Friday, June 21, 2013

Hunt and the Hunted

These were the last two books I had read for the Spring Into Reading Challenge.  I had not had a chance to write and post their reviews until today.  I have to say that this was definitely the way to end the challenge.

The Hunt – Andrew Fukuda
Pages: 293
Source:Review copy in exchange for my honest review of the book
Genre:  Young Adult Fantasy

If you like vampire stories then sit back and enjoy this one.  This is not your “Dracula” or “Twilight” vampire story.  No this one is full of descriptive gore.  Imagine living in a society where you are human and must pretend that you are a vampire just to survive.  That is exactly what Gene does.  He’s been trained well to blend in.  He must shave his body every day and make sure he has absolutely no human odor.  He polish his fake fangs.  The problem I saw was that Gene has lived among them for so long that when they talk of humans, called hepers, he has trouble understanding a heper’s point of view, even though he is one. Ashley June is a girl at his school.  She is quick  thinking and definitely has a thing for Gene.  He feels the same way but was always taught to show no emotion.

Ten years have passed since “The Ruler” has had a heper hunt.  He has just announced they have enough humans for a heper hunt and that seven  people will be chosen by lottery to participate.  Gene is one of those unlucky ones.  Now he is to be locked up with the other winners to train for this hunt, along with Ashley June.  He keeps referring to the humans as hepers and the vampires as the people.
One of my favorite parts of the training was when the Director was giving a lecture about hepers .  She droned on about things like the reason hepers sing is because they had a mistaken belief that it helped their food grow.  It showed a weakness on the part of the vampires.  Gene chalks it up to the fact that hepers have become almost extinct so the only thing the vampires can do is speculate.  He makes a comparison to vampires becoming extinct and humans making assumptions such as vampires sleeping in coffins instead of hanging from ceilings in footholds, they would have no reflections, and even made a comment about heper-people romances.  The author’s allusion to “The Twilight Series” and “Dracula” stories made me laugh.
But Gene has another problem. He is a heper, he has met the hepers in the dome and he knows what is to become of them.  Should he share that knowledge or should he continue to play the role of a vampire to save himself?  Lots of twists and turns in this book.  There are a couple of surprises as well.  This was probably one of the best vampire books I’ve read and I can’t wait to read the sequel “The Prey”.  Move over “Hunger Games”.  For those who love dystopian fiction, and vampires, this is the best of both worlds.

Children of the Fog – Cheryl Kaye Tardif
Pages: 278
Source:  purchased
Genre:  Adult Mystery, Thriller

I was captured by the prologue of this book.  I entered to win a copy and did not win, so I purchased it.  From the moment you read the prologue where you find Sadie, an alcoholic determined to commit suicide to the moment she sees the faces of children out side her window as she places the gun to her head, you are caught.  Why does she want to kill herself? What happened to her son? Who are the children outside the window and what do they want?  These were the questions that popped into my head as I began the journey of reading a book that I KNOW I will re-read several more times. 

We find out that Sadie is an author and is currently writing and illustrating a story about bats for her son.  Her illustrative abilities will help and hurt her situation when the notorious “Fog” kidnaps her son in his own bedroom.  She hears a noise and goes to check on him only to catch him in the act. No one has ever seen his face until Sadie.  He gives her a choice, let him leave with her son and he lives or he will kill him right there in front of her.  I kept thinking what I as a mother would do.  One part of me kept thinking I’d rather he kill him so that I knew it would be quick and over because if he took him I had no idea what type of torture he would go through.  The other side of me said, let him  go because I would not want to witness my  child’s murder.  Sadie does just that, lets him go. She is warned she will never see her son again if any details about what he looks like gets out. 
We go from this situation to her husband coming in late.  Right away we know there is a big rift in their marriage.  That helps ramp  up the tension.  When he finds a sketch she has made of the kidnapper, we know from his personality that things have gone from bad to worse.  Throw in the legal troubles he is having and that would be enough for anyone to want to throw in the towel.  Sadie decides to go off into the woods, rent a cabin, get her affairs in order and then take her life.  However, she is getting nightly visits from children who keep telling her they need her help.
There were so many eloquently executed twists and turns in this story. I kept flying through the pages to find out what happened next.  I was frustrated when my husband woke up and told me I had to put the book down because I only had two hours until I had to get ready to go to work. I solved that problem though.  I assigned a silent reading day in class so I could finish the book.  I guess I got pretty involved because I looked up and my students were watching me.  I was making noises as I read the book.  They figured it must be really good if I was “that into it”.  I told them it was and that if I could find a middle grade/young adult book that was as suspenseful, I’d have several copies on my shelves.  This is a definite must read for anyone who loves mysteries, suspense, a good thriller.  This is definitely a great author, one whose works I will continue to read.  I love it when I can find a new author.

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