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The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda

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SYNOPSIS

Against all odds, 17-year-old Gene has survived in a world where humans have been eaten to near extinction by the general population. 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.

REVIEW

For once things are different - in The Hunt, humans are now known as hepers are close to extinction and are hunted down or bred as food. And the others, the ones who dominate the world, are those nocturnal human-like cannibals who somehow exhibit vampiric features. It's certainly a fresh twist, and a horrific, heart-gripping one at that.

Blending in with the predators has been how Gene kept himself alive for the past 17 years. He still remembers the warning his father gave him: don't exhibit any facial expressions, use some special formula to cover your body odour, and whatever you do, don't stand out of the crowd. 

A fellow predator girl with flaming red hair - Ashley June, caught his eyes. He controls himself, though. Distances himself from her. No good can come if your girlfriend eats you up for breakfast, right? But there's more to Ashley June than meets the eye.

When both are selected for the Heper Hunt, Gene must overcome all odds to stay alive. And that proves to be a more challenging task than he ever thought.

This pacing of this novel is quite good, given that most of the events are focused on the days before the Heper Hunt. I really appreciate the author's unique storytelling that keeps me seated until I finally finished the story. 

Somehow I loved this novel. Though some parts of it are illogical, put in mind that this is a fantasy young adult novel, so do not expect everything to be explained rationally. Nonetheless, I hope the author will give a layout of the history/background of how the cannibals came to be in the next two books. 

Fans of The Hunger Games and Divergent will most likely to enjoy this novel.

RATING 5 

The Thief by Fuminori Nakamura

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SYNOPSIS
The Thief is a seasoned pickpocket. Anonymous in his tailored suit, he weaves in and out of Tokyo crowds, stealing wallets from strangers so smoothly sometimes he doesn’t even remember the snatch. Most people are just a blur to him, nameless faces from whom he chooses his victims. He has no family, no friends, no connections. But he does have a past, which finally catches up with him. And now the Thief is caught in a tangle even he might not be able to escape.

REVIEW
Despite being such a short novel, The Thief is fast-paced and entirely engrossing. It chronicles the life of an experienced pick-pocket, who got caught in a web of events which are much bigger than what he expected. 

Nishimura is a loner, he has no family, no friends and no connections. Being a thief, it's the best for him that way. However, when he accepted a task of robbing a political figure, his life started to change. He also grew a friendly relationship with a little boy who steals food supplies for his prostitute mother. When his past comes back to haunt him, he has no choice but to accept new tasks, or risks the little boy and his mother being killed, and also his own life.

I read this novel with a kind of intensity I do not experience often. It was so captivating that I couldn't put it down. The chapters were short and sweet, but there's always something up. The only thing I had against was the ending. It leaves the story unresolved. It's like a cliffhanger, but it isn't cos this is a stand-alone novel. I really want to know what's gonna happen next! I'm so flabbergasted when I realize that's where it ends. 

RATING
4.000

Beautiful Malice by Rebecca James

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Beautiful Malice

SYNOPSIS
Katherine has moved away from her shattered family to start afresh in Sydney. There she keeps her head down until she is befriended by the charismatic, party-loving Alice, who brings her out of her shell. But there is a dark side to Alice, something seductive yet threatening. And as Katherine learns the truth about Alice, their tangled destinies spiral to an explosive and devastating finale. 


REVIEW

If anything, this is not a lighthearted read. It is 1 cup of darkness, 2 cups of psychological thriller and 1 cup of twisted - which makes up to a 4 star Beautiful Malice.


Katherine moved away from home to live with Aunt Vivien, changing her name from the original Katie Boydell in order to escape the tragic history that broke her family apart. She is constantly consumed by grief, guilt, regret and self-blame. She closes herself up and becomes a quiet girl in the new school, until she meets Alice. Wild, fun and charming, Alice quickly becomes Katherine's best friend. But underneath her seductive charm, there seems to be another side to Alice, which makes her unbelievably cruel and uncaring towards others. Katherine dismisses these as bad hair days, but she slowly realizes that Alice is not who she thinks is.

Katherine is someone we can sympathize with - she is not without blame, for it was she who indirectly caused the tragedy. But we cannot exactly put the blame on her because it was not her doing in the first place. She merely did what a normal person would do - running away, although it was a cowardly thing to do. But even if she didn't, it wouldn't have changed much.

Alice is one really messed up character. She is someone devoid of love, she is cruel and plays others' around her fingertips. A real psycho, if you ask me. But again it's not entirely her fault she's like this. Rebecca James is a master at creating characters that we hate but sympathize with at the same time, it seems. 

Beautiful Malice is pretty good for a debut novel, and fans of Shift would find this book interesting.

RATING: 4.000