Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Hunt, Andrew Fukuda

Title: The Hunt
Author: Andrew Fukuda (author website | blog)
Release Date: May 10th 2012 by Simon & Schuster
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Paranormal/Dystopian
My Rating:1 star2 star3 star4 star

Chilling, creepy, visceral and exciting, Andrew Fukuda's The Hunt is many things: Dystopian, paranormal, survivalist fantasy—but mainly, it's good.

From Goodreads:
Against all odds, 17-year-old Gene has survived in a world where humans have been eaten to near extinction by the general population. The only remaining humans, or hepers as they are known, are housed in domes on the savannah and studied at the nearby Heper Institute. Every decade there is a government sponsored hunt. When Gene is selected to be one of the combatants he must learn the art of the hunt but also elude his fellow competitors whose suspicions about his true nature are growing.

The Story:

In a world where 'people' are not at all like you and I lives a 17 year old boy named Gene. Gene is many things: A survivor, an expert at deception, but most of all a freak. Instead of fangs, he has unsharpened incisors. While the sun makes 'people' melt and disintegrate, Gene can withstand ceaseless daylight. Instead of a healthy diet of blood and raw meat, Gene needs water and fruit to survive. Gene is a freak. A heper. A human. And if people knew what he was, he would be something else entirely: dead in seconds.

For seventeen years Gene has evaded detection by following the rules: don’t blink, don't sneeze, don’t cough, laugh or smile, and he's done well. But then The Ruler announces something extraordinary: a Heper Hunt, the first in ten years. Chosen by lottery to be one of the 'lucky' hunters—one the last to ever taste extremely endangered heper flesh—Gene must use all his tricks to survive. Cut off from proper food, water and deodorant—all the things he needs to blend in—the other hunters are beginning to smell something... Well, not fishy. Something far, far more delicious...

My Thoughts:

Fukuda’s ‘People’—for people is what they are in this world, and you will not see them referred to otherwise—are not quite vampires. More like the unholy love child of a vampire/zombie/human union: they think, they reason, they can, in fact, reproduce, and live normal, healthy lives. They are, in many ways, just like you and me, yet in others they are so very alien it borders on bizarre.They crave human flesh with unbridled hunger. They possess no control, and they have no internal struggle or moral quandaries to romanticise. These people would like nothing less than to tear your arms from your sockets and slurp your brain up like soup. Yet they are not so different. They have families, schools, parties and children. Teens have boyfriends and girlfriends. Friends share jokes. It’s amongst these ‘people’ that we find Gene, and start to question what, exactly, ‘human’ means.

Gene is a fascinating character study, a walking, talking, dichotomy—a lesson in Doublethink. He lives by careful rules: don't be caught out by the monsters, remember who you are—human—different from the monsters, better, all while, in some dark, secret place, longing to be a 'real' person, himself.

Gene’s humanity is an interesting thing. More than desire, longing, desperation, one thing has been deeply ingrained into the fibre of his very being: survive. At any cost—any length—survive. This need to survive can manifest itself in very ugly ways. If a human is willing to sacrifice anything and anyone for his own survival, what does that say about his humanity? Has he lost what it means to be human, or is it that need to survive, that tenacity and determination to cling to life despite the most desperate of circumstance, what makes him—and us—human, instead?

So The Hunt poses an interesting question: what is ‘human’? People mercilessly hunt hepers. They are cold, calculating, cruel; but is this any different from shark and seal, or lion and antelope? Is it different from humans and the billions of cattle, chickens, and sheep slaughtered each year to feed ‘humans’? So Fukuda asks us this: are People as bad as they sound, or just the top of the food chain? Is Gene himself any better? He leaves it to the reader to decide, and therein lies his brilliance. Fukuda's characters—even his heroes and heroines—are not always likeable, or easy to connect with, but it seems to be the point. They are flawed, at times ugly, but always interesting.

A steady, calculated creepiness and menace hang over The Hunt, and every page is coloured with a heavy sense of desperation. There are bigger games at play, and while the players have yet to reveal themselves, it becomes very clear Gene is a pawn. But this is where the comparisons to Chess or Checkers must stop. The Hunt is not a book of black and white, or perhaps even varying shades of grey. It’s a thick, muddy quagmire filled with hidden traps and dangers.

