The Hunt (The Hunt, book 1)
By Andrew Fukuda
Expected publication May 8, 2012 by St. Martin's Griffin
His world is a carefully constructed set of rules: don't laugh. Don't sweat. Don't draw attention to yourself. Never forget who you are. But how can he forget - the sunlight doesn't hurt him and he doesn't crave heper blood - when every moment of his life highlights the differences between him and other people? His world is about to be forever changed.
That's perhaps the vaguest plot description I could come up with for you. You're welcome. Now, where do I begin this review? I picked this up at Midwinter because it sounded like a unique addition to the paranormal/vampire/craziness that is happening all over YA right now. And, after reading, I still believe this. Our main character here is a young man who is human, living in a society of vampires. And it is not like they live in blessed peace with each other - no, our young narrator has fooled them all into believing he is one of them. Now, here is where the novel loses me, as a critical reader - there is too much that is completely unbelievable or unexplained. Seriously, in 17 years this kid has never accidentally sneezed or gotten a paper cut? And what about human women - um, they obviously still bleed once a month (there are some mentions of children being born throughout the book), so do they just disappear for those days? According to our narrator, it wouldn't matter if they hid themselves - the smell of their blood would be too irresistible. So how does it work?? That's a bit too ridiculous, even in a world where I have suspended my disbelief. Additionally, no background is given on this world - where did all the humans go? Where did the vampires come from? There are some hints that it's an evolutionary thing - that is, the human race evolved into vampires but a few humans managed to survive undiscovered (well, mostly). This stretches the credibility even more. And another thing, if our boy is supposed to be so smart, how does he not realize that he's been in the presence of another human for a very long time? It wasn't that hard for me to figure out and I think I've mentioned before that I'm not really that great at solving these sorts of mysteries.
But as a reader looking to be entertained? I don't really give a rat's behind about all this unbelievable and incredible stuff going on - for me, this book was exciting and held my interest. While narrator boy (he doesn't really have a name until 2/3 of the way through the novel, ahem Goodreads spoiler) doesn't have much of a personality, it seems like a necessity. I mean, no one else has a name and he's just trying to blend in to get by, so why would he? Similarly, no one else expresses their emotions (beyond wrist-scratching - wha....? - but I digress), so why would he? This book is fast-paced and action-packed and I couldn't wait to turn each page and find out what happened next. While I don't think it's the greatest book I've read this year, I definitely enjoyed it and think it will certainly appeal to the vampire-crazed populace we have among our YA masses.
Thanks to the publisher for an advance reader's copy.