Release Date: April 24, 2012
Series: Blood of Eden #1
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Preorder: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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.
The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa is a gripping blend of paranormal and post-apocalyptic horror. The outlook is bleak for the scattered humans living in the Fringe, where the spectre of starvation pales in comparison to the constant threat of thirsty vampires hidden in the shadows and their even more grisly cousins, the rabids. The rabids are a testament to Kagawa's limitless dark imagination. They are mindless killing machines with sharp claws, sharper teeth, and an unquenchable thirst for blood -- but without the sleek gentility of a normal vampire. This world is truly the stuff of nightmares.
Allison Sekemoto is a survivor, hardened by the grim realities of her daily life. She is cynical and stoic -- or at least she tries to be, but even the constant threat of impending death (or worse) can't quite keep her from seeing the good in the few remaining humans. However, Allie soon finds herself one of the creatures she despises, but rather than letting the struggle turn to angst, she carries on. Kagawa doesn't shy away from the troubling realities of vampirism, and it is fascinating to see Allie struggle with the newfound darkness in her own nature. Readers will never lose sympathy for this hungry girl who chose life over the unknown abyss of death, and resolutely faces the consequences of that fateful choice.
Allie meets quite a few characters on her journey, spanning the range of humanity -- from staggeringly naive teenagers to men more dangerous than the monsters they fear. Thankfully, Kagawa turns the clichéd setup on its head: rather than the helpless human among supernatural men, Allie is powerful, strong, and haunted by demons of her own. It is refreshing to see the heroine struggle to protect these fragile humans -- especially one innocent boy -- from herself, rather than the opposite scenario usually found in paranormal YA.
Allie can't help but be attracted to Zeke, who is almost too good to be true and the polar opposite of everything the vampires represent: hope, light, compassion and kindness. The Immortal Rules is not paranormal romance, and their relationship is tense and uncertain throughout much of the novel. However, Zeke's faith provides an excellent foil for Allie's cynicism, and the potential is there for their attraction to evolve into star-crossed love as the series progresses.
At times, though, the novel feels meandering. The narrative drive is unclear and episodic, trailing behind Allie as she aimlessly wanders through the desolate countryside. There is a great deal of exposition that will hopefully be tightened in the final version to keep up Kagawa's usual thrilling pace while still giving readers a crash course on this brave new world.
The Immortal Rules is a solid setup for a series unlike anything else on the shelves. Kagawa took this tale in directions woefully unexplored in the vampire lore that came before. I cannot wait to see how the significance of the title, hinted at in this first installment, plays out throughout this utterly unique series. Kagawa has a flair for taking staid tropes and molding them into exciting new mythologies, and The Immortal Rules won't disappoint even her most rabid fans.
Disclosure: I received an advance galley from the publisher for an honest review.
Thanks to Harlequin Teen and Karen at Media Masters, one (1) lucky reader will win a finished copy of The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa!
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Come back tomorrow for a Q&A with New York Times Bestselling Author Julie Kagawa!