; don’t inadvertently fall asleep in class (boring classes and long bus rides were especially dangerous); don’t clear your throat; don’t ace your exams, even though they insult your intelligence; don’t let your good looks get the better of you; no matter how the girls might throw their hearts and bodies at you, never give in to that temptation. Because you must always remember that your looks are a curse, not a blessing. Never forget that. He’d say all this while giving my nails a quick once-over, making sure that they weren’t chipped or scratched. The rules are now so ingrained in me, they’re as unbendable as the rules of nature. I’ve never been tempted to break any of them.
Except one. When I first started taking the horse-drawn school bus, my father forbade me from looking back at him to wave good-bye. Because people never do that. That was a hard rule for me, initially. For the first few nights of school, as I stepped onto the bus, it took everything in me to freeze myself, to not look back and wave good-bye. It was like a reflex, an insuppressible cough. I was just a kid back then, too, which made it doubly hard.
I broke that rule only one time, seven years ago. It was the night after my father staggered into the house, his clothes disheveled as if he’d been in a tussle, his neck punctured. He’d gotten careless, just a momentary lapse, and now he had two clear incisions in his neck. Sweat poured down his face, staining his shirt. You could see he already knew. A frenzied look in his eyes, panic running up his arms as he gripped me tight. “You’re alone now, my son,” he said through clenched teeth, spasms starting to ripple across his chest. Minutes later, when he started to shiver, his face shockingly cold to the touch, he stood up. He rushed out the door into the dawn light. I locked the door as he’d instructed me to do and ran to my room. I stuffed my face into the pillow and screamed and screamed. I knew what he was doing at that very moment: running, as far away from the house before he transformed and the rays of sunlight became like waterfalls of acid burning through his hair, his muscles, his bones, his kidney, lungs, heart.
The next night, as the school bus pulled up in front of my house, steam gushing from the horses’ wide and wet nostrils, I broke the rule. I couldn’t help myself: I turned around as I stepped onto the bus. But by then, it didn’t matter. The driveway was empty in the dark birth of night. My father was not there. Not then or ever again.
My father was right. I became alone that day. We were once a family of four, but that was a long time ago. Then it was just my father and me, and it was enough. I missed my mother and sister, but I was too young to form any real attachments with them. They are vague shapes in my memory. Sometimes, though, even now, I hear the voice of a woman singing and it always catches me off guard. I hear it and I think: Mother had a really pretty voice. My father, though. He missed them terribly. I never saw him cry, not even after we had to burn all the photos and notebooks. But I’d wake up in the middle of the day and find him staring out the unshuttered window, a beam of sunshine plunging down on his heavy face, his broad shoulders shaking.
My father had prepared me to be alone. He knew that day would eventually come, although I think deep down he believed it was he who would be the last one left, not me. He spent years drilling the rules into me so I knew them better than my own self. Even now, as I get ready for school at dusk, that laborious process of washing, filing my nails, shaving my arms and legs (and recently, even a few chest hairs), rubbing ointment (to mask the odor), polishing my fake fangs, I hear his voice in my head, going over the rules.
Like today. Just as I’m slipping on my socks, I hear his voice. The usual warnings: Don’t go to sleepovers; don’t hum or whistle. But then I hear this rule he’d say maybe just once or twice a year. He said it so infrequently, maybe it wasn’t a rule but something else, like a life motto. Never forget who you are. I never knew why my father would say that. Because it’s like saying don’t forget water is wet, the sun is bright, snow is cold. It’s redundant. There’s no way I could ever forget who I am. I’m reminded every moment of every day. Every time I shave my legs or hold in a sneeze or stifle a laugh or pretend to flinch at a slip of stray light, I am reminded of who I am.
A fake person.
Copyright © 2012 by Andrew Fukuda
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Top Customer Reviews
There are truly gruesome scenes in the book, and there should be...vampires have been so domesticated and watered down in recent fiction. This is nothing like anything I've read in the genre. It actually makes fun of the others in a few places.
Gene is one of the last hepers on the earth, in a world dominated by vampires (people...hah!). He has been taught from birth how to blend in to their world, just to survive. He has a meticulous regimen in order to not be a meal every day at school. He's smart, but doesn't show it. He does whatever it takes to not draw attention. Except that Ashley June really has a crush on him.
He is chosen, seemingly at random, to participate in the first Heper Hunt in 10 years. And Ashley June is chosen too. They are taken for training and the hunt to the Institute where they see their first hepers (under a retractable dome) and meet some truly frightening other vampires. The action of the last half or so of the book makes it really hard to put down and stop reading.
