The gobsmacking cover drew me in, and Fukuda's carefully chosen words kept me held close. Fukuda really knows how to make a book page-turning. Every word Fukuda writes is important and engrossing; not once is there an infodump, which makes for an action-packed and gripping read. I read this book in three hours bcause it was just so tense and wonderful.
The concept of The Hunt is intriguing: humans have been replaced by a new generation of creatures that crave human blood, yet are surprisingly not vampire-like, and our protagonist is a regular human. Said regular humans are called hepers. Our main character, Gene, has to monitor his every move so he doesn't end up being eaten by the Human 2.0's.
The novel also presents many themes, which include family, friendship, and staying true to yourself. Fukuda manages to include these themes without sounding preachy, and he does it well. Including these things in a novel makes it feel more realistic, and I felt like I was right there next to Gene as he was experiencing everything.
I will admit that I thought The Hunt was a Hunger Games knockoff at first. And for a few pages, it seemed like it. The concept: going into a big arena to fight off as many as you can and be the winner? Dystopian society? As soon as I made the comparison, I lost all hope for the book. Just another author capitalizing off the success of the dystopian genre. As I began the novel, though, I was captivated, and I lost all suspicions I had once had. I realized soon enough that there was one key difference from The Hunger Games: the initiation. In Hunger Games, it lasted a very meager number of pages. In The Hunt, there is a much longer period of time where the Hunters are initiated. At this point, I was able to stop worrying about its copycat nature and just enjoy it.
The Hunt also features a little bit of romance -- between Gene and a certain unnamed non-Heper girl. I won't give anything away, but one of the things Gene's dad told him before he disappeared was to never fall in love with one of the non-Hepers. Let's just kick back and wait to see how deep Gene falls into trouble...
Speaking of Gene, Fukuda characterizes very well. The backstory he provides for each of the characters makes them feel like family to the reader. It is very special. You don't see that a lot in YA; most characters are just there to follow the plot and provide entertainment in other YA. This is not the case in The Hunt. Each character is fleshed out thoroughly, emotional, non-cardboard-like in nature. I appreciate that.
If you're looking for a kick-arse, addictive and genuinely real novel, try The Hunt. Andrew Fukuda is a debut author not to be missed.
*OMG SO MUCH ACTION