London, Simon and Schuster, 2012, 293p
New supernatural series are coming out every week at the moment - both in book and film form. They are inescapable, and I am trying to keep on top of the latest trends, to satisfy my needy teenage readers. Fukuda's novel is another of this genre, bringing together elements of the Hunger Games with aspects of vampire legend.
The Hunt is about a world in which vampires have taken over. They live pretty boring lives, with school, families, and dawn curfews. Fukuda draws on some pretty old school vampire conventions, like horse drawn carts and the inability to withstand daylight - there are no sparkling vampires here, thankfully. They have consumed all humans, who they call 'hepers', but live in perpetual hope that somewhere, there might be more.
Their wishes come true when the Ruler announces there will be a Heper Hunt (very Hunger Games), the first in ten years. A lucky few will be selected to hunt a small number of hepers who have survived in captivity, being raised in a research centre.
Gene is one of the lucky selected. Or maybe he's not so lucky, as actually he is a heper who has been strong and clever enough to hide himself in vampire school for 17 years. The story follows his short stay in a training camp, preparing for the Hunt. He struggles to hide his heper scent from the hungry vampires. He also finds himself falling for Ashley June, one of his fellow hunters (very Warm Bodies).
The novel is fast paced and dramatic, but not something I would usually chose to read. It felt too familiar, with so many elements essentially plagiarised from current popular culture. It is likely to sell well, as it pleases that audience, but it is not original or clever. Unfortunately, Fukuda has created a series out of this concept, leaving his reader with a frustratingly tantalising cliffhanger. Can I be bothered to read on?