April 19, 2012

Review: The Immortal Rules, by Julie Kagawa

Author: Julie Kagawa
Title: The Immortal Rules
Series: Blood of Eden (#1)
ISBN: 9780373210510
Publisher: Harlequin Teen (April 24th 2012)
Disclaimer: Copy received for review purposes.

Buy your copy: Kindle (upcoming) | Hardcover

My rating: 4 of 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."
GoodReads’ blurb

So, you know I love vampires. I also love zombie apocalypses, even though I don’t read enough books on the topic. The Immortal Rules was an exciting mixture of the two, and I really loved it!

I have to admit that at first, I read the word “distopia” and got worried. I’ve said before that I don’t particularly enjoy the genre. However, I shouldn’t have worried – because there was that whole zombie thing that I wasn’t expecting. Okay, it’s not zombies strictly speaking. They’re rabids, a kind of maddened vampires that loom outside the huge vampire cities and attack anything they can get their hands on—which makes them sound a lot like good old zombies in my book.

Anyway! Moving on. The book was structured in several parts, and some struck me as more meaningful than others. For example, the first part, “human”, felt like it just lead up to the conversion part. Of course, that’s not true. If you pay attention to page numbers, everything’s quite evened out and well balanced. It was just how I felt while reading it: the tension, the building anticipation, the knowing that it was going to happen but not knowing how or when... It was a good part (and a part that served to understand Allie, and who she becomes later on) but my favorite part by far was number two, “vampire”.

What can I say? I love Kanin. As in, major book crush. Are we going to see more from him Julie? Please, tell us we will! (Please, tell us that there’s a love triangle somewhere in the future...) But this was also where most of the worldbuilding took place. I’m not talking about the ambiance – that’s been settled before. I’m talking about how the world came to center around vampire cities, where the rabids come from, what can a vampire do, what can be the best future possible, and also what’s the bleakest outcome the world’s going to face.

But alas, as all good things, part two came to an end. The third part, “monster”, is long. I understand that this is the part where the book drags more. If I have to be honest, I read through it fairly quickly... and I liked it. It’s the break from humanity. Finally, Allie accepts what she is. There’s a lot of wandering involved, but, well, she has just been uprooted and she has nowhere to go, no goals, no aims, no purpose... just survival. It’s... primal, and lonely, until she finds a group of humans to wander with. Some of those humans are pretty cute –Caleb, a child, for example-; others, I wish she had taken action against. The highlight, though, is the appearance of Zeke: a light in a time of darkness. He’s got the goodness to genuinely care, to put others before himself even in the broken world full of vampires and rabids. He’s got the charisma of a leader, and the gentleness to make him a good one. And he loves Allie. That was something I didn’t quite understand, not at first. Later – yeah, sure, she gives him definite reason. But, at this point, his attraction felt a bit forced. It didn’t click for me.

Then again, that might be because paragons of good tend to seem fishy to me, and I have trouble sympathizing with them.

Anyway! Moving on! We have another part, “wanderer” (and no, I don’t know why it’s called like that since in this part she does have a goal and a purpose). This was were Allie not only accepts what she is, but makes amends with herself as well. She understands that the game has changed, but that she’s still in control. And then, the action hits. I won’t lie—some things were awfully convenient. But some more light was shed about the possible future in the wrecked world, and some interesting enemies made a grand entrance, and some old friends (and foes) visited back. By the time the book ends, Allie knows what she needs to do, and we can only hope that things will work out with the humans she has travelled with and helped during the whole novel.

All in all, The Immortal Rules was highly entertaining, and it presented some very interesting insights into the evolution of Allie as a character. Julie Kagawa really knows how to write her characters, I think. The depth of the worldbuilding was satisfying, even though there were some traps, classic zombie novel traps, where this book still falls: why is gasoline found so conveniently? Where do they get their water? At the very end, where’s all that power (and gun-power) coming from? But it’s cool, those are just the kind of small details that I might notice. The only thing not working clearly for me was the romance. I could see Allie’s passion to keep the purest thing she’s ever found alive, and to be close to her; I can understand Zeke’s attraction to a girl his age, the first one he’s seen who’s new to him. And, later, I can see why he’d fall for her, after everything she does... But the beginnings were a bit obscure, and that made the whole thing feel a bit shaky. Perhaps it’s just the kind of thing that’d work better in a platonic way...

Or perhaps I’m just a Kanin girl, who knows?

The truth is that The Immortal Rules is yet another well-written novel I’d recommend.


  1. Hahaha - it's small details like that that drive me crazy. I'm reading this soon, so I'm sure I'll notice it even more. lol

    1. Ooh... Can't wait to see your thoughts on this one then, Christy! I hope you enjoy it and don't get too annoyed, though. :D

  2. Haha, you know I had a major crush on Kanin too. (Why did I put that in past tense anyway? I HAVE a major crush on Kanin). In a perfect second book, Allie would save him, they'd fall madly in love and he'd end up eating Zeke for breakfast... or dinner, whatever. :D
    And I totally agree with you about Zeke after he found out Allie was a vampire. It just didn't feel right, I guess I didn't believe him. I attributed it to lack of chemistry between them, but that wasn't it at all. I felt that he was lying and using her, even though I know he wasn't.
    Wonderful review, Ron.

    1. I think the past tense crept out from our (mutual) lack of hope about a Kanin-filled future for Allie lol

      That said, I think we should lobby so that second book happens just as you just described!

  3. I am even more excited about starting this now! I am very much looking forward to meeting Kanin (like I need more book BF's). And I love good worldbuilding. Thanks for the great review:)

    1. *laughs* Yay! I hope you'll enjoy this one, Rebecca! That said... you should probably try to prefer Zeke. I foresee a happier future in your book-life if you do...

      But! Nor liking Kanin is just not possible! You'll see when you get to it! :)

  4. eep.Glad you enjoyed this book Ron, I loved this series and the fact that its going to be in a movie is making me sooo desperate for more of this series. Great review Ron x <3


    1. Oooh yeah, the movie news was great! To be honest, after seeing the trailer, I'm quite worried about who they might cast! But I'm looking forward to it anyway :)

      Thanks for stopping by!

  5. You know, I've heard a lot of good things about this book, and have seen it on several blogs. Although I'm not a big fan of that cover, the book does sound terrific! I'm very intrigued! And...I must confess I want to find out who this Kanin guy is, and why you like him so much. Sounds like he's super duper hot! Thanks for your terrific review!!

    1. I don't like the cover/trailer either. Mostly because in the text, it says clearly that Allison is half-japanese (hello, Sekemoto?) and she doesn't look like it.

      Also, I think you'd really like this book. It handles themes such as redemption and religion, which is quite daring in today's YA world... but I believe you'd prefer Zeke over Kanin. MMmh... Can't wait to see what you think, if you decide to read it!