To survive in a ruined world, she must embrace the darkness
Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a walled-in 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 dies and becomes one of the monsters.
Forced to flee her city, Allie must pass for human as she joins a ragged group of pilgrims seeking a legend—a place that might have a cure for the disease that killed off most of civilization and created the rabids, the bloodthirsty creatures who threaten human and vampire alike. And soon Allie will have to decide what and who is worth dying for—again.
This is about vampires and they are not like those is Twilight. Julie Kagawa’s vampires do not glow in the dark either. Is that enough?
No, well then I’ll tell you more.
Kagawa’s vampires are glamorous, yes, but they do not act like pious know-it-all's just because they have seen it all. They know they are soulless beings, living off the lifeblood of beings who still have souls, and they have the decency to hang their heads in shame. I like that about them, especially since this book was bought when the fantasy genre took the vampire craze nearly into shambles with the over use. I was quickly surprised about how these vampires were set up In the first place.
My Vampire Creator told me this: "Sometime in your life, Allison Sekemoto, you will kill a human being. The question is not if it will happen, but when. Do you understand?’ I didn't then, not really.
When we are introduced to Kagawa’s heroine in The Immortal Rules, Allison Sekemoto, she is a street rat, and throughout the novel she is proven to not be your typical YA heroine. Her life has made her distrustful while struggling to choose the right thing. From first glance you may think that this heroine shares the clichéd tragic backstory only to be ‘saved’ in some way, but that’s not it, her backstory isn’t tragic but simply unfortunately natural to her. She deals with it without dragging the reader into sympathetic stares and whines. The world Kagawa explores is a scarred and wasted earth, ravaged by disease and marauding bands of mutant humans known as Rabids, where to be well off you have to live in the city of New Covington, ‘donating’ blood every other Thursday.
But it’s somewhat predictable that Allie gets turned (NOT REALLY A SPOILER PEOPLE!) and she has to navigate her world as a vampire. But I don’t think that there was anything that Kagawa could have done to not make that bit known even before the book is opened; having a more ambiguous blurb would lose some sense of the plot and having an innocent girl on the cover would seem generic, overused and a lie to Allison herself.
I loved the politics of the setting tied with the dark, gritty world Kagawa created for this series. It’s terrifying and cruel and bleak, but it created an atmosphere where the characters, flawed as they were, could really shine.
While the end the book veers rather mysteriously off the steady course it was moving along, Kagawa’s writing is great. Some of her descriptions are textbook but I can’t help but feel that in places Allie is way too gung-ho and come-at-me-ye-mongrels. I don’t like stereotypes and Allie is depicted as a stereotypical Asian which is a badass Goth who is trained in the martial arts under some learned Master/Sensei high in some Japanese, Chinese, Mongolian (take your pick) mountain. But that’s being overly picky and I’ve been told that my attitude of typically only reading fantasy is rather cliché and overdone anyway, so there!
But, the action was fantastic, and even the slower chapters held my attention, and actually ended up being my favorite parts of the book. Zeke and Allie’s slowly-building relationship was so well-done, and paced perfectly. I loved that Zeke was a lone spot of brightness in an otherwise very dark setting. Allie saw this as a weakness at first, Zeke and his idealism and kindness – but I think she came to realize that it was worth it, and his attitude went a long way in bringing about Allie’s own growth throughout the book. If I was to be picky on the romance I would say that for the first novel I would have wanted Allie to be strong and independent enough to not need a love interest to be a motivation to stay on the straight and narrow, but I think that is also my feministic attitude raising its head.
There are some interesting threads which peek out throughout The Immortal Rules, which I think will be explored more in the books to come. This definitely this is not your average, vampire-human love story for sure.
Would I read it again?
No. Its good don’t get me wrong but vampires are a bit of a touchy subject of mine when it comes to fantasy. It also doesn’t stand out in my ever growing bank of book but it’s still a good first read.
Would I recommend it?
I kind of recommend every book I read because every book is met with different eyes and interests. But for the sake of it… I would definitely recommend The Immortal Rules to anyone who likes dystopian and/or post-apocalyptic and/or vampire novels.