Hello! I am back…three days late with no update on my WiP. Sorry about that.
The reasons for this are twofold:
- I didn’t touch my WiP this past week, so there’s really nothing to report.
- This week has been pretty busy.
So, to make up for it, I thought I’d post another review for you guys. 🙂 Here it is!
The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden, #1) by Julie Kagawa
Published by Harlequin Teen on April 24, 2012
Genres: young adult fantasy, paranormal, vampire fiction, post-apocalyptic fiction, young adult romance,
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads | Indiebound
I found this book in hardback at the used book store, and bought it because it was in near perfect condition. Judging by the reviews of my Goodreads friends, I figured it’d be an opportunity for me to do some research while simultaneously having fun.
They were right. This was a heck of a ride.
Originally, I was a little wary of the idea of vampires in a post-apocalyptic setting. In my mind, the two don’t really mix. However, I couldn’t have been more wrong about this. Julie Kagawa blends both these elements beautifully, creating a world that’s original, exotic, and really, quite terrifying.
The world Allison Sekemoto lives in dreary and cutthroat. It’s not a place where making friends is recommended; you’d lose them to death far too often. The world has been ravaged after a devastating virus outbreak called Red Lung, and the vampires have taken control of almost any cities left standing. With multiple threats to the human species (vampires, rabids, mole men), the safest option is to stay within the walls that keep rabids and mole men out, and become a blood donor for the vampires, who offer protection and food in exchange for human blood. Those who do not become donors are left to forage for themselves, and, if caught, hanged for disobeying the law.
I felt the world-building here was a good balance of “showing versus telling”: You learn about its construct through Allison telling you directly, but also by reading and discovering for yourself. I also felt Kagawa never shied away when it came to depicting vampires as they were always meant to be shown: as cruel, bloody, heartless creatures. Her vampire “rules” were consistent with most of traditional vampire lore, and remained consistent throughout the book.
Also the descriptions of the rabids were chilling; I got scared every time Allie and her group encountered one (or several). This created a tense atmosphere that had me on the seat of my pants throughout most of the book.
Allison “Allie” Sekemoto, our main character, is one of these humans who refuses to become a “bloodbag” for the vampires. She lives under the radar with a group of other humans who forage for food. I found Allie to be resourceful, competent, strong, and fiercely independent. By no means was she a wimp. I appreciated being able to root for a character who did what was necessary to survive without becoming a blubbering mess in the process.
I also really liked Kanin, even though he was shrouded is mystery for most of the book. I loved how, though he was strict with her, you could tell he genuinely cared about her and her safety. His teaching sessions with Allie were always fun to read.
Zeke was a sweet character, if a little bland. Despite whatever development his character might have lacked, it was refreshing to have a character who was soft and gentle in this book’s brutal, merciless world. It made for a nice contrast.
Here’s where things got really fun. >:)
Sometimes, foraging for food this leads Allie and her group outside the city walls and into rabid territory. When Allie finds a large stash of food, she alerts her group to it, but they end up being ambushed by rabids on the way back into the city, and most of the group is killed. Allie herself is fatally mauled by the rabids, but, before she dies, a vampire named Kanin finds her and offers her a choice: die and become a rabid, or become a vampire with his help. She chooses the latter and begins training under Kanin, but when they get separated, Allie falls in with a human group looking for Eden, a fabled town where humans can live without fear of vampires or rabids. On the journey, Allie begins to befriend some of the people in the group, and even fall in love with one of them. But for how long can she keep her identity a secret? And is there any way for her to be both human and vampire, or has the monster inside her already won?
In Allie’s world, there is always a threat of some sort present, especially if you’ve chosen to fly under the radar and not donate blood to the vampires. It makes for a tense read; my jaw was always tight whenever Allie (and anyone with her) ran into rabids.
As she and her group of humans travel to Eden, they encounter a lot of hardship in various forms, and it really made me sympathize with and root for them. Can’t blame them for wanting to be safe, right?
It was also interesting to see Allie’s struggle to retain her humanity and not let her vampire side get the best of her. We see her grapple with her unquenchable bloodlust and try to resist feeding on the people in her group, even if she’s starving. It made me cheer for her even more.
In regards to the technicalities of the plot, I felt it was the perfect mix of action and “rest” scenes, you could say. Either way, it was compelling and fun. The ending left a wide grin on my face; it sort of reminded me of the ending of an Indiana Jones movie: a good resolution, but also a little open-ended.
Call me a softie, but I think Allie and Zeke make a really cute couple. In my opinion, they balance each other out pretty well. He offers her the humanity she’s so desperately trying to hold on to, while her toughness and grit saves his butt quite a few times. It was intriguing to see their relationship blossom, and I can’t wait to see where the next book will take it.
On the note of “saving butts”: I appreciated how there was no “damsel in distress” in this book regarding their relationship; Allie and Zeke saved each other throughout the story solely because they cared for each other, not because one was trying to assert dominance over the other. It wasn’t ever a power play, which was refreshing.)
So, overall, a fun, gritty, action-packed book you should check out if the idea if the phrase “vampire apocalypse” appeals to you. Definitely recommended!