Series: Blood of Eden #1
Author: Julie Kagawa
Release Date: April 24, 2012
Synopsis: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.
A dystopian vampire-ruled society...what's not to like? The Immortal Rules is the first book in Julie Kagawa's new series Blood of Eden. I absolutely adored her Iron Fey series and feel she is off to a great start with this novel. Julie's world-building and character development amaze me. Her worlds are always imaginative but, somehow, still realistic. Her protagonists are strong-willed, both mentally and physically, but also humanly flawed.
The world in The Immortal Rules is dystopian, meaning that society is oppressed and disintegrating under some type of government...in this case, vampires rule. Humans are either Registered or Unregistered. Registered meaning that the vampires keep track of you, collect blood for their feeding from you, and, in return, the vampires provide you with food and necessities. Unregistered humans are able to easily slip through the cracks, because, in the vampires' eyes, they didn't exist. This also means the Unregistered aren't given a meal ticket, leaving bands of misfits to scavenge for food and supplies. If an Unregistered is caught stealing, imminent death is certain..
Allie is a young Unregistered living with three other teenagers in an abandoned schoolhouse, struggling to survive. They depend on each other for food and protection. Lucas, Rat, Stick, and Allie attempt to stay under the radar of the Prince of their city. Before her death, Allie's mother taught her to read, a rarity in this particular society. Knowledge of any sort can cause humans, Registered and/or Unregistered, to become Taken and used by the vampires.
It doesn't take long for Allie to lose more than just her parents. She loses the only friends she has ever known and her own life as a human. Nothing can keep her from dying, but Kanin can make her immortal. Kanin is bluntly honest with her. She will, from the point she turns, always be a monster. Nothing changes that fact. She will kill a human, no matter how hard she tries not to...it will happen. Even with this information, Allie makes the only choice she can, she allows Kanin to turn her and teach her how to become a vampire.
Allie's journey with Kanin is only the beginning. Once he has taught her all he can, she must set off on her own path and learn to survive without his protection. Along the way, she discovers a group of humans searching for Eden...the proverbial promised land. The choices she makes along her travels will eventually define her as a person and a vampire. She begins to realize that hiding her true nature is going to be extremely difficult...especially as her feelings for Zeke grow into something more than friendship. Holding on to her humanity is important to Allie and the lengths she takes to save her new friends might be the one thing that gives her away.
I loved the storyline. A dystopian vampire society is a unique and intriguing concept. I also appreciated the fact that Julie made no qualms with including Christian beliefs and ideologies in The Immortal Rules. Her candor with not only Allie's, but with all of the going-to-Eden pack's, beliefs--or loss of belief, as the case maybe--is refreshing to see in writing.
Allie is a strong female lead, who does what she must to survive, but...she also has flaws and battles internally about what is right and wrong. Occasionally, she makes the wrong decisions and suffers the consequences of her actions. Although she is a strong character, it took me a while to "like" her.
Several things about this novel didn't bode well with me. First, I am a dialogue-from-the-word-go girl. I love character interaction and character driven literature. I felt like there was too much world-building and information dumping in the first quarter of the book. For me...it dragged. Second, I didn't feel like all the "vampire lore" was needed. Honestly, Julie's vampires were traditional...they didn't sparkle, they couldn't go out in the sun, they had to live off human blood, they were virtually immortal...all of this was explained in great detail. If you've read a vampire novel...even Twilight, where the vampires were not your everyday vamps...you know these specifics about traditional vampires. Lastly, and I know many disagree, but I needed more romance in this book. I love romance and I don't mind the insta-love thing if it's written believably. There is very, very little romance in The Immortal Rules.
All things combined...awesome and not-so-awesome...I am giving this book 3 Stars. However, I don't want anyone to get the wrong message...I loved the book and YES, I will be reading the rest of the series. Julie's writing continues to captivate me and take me to unique and interesting worlds.
*I acquired this copy of The Immortal Rules from NetGalley and HarlequinTeen in exchange for my honest review.