Review: The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

The Immortal Rules
by Julie Kagawa

ISBN-13: 9-780373-210510
Publication: April 2012 from Harlequin Teen
Rating: 5 ♥ / 5 ♥ – I loved it!

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.

First and foremost, thank you Julie Kagawa for the vampires in The Immortal Rules. She has put her own twist on the vampire legends while still keeping them fairly traditional – no sunlight, the hunger for blood, fast and strong. Just the way I like my vamps.

Allison lives in a post-plague world, where the vampires have risen up to rule over walled cities and outside the walls the world is mostly a ruin. As an un-marked human, Allison lives on the outskirts of her city, struggling to eat and survive – until one night, she doesn’t. Needing to make a choice between death or becoming a vampire, Allison chooses to live (or un-live, I guess). This decision leads to more changes in her life than just becoming a vampire. Allison leaves her city and is swept up into a search for Eden and family problems she didn’t know she had.

Allison is awesome. She’s strong in so many ways, and yet still impulsive and petulant like any teenager. She doesn’t always make the right decisions, but she works to correct it and better herself. Allison knows she’s technically a monster, but tries so hard to still seem human and even find a balance between who she was, and who she is. She knows humans are food to her now, but it doesn’t stop her from falling for Zeke, a human in the group she comes across once outside the wall. Honestly, I don’t blame her for falling for Zeke. He’s kind, a natural leader and always tries to do the best for the group. He’s got a bit of a problem with following the groups leader, Jeb, a bit blindly, but he manages to overcome some of that. And as we find out more about Jeb and his mission to find Eden, and how he’s raised Zeke, I don’t blame Zeke for wearing blinders sometimes. And I can’t not mention Kanin, Allison’s maker. So studious, full of a need to repent and he cares for Allison in his own brash and tough kind of way. He’s very aloof, but decent.

There’s a religious background to Zeke’s group that I found was very well managed. It’s a part of the plot without being overpowering for those readers who are not particularly religious (like myself), but is present enough so that we can understand the impact that religion holds for Jeb, Zeke and the group searching for Eden. Julie Kagawa’s writing in The Immortal Rules is very gritty, and she holds nothing back. Death, gangs, gladiator-style games, the ruin that the plague has left on the world…it is all present and accounted for and not sugar-coated. The voice in which this story is told is wonderful, and is bolstered by the worldbuilding and mythology that went into the story. It’s easy to see yourself with Allison in her world, and it’s kind of depressing, though always with that edge of hope I so love to see in post-apocalyptic and dystopian books.

Despite the grit, suspense and intensity of The Immortal Rules there are moments of pure awesome that liven up the atmosphere. There’s a small poke at the myth of vampires being able to turn into bats, Allison wonders why she’ll ever need long division (even in a vampire led post-apocalyptic world math is still an annoyance), and there’s a great moment where Kanin makes a comment about a lumberjack and Allison just replies “I don’t know what a lumberjack is.” (Page 138, ARC) You’ll find the whole range of emotion and tension in The Immortal Rules and if you’re anything like me, it will keep you up reading all night because you just have to know what comes next – and that never ends, so you end up reading right through the book. Also guys, for a bit of the beginning I thought I was getting not just vampires but zombies, too. And that would have been all kinds of amazing. But no! Not quite. It’s even more awesome, and I’m not going to say anything more because it will ruin it, but ah. So good. The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa is definitely a must-read for any vampire or paranormal fans.

e-ARC received from Harlequin Teen through Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. Thank you!

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