- The Immortal Rules
- Julie Kagawa
- Released April 24th 2012
- Book 1 of Blood of Eden
- 3 stars
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. (Goodreads blurb)
My Julie Kagawa run continues with The Immortal Rules where vampires meet zombies in a postapocalyptic world. It was good I guess, interesting because I haven’t read a dystopia esque book in a while but it’s not my favorite of her books.
Where this book succeeds is in its portrayal of the MC, Allison, and her adjustment to life as a vampire. Every time I disagreed with her thoughts/actions, I had to force myself to think what it would be like to be in her situation. That a book has actually made me think that way is quite amazing!
Allison is already hardened by the tough life she leads (prior to becoming a vampire) scavenging for food and avoiding the vampires. In this future earth scenario, humans have died out due to a horrible disease and vampires are now high enough in number compared to humans to subjugate them. Somewhere though, the disease went awry and instead of simply killing off its victims, it now turns them into “rabids” which are basically zombies: they lose higher thought; savagely eat anything in their way be it animal, human, or vampire; and infect others with their bite. It’s actually quite a creepy book to read.
Still the vividness of the setting isn’t the best part of the book. Like I said before, it’s the portrayal of the different “species”, vampires and humans.
When Allison is turned into a vampire, her “sire” takes her under his wing training her in “the immortal rules” or how to be a vampire. The biggest lesson drilled into her (besides how to use her newfound physical abilities) is that she is now a monster now matter what she thinks. Others will view her as a monster and she will hurt others eventually. This then becomes Allison’s struggle through the whole book. She wants others to believe that she isn’t heartless, but it’s difficult (obviously) for her to convince humans of her goodness b/c she’s a vampire.
Still, I thought that she got way too many lucky breaks. From the start, she has Kanin – the badass vampire that turned her – to teach her to be a vampire, save her when needed. I actually really liked Kanin, I mean he has his secrets and regrets too but despite being a vampire, he’s not ruthless. He empathizes with Allison and seems to actually care for both her and at least has a sense of decency with humans. Fine, I suppose that every vampire has another vampire there to guide them b/c how else were they turned but the things I liked about Kanin seemed too good for Allison.
After she “graduates from vampire school,” she wanders outside the city and stumbles upon a group of humans who just so happen to sleep during the day and walk at night. Whoa… not like that’s convenient or anything. And then when she’s travelling with them, she never gets caught doing non human things like dumping food (vampires throw up when faced with human food) despite the wastefulness or never taking watch during the height of day (yes the sun/burning up thing is true for these vampires).
Even more, despite being only a couple months old (as a vampire), Allison manages to reign in her need to drink blood. She stops herself from drinking even when she has the perfect opportunity and I just wanted to reach into the book and slap her like “this is a fact of your life, drink goddamit!” I get that she’s trying to preserve her morality but c’mon, she chooses to be a vampire over death and repeatedly states that she’d much rather have this second chance than to be dead, already a questionable decision morally, and should have to face the consequences of that.
Now as for the other characters, I have mixed opinions. It’s nice to see how people adapt to Allison being a nice vampire, but there were some characters I just didn’t get: Ruth. Girl why you gotta be so mean? Like, what? Honestly I don’t see the point of her in this book. She’s kind of there to make Allison look better, and to be the third point of a love triangle, but it doesn’t work. The romance is kept to a minimum b/c Allison is trying to not be caught! The little bits we get are cute, slightly desperate, but that’s understandable b/c of the ruggedness of their situation.
Overall, I thought The Immortal Rules did a good job in keeping the struggle between being humane and a monster front and center. It does force you to think a bit about what it would be like to be in that situation fighting instinct and past lives. This is not a light hearted series but it is captivating in some senses. Looking forward to book two!