When Fukuda writes action, he holds nothing back. In contrast to Gene's carefully practiced facade, and the lingering sense of dread and foreboding that shrouds every word of The Hunt, every moment of flight, every fight, every suspicious glance ratchets up the tension and flies along at breakneck pace. Sharp and vivid, Fukuda writes with an emotive brilliance. The kind that will leave your throat parched and aching with Gene’s thirst, longing for rest, and scratching your wrist in laughter—oh, wait... you don’t have a funny bone there, either?

The Verdict:

Dark, tense and brilliant, Fukuda’s debut is not to be missed. Flawlessly combining chilling creepiness with nail biting tension and action, The Hunt is The Hunger Games, with the focus on the game—the mind game that is: The manoeuvering, the politics, the conspiracy, unravelling alliances and secrets. While not quite as action-packed as the name might suggest, The Hunt moves at electrifying pace, and will deliver thrills and chills to boys and girls (grown up ones, too) alike.

An enormous thank you to the amazing Simon and Schuster Australia for providing a review copy of The Hunt!

62 comments:

  1. Oh, I've got this on my shelf, and I can't wait to read it! I love books that aren't just black and white, so I think the whole question of "what IS human?" that you mentioned will be one I'll enjoy finding out more about.

    Great review, as always, Sarah! :)

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    1. Thanks Natalie! I've seen wildly varying things about this one, but I REALLY liked it... I think (and hope!) you like it. I know people have spoken about the believability of the premise, but, well... in the book, People think hepers are extinct. It's not like they're constantly vigilant, waiting for Gene to slip, so it's fascinating. And the whole 'human' thing I LOVED. It's not a beat-you-over-the-head with it thing, but this subtle, fascinating question Fukuda poses. I LOVED it ^__^

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    2. Eeek! This makes me so excited! I'd have to double check, but I'm pretty sure this is three books down on my to-read list. I'm reading Dead Reckoning right now, then Shadow and Bone (WOOT!), and then The Hunt. I think...lol.

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  2. I thought it was dark and brilliant too. I loved how the vamps studied us and their explanation for why we sing etc was pure genius on Fukuda's part. So glad you enjoyed this too!

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    1. SO glad you liked it, Kimba! I thought it was FAB! And YES! THe explanations were brilliant and hilarious, and the talk of evolution, and people justifying their superiority. BRILLIANT ^__^

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  3. This sounds wonderful! I always enjoyed the protagonist that are strong yet flawed. I like books that make me wonder what human means too.

    Fantastic brilliant review Sarah!

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    1. Seriously, I don't think you could have explained Gene better. He's strong, yet very, very flawed. It's fascinating... there were times I HATED his decisions and actions, but he's FASCINATING. BRILLIANT!

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  4. Fantastic review, Saz! I've heard that this is a bit weird and I wasn't sure if it was for me but you've definitely piqued my interested, esp. with your comments on humanity and the food chain.

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    1. Thanks Mandee! Weird is DEFINTIELY a good word for it... but it was GOOD weird... err... from a vegetarian POV? There's lots of bloody, dripping meat... it irked me out, but I think it was the point--send the ickiness home ;D

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  5. Great review(: This really does sound intriguing.

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  6. oOOwaHH!! SARAH, That was a rather brilliantly, intelligently written review. Most captivating!! I loved the Hunt...so glad you did too. It is different. Andrew has gone places that you either like or don't, it's that type of book.

    Your review is one that people should read to convince them to read this book. You didn't get stuck on the weird side of Andrew's track...that is a topic that is talked about a lot with this book. It was this whole world he has built that IS different and questionable but I am so intrigued to see where he goes with it. I think as the reader we sometimes missed that maybe he was deliberately writing his story a certain way.....leaving things ??? It was such an intriguing read for me..to want to know more.

    :D

    xx

    Mich

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    1. Thanks Michelle! I REALLY loved it... I know some people have commented on the weird, and the ick, and the implausibility, but... well, I LOVED it. I thought Andrew did it brilliantly, and the... the limitations of his world, the politics, the fear... it's all AMAZING. Can't WAIT for another book!

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  7. Great review!! This book sounds really interesting!! I haven't heard of it before but I will be adding it to my tbr pile :)

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    1. Thanks Sarah! It's a great, creepy book. Hope you enjoy!

