Against all odds, 17-year-old Gene has survived in a world where humans have been eaten to near extinction by the general population. The only remaining humans, or hepers as they are known, are housed in domes on the savannah and studied at the nearby Heper Institute. Every decade there is a government sponsored hunt. When Gene is selected to be one of the combatants he must learn the art of the hunt but also elude his fellow competitors whose suspicions about his true nature are growing.
It’s hard blending in when you’re different, but for Gene, standing out means death. He’s unique because of how he acts: when he finds something humorous, he wants to laugh instead of scratch his wrists like the People do; he can’t see in the dark like they can; and when he sleeps, he doesn’t stand on the ceiling. Gene’s dark secret is that he’s a heper (to us, a regular human) in a world full of monstrous vampires whose one insatiable craving is to eat his kind.
Gene has managed to maintain the facade well enough, even blending in at school. But when he is randomly picked to participate in a heper hunt, Gene knows it’s going to take all his skills just to survive.
Andrew Fukuda has managed to do the impossible in The Hunt – he’s made vampires scary again. These bloodsuckers don’t sparkle, they’ll hunt you down in a heartbeat thanks to their speed and insatiable bloodlust. The strangeness of their unconscious actions, like their lack of facial emotions and the wrist scratching for laughter is quite unsettling, and the fear you feel for the lone human survivor is almost claustrophobic at times.
It’s inevitable that this book, like many others before it, will be compared to The Hunger Games because of its edge-of-your-seat action, but unlike the others, The Hunt deserves the comparison. Readers looking for something to get the blood pumping shouldn’t pass up The Hunt.
Holly Harper is a children’s bookseller at Readings Carlton where she organises the kids and Young Adult enews'. She also writes books for younger readers under the name H.J. Harper. Find out more about her Star League and Bureau of Mysteries series here.
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