REVIEW by Ginny: The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa – Release Date 4/24/12 (@jkagawa , @ginnylurcock)
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 blurb does not do this book justice. I mean, a good hunk deals with Allie’s life as a human, and another hunk after that deals with her training with her maker after that. You’re 40% into the book before you even meet Zeke. That’s 40% of you thinking back to the blurb (because you obviously read the blurb as like 2 people in the world will read a book on blind faith) and realizing that the characters and plot points you’re reading about right now don’t really fucking matter. It leads to this weird sense of detachment from the story. Which I guess kind of works with the tone up until that point. Allie is a loner who cares about little beyond her own survival, leaving her kind of detached from the world around her.
Allie is a badass. She’s the kind of hard you only become from surviving in an impossible dystopian setting. The kind of tough you don’t just become overnight. Yes, once she’s vampified she does learn how to fight at an advanced rate, but she does practice for hours, and is being taught by a sadistic dick. You do witness her fail, though not often in the combat aspect of things, and her abilities are slightly signed off as being instinct, but this is so minor that by the time you meet Zeke and his merry band of nomads you’ve forgotten about it.
The vampires are appropriately monstrous. They’re vampires folks, not bunnies. They eat people. Not in the soylent green kind of way, either. Even after your main character becomes a vampire there is no real gentrification of the species. Sure, Allie doesn’t go around feeding indiscriminately, but she constantly struggles with the urge to, and there is the constant reminder thanks to heart beats and hunger that the humans around her could be her next meal.
The supporting characters are also compelling. You find yourself not wanting to get attached, especially in the beginning, but it’s hard to avoid. Even knowing that this is dystopian vampire fiction can’t stop the “please don’t let this character be the one to die…” chanting over and over in your head.
On the “cliffhanger”:
I don’t think the cliffhanger is really a cliffhanger. I mean she wrapped up the story of this book nicely and left open the “what happened with those hints and peaks” which is what you should be expecting from books that are written as part of a series. There are going to be loose ends. This was written by a talented established author, don’t worry, there will be more. Not only that, but if we had gotten the resolution to that plot point… well there wasn’t time to address it in this book. The book is already 500+ pages folks. In order to give this the treatment it deserved it would’ve added on at least another couple hundred, making it a length that many might avoid when picking up a new series.
5 stars. I tried to find faults looking back, because I worry I hand out stars like they’re candy, but I couldn’t. Vampires are monsters, the characters are believable, the situation is terrifying and moving, and I had issues putting it down. On top of all of that, the book is deep to a level you don’t always find these days. Especially in teenage vampire novels. I could spend hours discussing it’s hidden metaphors and how Allie’s pre transformation life and struggles with hunger mirrored her post transformation life and need to not become a monster. She was used to fighting the demon that was hunger.
I just wish I could discuss it with Ms. Kagawa personally *hint hint*, since talking Ruby with Ms. Nautsch and Leo with Ms. Saunders is like, the most fun I can have as a reader and would be author.
Oh, and back to the blurb for just a second… This is the blurb I would’ve given it:
60 years ago the Red Lung came, wiping out most of the human race. With it came the rabbids, who did their best to wipe out the rest of us. The old timers, who were alive back in the time before, tell of a world where humans weren’t used as a source of food for our vampire overlords. Here in the Fringe, that seems like impossibility as we struggle to get enough food to stop the desperate pangs of hunger and avoid starvation for another day. Life is hard in the Fringe, but does that mean that when death comes calling I’ll go into her arms willingly, or will I do anything whatever it takes to live? What kind of monster am I willing to become to survive?
Or something like that…