Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Review - Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden, #1)
Immortal Rules 
by Julie Kagawa
Hardcover, 480 pages
Published April 24th by Harlequin Teen
E-copy courtesy of NetGalley


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.

My Review:

The short of it? It’s a fun, fast read. There just enough action, just enough hint of romance, enough impossibilities, enough heart to make it a complete entity with plenty room for more books to follow.

I can’t talk about Immortal Rules without comparing and contrasting.  Um... sorry?!

Julie Kagawa does her homework, it seems to me, and researches tons of fantastical lore and then fits it all in. Anything I’d ever heard about “all things fae” was crammed into The Iron King. There was a changeling, hidden dangers, the weight of favors, pointy ears, haughty beauty, sensual dancing… the works. That same energy went into Immortal Rules. The vampires possess impossible speed & strength, they’re virtually impossible to kill, only wooden stakes are effective. There’s the presence of a cross, the question of soul and the after-life… the works!!! 

Another similarity in Kagawa’s books is the amount of action. The two I’ve read both have the feel of EPIC about them. There’s lots of traveling, friendships forged through shared conflict, impossibility of goals and random choices that work out, but casualties, too, so I am concerned that the main characters will make it and satisfied with they do. (Or do they?!)

I have pretty much stayed out of the vampire book craze. Honestly, I think they’re gross. (I just lost half my readers, didn’t I?!) It’s all well –n- good to talk about drinking blood until… whom am I kidding?!  That’s so disgusting!!!  I get queasy at the site of blood taking my kids to the dentist. I’m the mom that freezes in shock over some news story about a kid colliding with a bus and then refuses to watch any news at all for at least three days in case they cover it again and I burst into tears. Yea, I like a good sword fight, I just want it all to be pretend. I want the characters to get up afterwards, brush themselves off and go shower off the pretend blood, or something.

So, how did blood-sucking get sensual?!  Just (nauseatingly) curious.

(Maybe Blood is symbolic of Life, kind of like the Holy Grail... there’s some deeper meaning behind all this, I just don’t know what it is and I’m going to faint before I arrive at it.)

So what did I like about Immortal Rules as unique?  Great question!!  My favorite aspect is how Kagawa split the vampire image right down the middle and created two species. There’s the Vampires who treat people like food and rule the world in their mini dominated worlds, and there the Rabids, which are vampires w/ rabies, I guess, who don’t have any sort of brain left and kill & devour whatever they can get their claws on indiscriminately. With this division, our hero, Allison, can try to find her emotional heart and soul, fighting her vampire instincts and yet there’s still this horror-like danger lurking at every turn. Must have horror and heart in a good vampire story!!

I also like the bloody tears, although it’s a seriously nasty-lookin’ on the very appropriate cover!!  Allie does have heart & soul (despite not having ‘em) and since there’s no water in her, her tears fall with blood and they betray her, which is absolutely a beautiful picture. *sniff*

En fin, did I love this book?  Almost. Will I reread it?  Nope. Would I recommend it?!  Well… yea, actually. I have only read the Twilight series and Sunshine, so this book fit right in between ‘em, kinda  - not cute –n- heartwarming like Twilight and yet not vampire-ugly like Sunshine.  And Kagawa’s got writing skills, so I would recommend this book to… anyone interested in a well-written saga-type story with horror aspects. If you’re tired of vampires, try Kagawa’s fey instead. If you love Kagawa, GO FOR IT!!! (Even if you’re not sure you like vampires!) 

The main character, Allison, doesn’t seem to grow and change as much as Meghan is in the Iron Fey series, but she’s a confident kick-butt girl who carries a samurai sword across her back, so hey!

My Rating: 4 - Pretty Darn Good. There's not much to pick apart, even if it's not going to be a favorite of mine. I will read the next book in the series. Definitely.

UPDATE:  I have won a signed copy of #7 in the Morganville Vampire series, thx so much to Miss Vain!!  So, I'll have a broader Vampire perspective soon. yay!  (?)

About the Amazing Author
Julie Kagawa was born in Sacramento, California. But nothing exciting really happened to her there. So, at the age of nine she and her family moved to Hawaii, which she soon discovered was inhabited by large carnivorous insects, colonies of house geckos, and frequent hurricanes. She spent much of her time in the ocean, when she wasn�t getting chased out of it by reef sharks, jellyfish, and the odd eel. 
When not swimming for her life, Julie immersed herself in books, often to the chagrin of her schoolteachers, who would find she hid novels behind her Math textbooks during class. Her love of reading led her to pen some very dark and gruesome stories, complete with colored illustrations, to shock her hapless teachers. The gory tales faded with time, but the passion for writing remained, long after she graduated and was supposed to get a real job. 
To pay the rent, Julie worked in different bookstores over the years, but discovered the managers frowned upon her reading the books she was supposed to be shelving. So she turned to her other passion: training animals. She worked as a professional dogtrainer for several years, dodging Chihuahua bites and overly enthusiastic Labradors, until her first book sold and she stopped training to write full-time. 
Julie now lives in Louisville, Kentucky, where the frequency of shark attacks are at an all time low. She lives with her husband, two obnoxious cats, one Australian Shepherd who is too smart for his own good, and the latest addition, a hyper-active Papillon puppy.
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