The vampires are given interesting affectations (wrist scratching, neck snapping, drooling) that are unique and kind of funny if you try to picture it. The descriptions of meals and hunts are pretty graphic and could upset a younger reader who is sensitive. It totally sets itself up at the end for at least a sequel, if not a trilogy. I'll read those too.
In a nutshell, The Hunt is like an inverted Immortal Rules with a Hunger Games-esque twist. Instead of our young, male protagonist, Gene, being the only vampire among humans, he is one of the only humans living in the lion's den. In order to pull this off he must shave off all his body hair, clip his nails, polish his fake fangs, and bathe rigorously every single day. In addition to the intense grooming, he must suppress his basic human mannerisms such as laughing, sweating, singing, flinching, clearing his throat, ect. when in contact with "people." All of this is done because Gene lives in a world where he is considered a "heper," barely a step above a farm animal. In order to survive he has to hide who he truly is or risk being eaten. So when he is chosen for the Heper Hunt (think Hunger Games arena), you can only imagine his uneasiness. "Awkward" is an understatement.
The Hunt has a lot of potential because regardless of how I feel about it I can't deny that it's not creative. It features an entirely different spin on vampires that both intrigued me and weirded me out. It's also very readable and easily holds a reader's attention. I also felt myself enjoying Fukuda's prose as well, especially when Gene thought of his past memories of his family. That's the main reason why I ended up giving the book two stars instead of one. But like I said earlier, that alone won't win anyone points with me.Read more ›
Gene, the main character is a human pretending to be a vampire. I don't see how he could pull it off-no facial hair, no expressions, no smell, no laughing, being able to see perfectly at night, etc. but it did make for some edge of your seat situations.
There is some very unexpected romance, but it just added to the appeal and mystery of what will happen next, and how they will get there.
I enjoyed being in Gene's head, he had a voice that pulled me in, and it was refreshing to read from a male point of view.
This is fully violent, totally consuming, and there are plenty of twists and lots of action that kept me glued from start to surprising finish.
Gene is a pretty regular teenage boy, who probably wouldn't stand out from the crowd if not for the fact that, to his knowledge, he's probably the last human alive in the entire world. His mother, his father, every other person on the planet - they're all gone. And he's alone. Surrounded by vampires. Having little to no choice, he's forced to pretend to be one of them. Before his disappearance, his father taught him how to blend in: shave every day, don't sweat, don't make any facial expressions, don't sigh, laugh or cry. Essentially, don't be human. And, against all odds, Gene managed to survive all those years, among creatures who wouldn't blink twice before tearing into his flesh if they discovered his secret. His chances of survival drop drastically when the government announces The Hunt, offering a few chosen ones a chance to hunt and consume the last remaining humans. Picked as one of the lucky participants, Gene will have to fight to stay alive.
I really loved The Hunt. It was fresh, unique, gripping and exceptionally well-written. Some parts were a little bit sketchy on the details, and I certainly had a problem with how selfish and ignorant the lead character often appeared to be, but even all that didn't manage to cloud my overall enjoyment of this awesome story. I really liked the parts that focused on Gene's internal struggles. Alone and surrounded by enemies, he grew up without any real parental guidance.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I really wanted to like this book more. Lots more. After all, look at the premise! A single male, teenaged human camouflaging himself amid “people,” the dominant lifeform that... Read morePublished 4 months ago by C. Adee
A very cool story, and nothing like anything I've read before. We follow a teen as he tries to fit in and be "normal", in society. The catch is... he's human. Will he make it? Read morePublished 7 months ago by Karri K.
The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda held my interest from word one, even though I wasn’t too sure about reading it based off of the synopsis/summary. Read morePublished 9 months ago by K. Russo
So I thought this was going to be an odd turn of dystopians, and it was. This is more of a dystopian that breaths sci-fi. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Ryan Grooms
This is a rapid page-turner. The story grabs you and pulls you along with it like a strong current. It's not only a great story but great writing. Read morePublished 11 months ago by V. B. Law
Really good book! I couldn't put it down. After finishing I immediatley bought the sequel!Published 11 months ago by Morgan Drake
A little slow at times but man did the very end get me! I am hooked!Published 13 months ago by Michelle Carrell
The take-home: While the book may not pull you in from the start, it's a good book on the whole and starts a great series that's well worth reading. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Sam