Review: The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

Posted May 13th, 2012 in book review / Leave a comment

The Immortal Rules

Book #1 of Blood of Eden Series

by Julie Kagawa

Publisher: Harlequin Teen (April 2012)
Genre: YA, Dystopia, Post-Apocalyptic, Paranormal
Format: eARC (504 pages)
Source: NetGalley
Purchase: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository
Rating: ★★★★½ (4.5 stars)

In a future world, Vampires reign. Humans are blood cattle. And one girl will search for the key to save humanity.

Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten.

Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them. The vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself is attacked—and given the ultimate choice. Die… or become one of the monsters.

Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most. To survive, she must learn the rules of being immortal, including the most important: go long enough without human blood, and you will go mad.

Then Allie is forced to flee into the unknown, outside her city walls. There she joins a ragged band of humans who are seeking a legend—a possible cure to the disease that killed off most of humankind and created the rabids, the mindless creatures who threaten humans and vampires alike.

But it isn’t easy to pass for human. Especially not around Zeke, who might see past the monster inside her. And Allie soon must decide what—and who—is worth dying for.

The Good
How to be a Vampire…
This is a story about one girl’s journey after her world is turned upside down. Her life as a scavenger, to her life as a vampire in training, to her life as a wandering vampire who hides amongst a group of humans, hoping, maybe, to be a part of the human world once again. Instead, she finds peace with what she is, monster and all.

Life’s a Bitch, Then You Die…
Allie hates vampires. They have turned the world into a place of fear and despair. Unless you willingly donate your blood to the blood suckers, you are stuck in the Fringe. A place where you live on the streets and scavenge for food just to stay alive. Not really a life at all. But then Allie is attacked by rabids (crazed, mindless vampires) and the vampire Kanin gives her a choice: Die or become what she hates the most. Survival mode kicks in and Allie chooses a life as a vampire. But while Kanin is teaching Allie how to be a vampire–how to feed, fight, and survive–Kanin’s past comes back to bite them both on the butt. Now Allie is on her own, traveling the deserted roads outside the city walls. When she comes upon a group of humans searching for a place that is void of vampires and their disease, she decides to tag along, in disguise as a human. And that’s when things truly start going downhill.

A New Kind of Monster…
Though Allie’s life as a human at the beginning of the book wasn’t the most interesting way to start off the story, I was pulled into Kagawa’s world very easily once Allie became a vampire. At first, I got a whole Daybreakers feel. Though The Immortal Rules idea was very similar to the Daybreakers movie, the more I read, the more I realized that this book was actually very unique for its genre. This wasn’t another YA vampire book. The focus wasn’t the world Kagawa created or the bad guys within it, this was a story about Allie’s internal and physical struggle with what she has become. Accepting that she is a monster, but embracing the kind of monster she chooses to be. One that still cares for human life while finding peace with the idea that humans are also her food. She may be a monster, people may fear her, but Allie finds that vampirism actually makes her more human than she was to begin with. She has always been strong, brave, and tough as nails. But Allie’s new life has put things into perspective. Now she has the understanding how precious life is, even if it’s an undead one. Adding in her new strength and fighting skills, Allie can do almost anything she wants, and she chooses to help others, to fight, and to live.

I think each and every character in this book was integral in making this novel so dynamic. The characterization was amazing. The badies were very bad and the goodies were good. But even the good people were confused or a little misguided on what good really is. Zeke was probably the second most important character. His relationship with Allie goes through so many ups and downs, especially since Allie is parading as a human. But eventually her vampiric tendencies start to show. Zeke has been taught that every vampire is a demon who will kill you without thought. Normally, very true, but we know Allie is not that way…Zeke doesn’t. So as you can imagine, that whole situation was fascinating to observe.

The Narrative…
I liked the distinct separation of Allie’s ever-changing path. How she went through huge changes in such short amounts of time, and how this confusing journey affects who she is and who she becomes. If it wasn’t for Kagawa’s awesome ability at narrative, I don’t think The Immortal Rules would have worked, especially since the goals within the plot were pretty nonexistent most of the time. Kagawa also knows how to write kick-ass fighting scenes. The action was so intense that it gave me the chills. The horror, suspense, and character maturity was well above young adult levels, which I think was a great decision on Kagawa’s part. This book will appeal to both young adults and adults. It has the essence of both.

The mystery was very well done. I never guessed the shocking secrets Kagawa revealed throughout the novel. It’s rare that a book can surprise me but The Immortal Rules did. I read this book with a constant sense of excitement. Excitement for Allie’s growth, for the amazing fight scenes, for the smidgen of romance, and for the possibilities of book #2–which this book sets up nicely at the end. I wasn’t expecting the dark, gritty, and emotional story that I got. Boy, do I like being surprised. 🙂

The Bad
The plot and storyline was very vague. There was never any goal Allie was working towards, until the end. I just couldn’t grasp the direction of this book. Allie pretty much wanders aimlessly for much of the book.

I found the beginning to be boring. There was a lot of background and description that was dumped on us from the get-go and I really just wanted to skip it.

Kagawa wasn’t very aware of her character’s surroundings when writing. For example, Allie would be covered in dirt and blood, and her cloths would be shredded but when she is trying to blend in, no one seems to notice her state of disarray.

The Snuggly
There is definitely a budding romance in the making, but don’t expect a lot of romance in this book. Allie and Zeke are kind of a couple destined to fail, but I would love for them to make it. This is a clean book when it comes to romance.

Maybe the plot was a bit vague, but I can’t deny that this book pulled me in and never let go. I was expecting another YA vampire story. I got so much more. I was actually going to give this 4 stars but while I was writing this review, I realized that the more time that went by, the more I loved The Immortal Rules. I think the writer in me kept yelling at me, saying the technical parts of this book weren’t so great. It doesn’t follow the rules. Screw the rules! Kagawa’s storytelling abilities are just too amazing to discount. A highly recommended read.

“If you run, you’ll be dead before you take three steps.”

I stopped, heart pounding. I believed him. Gripping my knife, I turned around, staring at him over the bodies of the dead, waiting for his next move.

There was no doubt in my mind. I knew what I faced, what stared at me across the tunnel, so still he might’ve been a statue. I was down here, alone, with a vampire. And there was no one who could help me.

I swung the light around, taking a breath to shout a warning to the others.

Something pale and terrible rose from the grass behind Rat, all limbs and claws and shining teeth. Before he knew what was happening, it yanked him off his feet. I didn’t even have time to shout before he vanished into the weeds and darkness with a yelp.

Then he began to scream.

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