The Hunt, by Andrew Fukuda
The Hunt is full of monsters, the sort that run and hunt and terrorize, and these monsters are human-hunting machines. By now, the humans of the world are nearly extinct, kept carefully in “heper” colonies, protected from those who cannot help but hunt and kill them.
Well, nearly all of the humans are kept in the colonies. Some, though, some manage to hide themselves in plain sight and live among the monsters that inhabit the earth.
Gene and his father were some of those hidden humans, but his father is gone, and Gene is forced to survive on his own. Every moment, every walk to school, puts Gene in terrible danger. He has been carefully trained; he never participated in activities that would make him sweat, never did too well on exams, never laughed out loud. Gene’s father had made sure that he understood the danger he was in, and the careful preparation he needed to hide in a world filled with terrifying monsters. Gene can never let his disguise slip, not for a moment, because a moment would be all it would take for everything to be lost. But he still tries to live a sort of life, to survive and live on, hidden and afraid.
With so few of the hepers left, the chance to hunt one is a prize only given to a select few. It has been a decade since the last Heper Hunt, and the government has announced a new one, with Gene one of the “lucky” few chosen to hunt the prizes. He is being trained again, this time to hunt those few humans left on Earth. He, and everyone else chosen for the hunt, are being trained to recognize heper signs, to track and kill, to win at all costs. Gene was in danger before, but now he is in close quarters with hunters on the alert, looking for someone just like him.
The Hunt is the first novel of a series, and it sets up a complicated world, leaving enough mystery to make reading the second and third books in the series a tempting idea. Fukuda’s descriptions hold nothing back, and some of danger that Gene faces is actually stomach-churning:
Horrific cries of fear and panic, the sound of flesh ripped and bones crushed, puncturing the night stillness. I’d wake up screaming, inconsolable even as my father wrapped his arms protectively around me in a strong hug. He’d tell me everything was all right, that it was just a dream, that it wasn’t real; but what he didn’t know was that even as he spoke, I’d hear the lingering sounds of my sister’s and mother’s wretched screams echoing in my ears, spilling out of my nightmares and into the darkness of my all-too-real world.
The Hunt is a fast paced book, and the action is quick and suspenseful. The world that Fukuda has created is different from many other vampire books, and there are intriguing hints of the mysteries to be revealed later. Most of all, Fukuda creates a character is terrifying danger and draws his readers along for the ride.