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  8. Um, WoW. What the hell? I've never heard of this book until now and it's totally up my alley. Though it sounds scary as hell, I like the fine line between good and bad. How these "people" seem to be bad, but really, in the end, aren't they just hunters, higher up in the food chain? That doesn't make them bad. We too are hunters, and humans in general aren't evil for eating meat. Right? I love this idea. I think I will have to pick this book up.

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    1. Uh, seriously! I'm surprised you haven't heard of it! You know, I'd be REALLY interested in hearing YOUR opinion of this one, Jen! Of all people... I think you'd like the gritty and the characters... you start to wonder at times if Gene really *is* the good guy :D

      But... err... no snuggly, sorry :)

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  9. nicely done sarah, no amazingly done
    fabulous review sarah

    i loved gene 's voice and how brilliant the plot was
    i can't wait for book2

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    1. Thanks, Roro! Me too--can't WAIT for book 2!

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  10. Omg I can't believe i haven't heard of this book before! It sounds really good! And thanks for this review :D I'm definitely adding this to my To-Read list.

    P.S. I love your layout! (:

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    1. Hehe! You know, I'm surprised at the number of people who've said they haven't heard of it, because I've been waiting for it for SO LONG! It's so strange... I mean, you know, when something's so deeply entrenched in your awareness, you're surprised it's not in everyone elses?

      I really hope you enjoy it! And thank you so much! I'm going to take a deep breath, and back away, and not change the layout for a bit :D

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  11. The reviews for this seem pretty mixed but I'm glad to read a positive one for a change! I've heard strange things about this book, but I'm intrigued to read it nonetheless. I love the way you describe the creepiness... I will have to give it a go one day! :)

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    1. Agreed! I was kind of worried going in, but I really, REALLY thought it was brilliant. Is it perfect? No. But many books require us to suspend our disbelief, I think? I SO get that it's a divisive book, but I REALLY think it's good :D

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  12. Ugh, I love your review. It sounds like this book is very complicated and twisty in all directions <3 Tons of Aussie readers seemed to have liked it - looking forward to giving it a go some time! ;) *feels the anticipation already*

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    1. I think it's mainly becuase, you know, Aussies are awesome ^__^

      I REALLY loved it, Lisa! Hope you do, too! ♥

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  13. I'm a vampire fan...but I'm not sure I could handle the fierce, creepy vampires. I don't think I'm cut out for that sort of thing. The Hunt sounds like a Give-You-The-Shivers type of vampire story - even though it's creepy and mysterious at the same time. I still think I'll add it to me TBR list.

    Awesome review Sarah!

    Kim

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    1. Ahahaha! It's kind of... OK, the creepiness comes from wondering if Gene's gonna be caught out and eviscerated at ANY MOMENT. And it's SO tense! It's really great, Kim! Dark and tense and AWESOME!

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  14. I really admire an author who is able to write characters that aren't just black and white. It's something that I've always struggled to do personally. I've read some great reviews of this one and find the concept so interesting.

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    1. Yeah... I imagine it'd be particularly hard, because you want to like your own character? And you pour so much of yourself into a book? It's funny, because I"m I can think of only two characters in the whole book I genuinely liked--and neither of them were the MC's :D

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  15. Fantastic review, Sarah! Oooh, you've made me want to pick this book up right NOW! Oooh! I am excited! Thanks for the review!

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    1. Thanks, Jo! Seriously, I thought it was brilliant!

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  16. I ADORE your review, Sarah. I was thinking to put this book on the back of my bookshelf but your review definitely convince me to try reading it! A book that is not black, white, or even gray? Sounds like a very complex story. I love it when the author has much deeper meaning in his book. As if deciphering a well-written mystery hehe! x)

    Totally fabulous review! I'm looking forward to read your next reviews! :)

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    1. Thanks Hilda! I REALLY hope you love it! DEFINITELY complex and creepy, and I'm so looking forward to finding out the bigger game in book 2 :)

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  17. *scratches wrist* No, wait. That means laughter... what indicates OMGTHATREVIEWISAMAAAAAZING?! I forget, so I guess words will have to suffice. You NAILED this, Sarah. You captured the weight and depth perfectly. I did expect the actual "Hunt" to happen earlier, but I think I preferred how it played out. Like you said, there were mind games. And the lead up to the end was just as attention-grabbing and FASCINATING as the climax.

    I love how these kind of stories make you THINK. Make you question the characters, the society they live in and often make you question your own world. When an author can inspire that, they're obviously doing something right. Sooo glad you enjoyed this!

