... a post-apocalyptic horror novel telling a new tale, from a new voice, in a familiar setting, for a spot on the shelf next to the classics ... Felker-Martin gives everyone a voice and an experience. This does make the scope of Manhunt feel a bit daunting in size with its huge cast of characters to keep track of, but that’s something many readers come prepared to do for this genre given all the door-stopper, epic novels that have come before ... The most difficult thing about investing in the characters of Manhunt is all the fucking emotional wreckage. These are not two-dimensional, cardboard cutouts of fictional people running around playing apocalyptic warfare, these are complex, flesh and blood individuals with strong, dynamic character traits, big personalities, and raw emotions. They run full-on into one another with all their psychological trauma and form these complicated relationships based on attraction, survival, and need. It is unabashedly queer, explicit, greasy, violent, and sensual. *flailing hands and gesturing* all of these things, all at the same time ... It’s tough to go through some of the things these characters end up doing to one another but there are some shining moments of feel-good hope and humanity, softened by humor; sprinkled with sarcasm. It’s a lot of fun and it’s also very dark ... Gretchen Felker-Martin clearly has a lot to say. There seems to be a countless cast of colorful characters just waiting to make their mark on our horror-fiction-loving hearts with more strange and wonderful stories to tell ... This is a debut that literally throws open the door and announces its arrival by making sure the room knows its intentions to stay. Manhunt is what the future of this genre looks like. Take note.
... masterful ... an incredible book. I haven’t read a book this close to the bone in a long time. It’s an edge-of-your-seat, gripping account of a world overrun by TERFs as they seek to eradicate trans women ... The novel is told in many strands, often producing a whiplash pacing that works best during battle ... As grim as it sounds, it’s an incredibly acerbic and witty read, going down with equal parts tenderness and brutality ... tackles difficult subjects with vision ... The interplay of cis power and trans vulnerability is never drawn in stark shades, instead both are capable of great harm and subversive acts of kindness.
In style, inventiveness, and ambition, Felker-Martin’s book is miles beyond the other recent entries in this genre, which sleepwalk through the logistical implications of male absence without much inquiry into the ways that life in the 'regular' world might deliver us to a 'men gone' world with particular gender-related baggage to be interestingly, and movingly, unpacked. Felker-Martin’s book does that.
... electric ... a fresh, stomach-turning take on gendered apocalypse ... To be upfront, Manhunt is not for everyone. It is gory, and brutal, and sickened me more than any other horror novel I've read in recent memory. I am sure it will challenge many trans readers (like myself) as much as it will challenge cis readers. I mean all this as a sincere compliment to Felker-Martin's work ... Felker-Martin constructs the monsters of the novel beautifully ... paragon of body horror, and its numerous sex scenes are no exception. The prose is simultaneously erotic and gruesome. Felker-Martin writes into dissociation and the dysphoric insecurities of her characters ... While everything is heightened within the apocalyptic setting, enforcing gender kills people, That's true today; Manhunt just takes it to an extreme ... Even in places where it stretched the imagination, the book was grounded in the bodies of Felker-Martin's protagonists and in the logistics of their survival. Disgustingly rendered and brilliantly imagined, Manhunt was gripping as much as it was repulsive. It's rare to read a horror novel that truly tests my limits in a (mostly) pleasurable way — and Manhunt delivers. It's a challenge, and one I hope more readers take.
Felker-Martin highlights the people that gender-based dystopias generally gloss over ... explicitly depicts harrowing scenes of rape and bodily harm, but it is also at times incredibly tender ... Original and unabashed, Manhunt is unafraid to be messy as it cultivates a flawed and intriguing cast of characters, centering voices that have been previously unheard in dystopian fiction.
When I heard the premise of Manhunt, I thought, a gender apocalypse horror novel from a trans perspective? Yes, please, and thank you. Gretchen Felker-Martin builds onto the premise a hilariously spiteful reversal of the implicit cultural belief that 'testosterone over a certain arbitrary level turns you into a slavering animal driven only to rape and eat raw meat' ... Manhunt is a brilliant, vicious piece of horror fiction, and reading it felt like laying open an infected wound to drain then doing a gauze-pack: unhealed but less agonizing, maybe cleaner and clearer. Necessary ... I say it as a trans reader who grappled with the livid, pulsing fear of the book… as well as its honest, unflinching, and occasionally intra-community social critique ... the book is big-time body horror. Where the genre often presents disability, fatness, transness, and/or queerness as the fearful thing, however, Felker-Martin instead writes body horror informed by life in these marginalized categories ... Manhunt grapples frankly with sexuality and sexual trauma: rape, coercion, violation of consent, and generally fucking for a whole host of reasons other than desire all happen on the page ... The ending of the novel is a rough read, but where the audience lands is a space of quiet. There’s a possible future to be fought for while maintaining a community of support.
Felker-Martin’s latest novel serves as a corrective to the various gender-based plague dystopias that never take into account the existence of trans people ... Felker-Martin’s self-described filthcore prose easily conjures the grotesque horrors both internal and external that these beleaguered trans survivors pass through on their desperate search for some brief moment of security. Highly recommended for those looking for particularly upsetting or disturbing horror fiction.
... compelling, fast-paced, and tense ... The original frame, a testosterone-driven plague, opens the door for Felker-Martin to probe the popular zombie trope while simultaneously centering the experience of trans men and women. The result is a sensual, tender, honest, and inspirational story of imperfect but well-meaning people banding together in an attempt to not only survive but thrive ... This novel confidently plants a flag declaring its place among the greatest band-of-survivor zombie tales
... daring ... Felker-Martin’s horror chops are top-notch, with gut-churning prose zoomed in on the strangeness of human bodies and on the characters’ squeamish relationships with the physical realm, and her exploration of mental illness, trauma, and dysphoria excellently complement the grimy atmosphere. The plot, however, doesn’t quite coalesce, with much of the narrative feeling like a series of vignettes lashed together, and it can be frustrating to process all the small-scale emotional beats without the clear vision of where the story might be heading. Still, this swings for the fences admirably. Fans of Poppy Z. Brite and Clive Barker should give this, well, ballsy postapocalyptic tale a shot.