06 Aug / The Hunt Series: The Hunt, The Prey, The Trap by Andrew Fukuda
So maybe I’m getting older faster, but oh my goodness, I’m surprised this trilogy is rated for kids – ages 12+ and grade 7+! Fair warning from this parent: the violence is graphic, the body count immeasurable, and by the end, most of the main characters (possible spoiler alert!) are no longer on the page. That said, let’s just say I’m so glad I had all three titles of The Hunt Series uploaded onto my iPod [narrator Sean Runnette moves easily between diverse characters, notably switching genders with effortless control; he memorably gives Gene’s teenaged voice a gravelly, weary quality that embodies his ‘weathered-way-beyond-his-years’ unease]. Once you join The Hunt, you’re gonna go for The Prey, so you can navigate through The Trap as quickly as you possibly can. You won’t stop until you know.
Gene just might be the last of his kind … human, that is. First he lost his mother and sister. And then his father disappeared. He’s been able to blend in, hiding in plain sight among the ‘people’ – vampires, also called duskers, who are the majority population – by keeping himself free of body hair, odors, facial expressions, and especially any attachments. And then the next Heper Hunt is announced – a tightly orchestrated bloodfest in which a group of hunters are chosen by lottery, to be unleashed to gorge on rare hepers. Absolutely nothing is more desirable to duskers than heper blood, flesh, and bones. Hunger game indeed: the hunter with the most kills wins.
Somehow, Gene is one of the chosen, along with classmate Ashley June; she’s an attachment Gene has avoided for years. They’re taken to the Heper Institute in preparation for the Hunt, where Gene learns he’s not alone: inside the protective Dome is a small group of heavily guarded humans, kept alive – even thriving – by the nameless, mysterious Scientist. In a desperate, delirious search for water (duskers prefer a thicker red), Gene stumbles into the Heper village, and finds himself especially drawn to the fierce leader, Sis.
The Heper Hunt stalls, and Gene becomes the most wanted prey. Forced to abandon Ashley June, Gene and Sissy must guide their small group to safety. The elaborate machinations of the missing Scientist unfold, and they find temporary reprieve in a brave new world … until they don’t, and they must escape certain death yet again. Survival means making a pact with the devil in his own Palace: the Ruler demands the assassination of one to save the lives of the most precious few. The eponymous trap is set, and the fate of the human race becomes unfair game for all.
According to his bio, hapa Chinese Japanese American author Andrew Fukuda worked as a criminal prosecutor for seven years; surely, he’s seen some of our less-than-noble characteristics close up … perhaps he’s channeled some of those disturbing experiences here. So, too, perhaps poring over all those interminable briefs might have been what inspired Fukuda to write the opposite: the trilogy is a twisting-and-turning, stomach-churningly unpredictable ride – no dull encounters in sight. Go ahead and treat all three as one long book … because really, you’ll barely be able to catch your breath in between. And as you gasp toward the final few pages, be ready, because the ending is a shocker: I completely didn’t see that coming!
Readers: Young Adult, Adult
Published: 2012, 2013, 2013