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The Hunt    by Andrew Fukuda order for
by Andrew Fukuda
Order:  USA  Can
St. Martin's, 2012 (2012)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Here's something different in vampire lit, a Planet of the Apes take on the genre. Andrew Fukuda's The Hunt takes place in a world overrun by vampires, who are the new norm. The few humans who survive do so by taking extreme measures to blend in - 'Never smile or laugh or giggle, never cry or get teary-eyed', and at all costs avoid sweat or sunburn.

Seventeen-year-old Gene is a heper, a human in a world of vampires. He wears fake fangs, works hard to mask tell-tale body odors, and follows all the rules his father drummed into him daily before he died. Although he's very smart, Gene tries to stay under the radar at school. He also hides his crush on pretty Ashley June, despite her apparent interest in him.

Then the Ruler announces a new Heper Hunt (the last one was ten years before) as well as a lottery to select the hunters. Humans raised in captivity would be released for the hunt and everyone drools over the prospect of 'succulent flesh and rich blood.' Oddly, both Gene and Ashley June are picked, and taken with the other hunters to the Heper Institute.

There, Ashley June's actions save Gene from detection on several occasions as they undergo hunt training and participate in media events. Gene makes a daytime visit to the hepers' domed village (sealed at night when people might try to get to them) and discovers that they're not the zoo animals he expected. Ashley June also has a big surprise for him.

Suspense builds as Gene - and readers - wonder how he can possibly survive discovery before or during the heper hunt. We also wonder, especially as the violence escalates, if the Scientist's 'land of milk and honey, fruit and sunshine' really exists. We'll just all have to wait for the next episode in this unusual new series for answers.

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