RELEASE DATE: 10th May 2012
Against all odds, 17-year-old Gene has survived in a world where the general population has eaten humans to near extinction. 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 as suspicious about true nature grow . . .
The first thing I have to say about this book is that ending!!!!! Oh my god! That was just torture. There is going to be a second book right? There has to be. I didn't love this book, I didn't hate it either, but after that ending I am going to have to find out what happens to the characters. This is a really original story, not like anything that I have ever read before.
Gene is one of the few lottery winners that were randomly selected to participate in the hunt. But during the "training" process, the other hunters begin to become suspicious of Gene's true nature. So while trying to find a way to get out of being in the hunt, without raising any question, he must also try to hide who or rather what he really is.
At the beginning of the book Gene really annoyed me, he frequently thinks back to his father telling him 'Never forget who you are', but I really felt as though he had. He looks at hepers and thinks of them with slight disgust, when he is one of them. Still looks at them as stupid savages, when he should know full well that they are intelligent. I can kind of understand how he is like this, given the circumstances that he has had to live through, it would be hard not to lose yourself. I liked him a lot more when his true personality sort of broke through the facade that he had to put up for so long. I felt the same way about Ashley June, at the beginning we see her as snobby and controlling, and I didn't like it. But as you get to know her more you see that she isn't really like that.
I disliked the lack of background story to the world tat Gene lives in. I would have enjoyed a short history on how their world came to be run by vampires with no humans in sight. I know some people may have enjoyed the lack of boring description, but I personally felt a little lost without it. Although I am now going to hold out hope that if there is a sequel we will learn more in it. I also didn't particularly like how the vampires in this story were portrayed, that they actually eat human flesh, it was a little too freakishly cannibalistic for me. They were almost sort of like a completely different animal to humans, rather than really just being sort of evil super-humans, that's just how I see vampires though. So although I didn't personally like this interpretation, I do have an appreciation for people that put their own twists on things such as vampires.
I know there was quite a bit that I didn't like about the book, but it was really pretty good. I really liked the description of simple human actions like smiling, it really gives you the feel that they are pretty much in a different world. Also a little forewarning, there is a lot of talk of saliva and descriptions of the vampires turning to pus when they are in the sun, it is really gross. The description of the attack on the heper is not super graphic, but I would probably not recommend this book to fainthearted.
This was a really original story. Something that I have always wanted to see done, vampires taking everything over, and not like anything that I have ever read before. So I would definitely recommend checking it out.
Thank you to Simon & Schuster Australia for giving me the chance to win this book to review.
Jammie the Book Nerd