Author: Andrew Fukuda
Publication: St. Martin's Griffin (May 8, 2012)
Description: Don’t Sweat. Don’t Laugh. Don’t draw attention to yourself. And most of all, whatever you do, do not fall in love with one of them.
Gene is different from everyone else around him. He can’t run with lightning speed, sunlight doesn’t hurt him and he doesn’t have an unquenchable lust for blood. Gene is a human, and he knows the rules. Keep the truth a secret. It’s the only way to stay alive in a world of night—a world where humans are considered a delicacy and hunted for their blood.
When he’s chosen for a once in a lifetime opportunity to hunt the last remaining humans, Gene’s carefully constructed life begins to crumble around him. He’s thrust into the path of a girl who makes him feel things he never thought possible—and into a ruthless pack of hunters whose suspicions about his true nature are growing. Now that Gene has finally found something worth fighting for, his need to survive is stronger than ever—but is it worth the cost of his humanity?
My Thoughts: This was a very interesting post-apocalyptic/dystopia which takes place in a world where vampires rule and humans have been hunted nearly to extinction because the vampires think of them as delicacies. Our main character is a young human has been passing as a vampire for years. This boy is very conflicted. He hates the vampires but he also hates his humanity because it keeps him from blending in. Every day is test for him to see if he can continue to fool those around him. Failure means instant painful death. Success means he has to do it all the next day.
The Ruler has determined that it is time for another heper hunt and that the hunters will be drawn by lot from among the general population. The Ruler wants to bolster his fading popularity. Of course, our hero is chosen as is the vampire girl that he has been forcing himself not to like for years. He calls her Ashley June.
Part of the reason that I keep calling him "our hero" is that the vampires don't have personal names. They have various designations based on where they sit in a class or what job they hold but the designations change.
Our hero's time at the institute is a trying one for him. He has to survive without the soaps and deodorants that mask his heper body odor, he doesn't have the whitener he uses on his fangs, he doesn't have access to the water, fruits and vegetables he needs to survive. He also has to figure out how he will survive the hunt when the vampires are all faster and stronger than he is. It isn't until our hero meets the hepers who are going to be hunted and learns that they are not unthinking animals that he recalls that his family used to call him Gene.
He is even more conflicted when he discovers that his fellow hunter - Ashley June - is also a human passing as a vampire. They decide to team up so that both can somehow survive. But things quickly go wrong and lead to some very exciting scenes as Gene tries to escape from the vampires who now know that he is a heper.
Fans of post-apocalyptic survival stories will be a good audience for this story. They will be clamoring, like me, for sequels to know how everything works out for these characters.
"I tell them what I know," she says, looking out the window and then back at me. Her eyes, awash in the moonlight, radiate out, her irises delineated and clear. "Which isn't a lot. I tell them that you're a bit of an enigma, a loner, that you keep to yourself. That you're crazy smart even though you try to hide it. That even though all the girls whisper about you, you've never so much as dated a single one. They aks if we've ever been together, and I tell them no."I received the eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. You can buy your copy here.
My eyes flick to hers. She holds my stare with a kind of quiet desperation, as if afraid I might break away too quickly. The air between us changes drastically. I can't explain it, other than it feels like both a hot quickening and a calming softness.