April 24, 2012; HarlequinTEEN
*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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.(courtesy of Goodreads)
Another winner by Julie Kagawa! I feel fortunate to have followed Julie Kagawa from the very beginning. It's fun to watch an author grow before your eyes. I've liked every one of Julie's books more than the previous one. And The Immortal Rules definitely falls into that camp. I think I will like the series even more than Iron Fey.
I love vampires. They are by far my favorite paranormal creature. This certainly influences my feelings toward The Immortal Rules. Julie's vampires are my favorite kind: dark and violent. Even better, we learn about them from the viewpoint of a newly minted vampire. Allison starts out the story as a human, giving us the a strong impression of the dim lives available to humans under vampire rule. Allison's life is particularly harsh because she is unregistered - a human who gives no blood, but gets no food or shelter in return. When she becomes a vampire, her world becomes even more difficult, because she remains an outsider, definitely to humans but even to other vampires. It's a lonely life.
Allison is a controversial character. Some readers love her, others can't stand her. I adored her. Allie is a survivor. That single word provides the reason for so many of her actions. Allie is not always likable. She says and does things that can be harsh and hard to relate to from the viewpoint of a reader who is well-fed and sitting in a comfortable home. Allie takes chances that seem incredibly risky and stupid. And they are. But it's amazing what near starvation can do to you. Interestingly, not all of Allison's actions are motivated by survival. Some of the dumbest things she does come out of loneliness or affection. She cares about other people so much that she is blind to the fact that they might not reciprocate. I love Allie in spite of, or perhaps because of, her mistakes. She's strong, independent, passionate, smart, brave, and resourceful, but definitely not perfect.
My favorite part of The Immortal Rules was Alli's vampire training with Kanin. Forget the plot. I soaked up the vampire world building. How they fed, their political history, their fight training, their "castes." Kanin was by far my favorite character. A complex man/vampire who holds his emotions close. Since he turned Allie, he took responsibility for showing her the proper vampire way of life. His teaching style was often more stick than carrot. Definitely no sugar coating. But you could tell that he respected and liked Allie. I'd wondered if this would turn into a romance, but it didn't. More of a father/daughter relationship. I hope it will stay that way.
The romance was the weakest part of The Immortal Rules. During the third part of the novel, Allie is traveling with a rogue band of humans who are on a wild goose chase for a vampire free land called Eden. Romance comes calling in the form of a handsome boy named Zeke. I liked Zeke. Like Allie, he was brave, passionate, and smart. A born leader. He was strong, but not quite as strong (mentally and physically) as she was, which was fun to read about. The problem is that I didn't "love" Zeke. I enjoyed reading about Allie's attempts to hide her vampiric status and the various dangers and adventures she encountered with the rogue humans. And I liked seeing her with Zeke. But it didn't make me insides quiver. I'm hoping future installments will deepen my connection to Zeke.
The Immortal Rules is a must read. The romance is somewhat disappointing, but the plot is fabulous. Julie does a great job of creating a detailed, believable dystopian vampire world. Allie is a flawed character, but is described so well that you understand her personality and root for her. I highly recommend this book!
*My only other complaint is that Allison's name is spelled wrong. :-)
Rating: 4.5 / 5 (4 might be more appropriate because of the weak romance but Allie, the vampires, and the awesome plot keep it at 4.5)
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