The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden #1) — Julie Kagawa


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.

Allison Sekemoto is one of the few humans surviving in a vampire city. Living in a vampire city has hardened her. She knows that in order to live, one most follow a code of “every man for himself,” but even knowing this, she can’t help but look out for others. When she discovers an abandoned room full of food, she leads her “friends” on a scavenging mission. But the mission ends in disaster, with everyone dead or near-dead. Lying in a puddle of her own blood, Allie is offered a choice: become a monster or die. And despite her hatred of vampires, she finds herself too afraid to confront real death.

Her sire, Kanin, trains Allie in the ways of existing as a vampire. As an outcast Master vampire, Kanin doesn’t have access to the typical luxurious life of most vampires. Instead, he trains Allie how to fight, how to live on the fringes of society. But when the two are attacked by one of Kanin’s enemies, Allie finds herself kicked out of New Covington and living on her own in the wild. That is, until she encounters a group of humans seeking a place called “Eden.” They accept Allie into their fold under the assumption that she’s human, but Allie knows it’s only a matter of time until they discover her secret.

The first thing I notice about The Immortal Rules is how long it is. This book reaches almost five-hundred pages and the beginning reads very slow. I had a very difficult time trudging through the first half of the book and at times, I thought entire sections weren’t necessary, though they become necessary by the end. For fans of Julie Kagawa, this book is nothing like the Iron Fey series. We have a much grittier story with a more self-sufficient, sarcastic, and untrusting protagonist. In my opinion, it is much easier to read about Allie than Megan. While I liked the secondary characters in the Iron Fey series much more than Megan, in The Immortal Rules, Allie definitely carries the story, which is probably why I found the first half of the book so tedious; there was too much focus on characters I didn’t care about. The only exception is Kanin, though we don’t learn much about him so much as about vampires in general. In the beginning of the book, he’s used merely as a tool to provide backstory, whereas at the end, he proves himself an interesting character, one worth investing in.

For me, the book doesn’t begin until Allie finds herself outside the city, forced to interact with humans. Though some of the humans feel like stock characters, their dynamic is still really interesting, and Allie finds herself under a lot of pressure as she attempts to hide her secret. The no-nonsense, “tough-love” leader of the humans, Jeb, is a very interesting, multi-layered character. It’s hard to decide if he’s worth trusting or sympathizing with. His adopted “son,” Zeke, is almost too good to be true, but he also turns out to have hidden depths and layers. All of these characters will surprise you and by the book’s end, I found myself really appreciating that aspect. You can’t take anyone at face-value in The Immortal Rules, and that’ll definitely keep you on your toes.

I also commend Kagawa on her action scenes in Immortal Rules. With Iron Fey, I found Megan’s swordsmanship unbelievable. But Allie trains for months in an effort to master the katana and Kagawa writes such descriptive scenes that we really get to see Allie in action. This book is definitely dark and some of the descriptions gory, but it’s all incredibly believable and for those who appreciate authors that don’t shy away from battle scenes, you’ll enjoy Immortal Rules. Kagawa really commits to this world and doesn’t back down, which leaves it feeling more authentic than some of the other vampire worlds that currently inhabit YA shelves.

Immortal Rules‘s strength lies in its ending. The last third of the book is addictive and I definitely had trouble putting it down. The action is intense, the characters are surprising, and certain questions proposed in the beginning are finally answered or expanded upon. The villains are ridiculously grotesque and inspire fierce hatred, while certain other characters walk in a sort of moral grey area, leaving your emotions all over the place (in a good way). The ending ties the story up satisfactorily (though it’s heart-breaking!) while still leaving readers anxious for the next book in the series. Judging by how much I enjoyed the second half of the book, I definitely have high hopes for the second in the Blood of Eden series. I predict Kagawa will really hit her stride and I’m definitely looking forward to it.

Pages: 485
Publication Date: April 2012
Publisher: HarlequinTEEN
Source: ARC provided by HarlequinTEEN
Rating [rating: 3.5]

Teaser Quote: “Then, my eyes flickered shut, darkness pulled me under and, lying in the rain, in the cold embrace of the nameless vampire, I exited the world of the living.

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