This book is the second book in the Hunt Trilogy, picking up immediately after the first book ends. Gene, Sissy, and the boys have just escaped from the bloodthirsty vampire-like people. They have discovered through clues that the man leading them to safety, referred to as the Scientist, is actually Gene’s father. They continue on their travels thinking that they’ve escaped from the creatures, making sure to keep careful track of every hint that the Scientist has left for them, including a cryptic one that simply says “Don’t let Gene die.” Eventually they discover a log cabin in the middle of the mountains, where they meet a girl named Clair. Clair asks them about some mysterious object called the Origin, then takes them to a place called the Mission, a commune of surviving humans who aren’t known to the vampiric creatures, making them safe. But this happy place, with its bountiful supply of food and drink, with all of its songs and its happy smiling girls, isn’t what it seems to be. Together, Gene and Sissy discover what’s really going on, where they really are, and what they must do next. They also discover the truth about this mysterious “Origin" and more about the Scientist.
One of the most important things that a book needs to do is to bring the reader into the story mentally and make them really care about what happens in it. This is especially important in a series as the book also has the job of getting the reader excited for the next book. This book most definitely does that, for me at least. The right word to describe this book is "intense!" I felt like I needed to rest after reading it and I became so invested in it. I felt legitimate fear for the characters as they continually faced certain death and became exhausted from their efforts. In this book we learn more about the bloodthirsty creatures, and also get a name for them: "duskers." The story of these creatures and their development over the years really intrigues me. Fukada leaves the reader wondering whether or not the story told about their origin is the truth in a plausible way, which I see as a good thing because it gets me hyped for the next book. The scene near the end, where Sissy is bitten by Ashley June, really got to me. For me it is probably the most intense moment in the book. Yet it also raises more questions, which I love. How did Ashley June get out of the chamber? How did she get bitten? How was she able to get away when surrounded by duskers to have enough time to transform? It also makes me love her character more, because she's so loyal and strong, but also has a soft side which she is able to transform into another strong point.
Another great thing about this book was that the danger in it seemed really threatening because it shows the victims of the danger. One of these victims was a character that the other characters had a strong relationship with. Too often I find books in which the danger the characters are in doesn’t seem real, because every character gets out just fine. When reading the ending to this book I became so excited my heart sped up. I also love that the book was not overly vulgar in any way when there were plenty of opportunities to be vulgar. It adds more emphasis on the importance of the story. A pet peeve of mine is that some teen books think they need to be overly vulgar or sexual in order to appeal to teens, which isn’t the case. It may be for some teens but not the kind you probably want your target audience to be. This book is not for the faint of heart. I would recommend it to fans of books such as The Hunger Games, or books which take place on a different version of earth. These types of books explore threats not experienced in our current world and are able to explore these threats in a convincing way so that we can understand what the situation feels like.