Book Review: The Hunt

The Hunt by Andre Fukuda. 9781250005144. 2012. Gr 9-12.

I have always loved scary stories.  They’ve never really bothered me, and I love the suspense.

When Karen H, my good friend and roommate at college, passed along “the scariest book [she] had ever read,” I was eager to try it.  Now, if Karen had left the jacket on the book, or if I had read the reviews on Amazon or B&N, I might have been forewarned.   But there was no jacket—nor was there an Internet in 1979—and I knew nothing about the book.  With all of my apartment-mates gone for a long weekend (along with practically everyone on campus), I opened up my bedroom window to let the cool October air in and climbed up on my top bunk to savor some delightful shivers.

The book was Salem’s Lot by Stephen King.

Delightful is hardly the word for my shivers that night.  When I was finally able to put down the book, I slept (did I sleep?) with the light on.  I couldn’t even muster up the courage to shut the window, though King’s vampires did a lot of scratching at windows. I have never—never!—been so scared.

It was great.  Since then, I have been a fan of vampire stories—real vampires, vampires with teeth who sleep during the day and hunt and feed at night.   While the recent crop of paranormal romances have been very popular, they are just not…right.  Vampires are supposed to be scary.  They are not nice.  They belong to the HORROR genre.  I’ve gotten a bit tired of vampires lately, but here is a book that puts them right back where they belong.

Most of us try to blend in with society, but seventeen-year-old Gene is an expert at disguise, at acting, at hiding.  He lives in a society where the people are carnivorous and nocturnal, and their favorite food is heper flesh and blood.  And Gene is a heper—a human.  All of his family are gone and he lives alone, though he hopes there might be others like him:

THERE USED TO be more of us. I’m certain of this. Not enough to fill a sports stadium or even a movie theater, but certainly more than what’s left today. Truth is, I don’t think there’s any of us left. Except me. It’s what happens when you’re a delicacy. When you’re craved. You go extinct.

Gene has been very successful at maintaining his cover, but things are about to change.  The government announces that a small group of hepers—a farm, if you like—has been raised in the desert under the safety of a dome. And now, for the first time in a decade, there will be a Heper Hunt.  Seven people will be chosen by lottery to hunt down and eat their fill of tender young heper flesh.  And when Gene’s numbers are called, he knows that there is little chance that he will remain undetected.

Fukuda has created a frightening world, with plenty of suspense, lots of blood, and a big shocker of an ending which promises future books.  Though The Hunt is not your typical vampire book, the vampires are ruthless, bloodthirsty, and most definitely do not sparkle.  It may not be for everyone, but I enjoyed the thrill, and I know that the three young men who live at my house will love it.

Blogger:  Tracey L.