vampire-majority world, Gene learned survival rules from his father:
Never sleep in public.
Never stand out.
Never forget who you are.
Having to drink water in secret, to remove all body hair, to train himself to always react exactly as his schoolmates react, to stay a loner even after being orphaned - it's a wonder than he's made it undetected into his teens.
If the other members of the Heper Hunt discover that Gene is a human with false fangs, then there will be one more heper to be chased and devoured alive by the unimaginably swift and vicious vampires.
Publication date in the USA is May 8, 2012 - The Hunt begins!
Book info: The Hunt (The Hunt, book 1) / Andrew Fukuda. St Martin's Griffin, 2012. [author's website] [publisher site] [UK book trailer]
My Recommendation: No one in his classes sweats or smiles or cries or has trouble seeing in dim lighting like Gene does. He can’t run fast, doesn’t thirst for blood. As a human “heper” in the vampire world, he’s hiding in plain sight, just trying to make it through another night alive. Then the Hunt is announced – a lottery for the right to chase and kill the last known hepers – and his number is called.
His father drilled rule after rule into him as he grew up: don’t giggle, never get any suntan, don’t fall asleep away from home, keep his grades only average. Somehow he knew that Gene would have to survive on his own someday, would have to pass for a true vampire all alone, just a number instead of a name. One look at their house with the unused sleeping perches and drinking water would doom him to immediate death and dismemberment by ravenous vampires.
The Ruler announces the Heper Hunt one night during school hours, and the Director of the Heper Institute explains the rules – training days, Hunt date, and the added bonus of providing some weapons to the slow, warm-blooded Hepers to make the Hunt last more than a few minutes. Everyone rushes to their computer terminals to get their lottery numbers, waiting for the night when the Hunt winners will be drawn. The excitement at school is unbearable – two students will join the Hunt, Gene and a girl he’s always called Ashley June.
And so his nightmare begins. There’s really very little training for Hunt members to do – the waiting is meant to build up the suspense for citizens who will avidly watch the last humans die in a haze of bloodlust and bone-cracking. How can Gene keep his own human sweat from alerting the vampires when there’s no running water at the Heper Institute to wash with or drink? Will someone come into his room and find him sleeping on the floor instead of hanging from his sleeping perch?
When he finds the Scientist’s journal and watches the heper group through the thick glass dome, Gene realizes that they’re much smarter than any vampire imagines. Can he alert the Hepers to the perils ahead? Is he going to survive waiting for the Hunt to begin? Will Ashley June be the one who discovers his secret?
First in a series, The Hunt takes readers to a dim and hungry future where humankind has one last chance to survive. (One of 5,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com) Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.