    Book two! Accio!! I want to suck your pages dry of their ink with my eyes. Nom nom nom nom.

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    1. AHAHAHAHA! YES! I wonder... err... drooling? Maybe it *IS* wrist scratching? :D

      Agreed: I guess I expected more like THG, where more time is spent on the actual hunt, but I think it's going to be more drawn out... like, the WHOLE story will unfold over the course of the series, instead of episodic series entries (like THG?). I really thought it was well done... and it was all that insane BUILD to the actual hunt that made it so nail biting and tense and SJHSFAJLFHADLFHA!

      AGREED! Also: "Book two! Accio!! I want to suck your pages dry of their ink with my eyes. Nom nom nom nom." You may have made me laugh out loud... like... on the train :P

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  18. Oh, I've read so many great reviews of this book! I really must read it soon!!!

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    1. It was a fab book, Chrissie! Hope you like :)

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  19. Sounds really good, dark, and actiony! Plus vamp/zombies can't beat that :)

    Andrea

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    1. You know what? I'm gonna replace my review with that: "eally good, dark, and actiony! Plus vamp/zombies can't beat that :)"

      THIS! LOVE! ♥

      XD

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  20. Ummmm would you believe me if I said I haven't heard of this book before?!?!? Gosh I feel like such a loser!!! This sounds like an epic read!!! I am sooooo glad to hear you enjoyed it and the fact that you related it to the Hunger Games has definitely got me hooked! Can not wait to read this one! It sounds so...good! Great review :)

    SeeitORreadit

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    1. You know, I TOTALLY WOULD! A few people have said that! It seems strange, because it's been in my consiousness for so long, but NO! YOU'RE NOT A LOSER! It's funny how some can slip under our radar, huh? I so hope you like it! xx

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  21. Wow, this sounds like an amazing novel. I kept thinking of the hunger games the entire time I read your review too, so that's great you compared it to that. I love that it makes you think about the nature of being human and comparing that to the animal kingdom. Great review. Thanks for sharing.

    -lauren

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    1. Thanks Lauren! I really enjoyed it! It's dark and creepy, and... well, the blurb compares it to The Hunger Games, so I thought I'd jump onboard :P

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  22. If I haven't told you before (though I'm sure you know this already, Sarah), you are my idol. When you write reviews, especially when they get four- or five-star ratings from you, I want to drop everything (not including my laptop, since how would I get to read more of your reviews?) to read them. I'm not just flattering you, by the way; it's true. Have I told you that I bought Daughter of Smoke and Bone simply because of how much you love it? I hold you and your reviews in such high esteem because of your keen eye!

    The Hunt sounds fascinating. I love the ideas of Fukuda's People, and I'm amazed by how Gene's been able to keep his true nature a secret. I've written a character I consider very intricate, very subtle; to survive, she plays by the rules and persecutes her own kind, but by doing so, she puts herself in danger. Gene reminds me of her, except here, the stakes are much higher. Here, he could very well die at any moment.

    And you're right: How does one know if he or she is really human anymore? "Human" isn't merely a species or anything like that, but has to do with intellect, with laws, with morals. True, humans can be twisted, calculating, and sometimes hard to like and other times impossible to hate, but in the end the main thing is that they aren't perfect... and that, in this world, they're at "the top of the food chain", as vampires are in The Hunt. I guess this is the equivalent of reading a cow's biography (as funny as that might sound): What are humans like to those they have to eat? We seem multifaceted to each other, but to those who fear us and who would gladly run away from us, what are we?

    I'm totally getting this book because of your review, Sarah. Thank you so, so much. I hope we'll get to discuss it soonsoonsoon!

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  23. Wow this seems totally awesome, Sarah!! I saw it at the book store the other day and picked it up, so now it's lying on my desk, practically BEGGING me to read it (even though it knows that I am currently in the middle of City of Lost Souls) *sigh* But your review made me want to kind of trash CoLS and pick up The Hunt!! :) Awesome sauce stuff!! XD

    xx
    Riya

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  24. OMG!!! I TOTALLY WANT TO READ THIS BOOK RIGHT NOW!!!!!

    I HATE YOU (but not really) for writing up such awesome reviews and making me want to read, read, read!

