Goodreads | IndieBound | Barnes & Noble
YA, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Dystopia/Romance,485 pages, Harlequin Teen
- Series: first in the Blood of Eden series
- Pub date: April 24th 2012
- Disclosure: Received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley. Thanks!
In a future world, Vampires reign. Humans are blood cattle. And one girl will search for the key to save humanity.The Long...
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.
I've heard a lot of grumbling about this book around the blogosphere, mostly related to how it's not as good as Kagawa's previous Iron Fey series. As I have not read Iron Fey (I know, I know), I came in with fresh eyes and carefully managed expectations. And you know what? The Immortal Rules met them, and turned out to be a pleasant, terrific read in the summer sun.
It's funny how dystopia has become so prevalent in YA that I can call The Immortal Rules an escapist read, but surprisingly, it is. Allie's journey from embittered human to badass vampire-in-training to entirely more vulnerable girl in love follows all the right formulas with very few surprises--by throwing in not just a dystopia, not just vampires, but zombies, too, Kagawa ensures she has a decent selection of tropes to draw from. Normally, "no surprises" is not exactly what I want to be thinking about a book, I've blasted a story for less in the past, and maybe had it not been summer and lovely and made-for-romance-reading outside, I would have felt less charitable. But honestly, it was nice for once to just sit back and get transported away to Kagawa's not-so-original-but-still-pretty-interesting world.
By far the most exciting parts of the book are Allie's training sessions after she is killed and resurrected as undead (no spoilers there, as it happens so quickly and inevitably) by a much older, enigmatic vampire--with whom she has mad chemistry, I might add. I settled in for the romance to begin there, but alas, much melodrama and derring-do later, Allie takes off for the hills to meet a rag-tag band of humans that feel like something right out of Stephen King's The Stand (also not particularly a spoiler). In fact, for a romance novel, I struggled with the romance more than any other part of this book. Human Zeke is blandly, blindly good with no hidden bad boy depths to plumb, and I was left wondering why Allie--who seems so snarky and street-smart, after all--seemed to have so much competition for his attentions. It's not bad, exactly, but it didn't leave my heart racing, either.
If Kagawa had stuck more with the vampire part of the story rather than the dystopian, and given us more badass katana fights and hospital raids and vampire catfights, then we'd be looking at one of the best cult-classic campy books I've read lately. But it falls short of that. Still, if you're in the mood for a decent genre mash-up, this is the book for you.
...and the Short:
A fun, campy genre mash-up that, if not scintillating, is definitely entertaining. The romance leaves something to be desired, but our snarky, street-smart, katana-wielding heroine more than makes up for it.
The Final Word: Liked it.