    Your BFF,

    Kristin

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  25. So glad that you liked this book! I have been kind of up in the air on this one. On one hand it seemed good to me, but on the other hand I found it kind of easily forgotten in the midst of so many other titles coming out. I am glad to hear it’s one I shouldn’t pass up! Thanks for your excellent review!

    Darlene @ Leather Bound and Lovely

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  26. I've been hearing mixed reviews for this book. I'm glad you enjoyed it though. I don't know if i'll check it out right now, but i'll someday. Brilliant review, Sarah!

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  27. I've been hearing great things about this book, great things indeed. Nice review!

    ~Shane
    new follower

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  28. I don't think I've seen this cover before, but I like it. To tell you the truth, until I read your review, I was never really interested in this book, but I do love these explorations of humanity and Gene's challenges sound like something I would greatly enjoy.
    This is, hands down, the best review of this book I've read. Thanks!

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  29. Hm, I've heard mixed things about this book. It seems like a strange book but I absolutely loved reading this review. I really love the question of what makes us human (are we human or are we dancer? ha) so this book sounds very interesting in that aspect. Thanks for the lovely, insightful review as always! :)

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  30. Holy bleep of awesomeness, Sarah! This book has been getting so many mixed reviews that I bumped it back a few spots on my urgent TBR pile, but your review makes it sound absolutely amazing! I LOVE books that make us question things, and I LOVE books that make us question how humans can be any better than vampires because that's SO true. (Although these vampires DO kind of sound scary LOL!)

    AMAZING review, Sarah! Not that I'm surprised ;) <3

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    1. Oh, Mimi, I REALLY enjoyed it, but I can SO understand how it's not everyone's cup of tea. It was WAY more thinky than I expected, and I LOVED that... there's this really fascinating point with Gene... he behaves so inhumanly at times, and so selfishly, that yeah! AMAZING!

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  31. Oh dear! thnx for such wonderful review!! Im SO gonna add this one to my pile! the comparison to The Hunger Gams sounds terrific!! cant wait to get to it soon!!! =F amazing review m dear! like alwaysssss muah!!
    XOXOXO

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    1. Thank YOU, Natalia! It's a fab, dark, bizarre book! Hope you like it! xx

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  32. I officially nominate you to write ALL THE REVIEWS.

    This one sounds dark and creepy and raw but most of all, it sounds very, very thought-provoking. I LOVE those questions that you brought up. There's so much gray area and it's obviously something that would bring about a lot of controversy but I'm definitely excited to see how this novel addresses it!

    Plus, the whole thing with the games? I'm really curious as to how Gene manages to stay... well, alive. It must be hard enough in the outside world but surrounded by people craving human flesh and no resources to help him blend in? YIKES.

    Terrifyingly wonderful review as always, Sarah :)

    (BTW I (FINALLY) READ BLOODLINES AND OMG ADRIAN <3)

    Sonia

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    1. AJDFJAF! *HUGS* THANK YOU!
      Seriously, It was odd... you know how you just DEVOUR some books? This wasn't one of them... I struggled to find momentum when reading it, but I liked it SO much!

      Oh, watching Gene try to stay concealed is terrifying and nailbiting and BRILLIANT.

      Also: BLOODLINES! *FLAILS* I NEED TO READ O___O

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  33. ugh, Sarah. Your reviews absolutely kill me. I feel pathetic in comparison.

    Anyway...I never considered reading The Hunt before today. The way you've described it makes me think I might enjoy it. I'm glad you did.

    Great review!

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    1. DAFADHGDF! DON'T SAY THAT O___O

      Ugh, seriously, if it helps any, I feel precisely the same way about every one elses reviews! Every time I read something and think 'Why didn't I *think* of that? How did I not notice that theme? What was I *thinking*?'

      I really did enjoy it! It wasn't one of those compulsively readable 'more more more more MOOOOOOOOAR!' books, but it *was* brilliant!

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  34. Hmmmm....this sounds like one I would like to add to my reading pile. Or suggest for my book club monthly read!
    WANT!

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    1. Ooooh, Jenn, I *really* liked it... you know... I think you might like this. It has a slightly darker, edgier, mroe grown-up feel that might appeal to your tastes? I hope you like it if you do read it! xx

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  35. This book seemed really intriguing, but the word "heper" threw me off. O.o It reminded me of "leper" and "herpes", none of which are very appealing words... XD

    HOWEVER, this review kind of makes me want to check it out. :3 Thank you for sharing your thoughts! <3

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