The Immortal Rules

The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden #1)
By Julie Kagawa
Published by Harlequin Teen
Published on April 24, 2012
Source: Netgalley

Review from Goodreads

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.


I picked out this book without knowing much about it other than that it involved vampires, and that lots of people really loved Julie Kagawa's other books.   Based on those facts, I shouldn't have been surprised when I was immediately sucked into the world that Kagawa has created for her newest story.

Kagawa excels at worldbuilding, and this is on display throughout the book.  You're dumped right into the middle of this terrifying new world, and immediately are on the run with Allie, learning about life in this new, dangerous world.  After she's Turned, the reader is taken along on Allie's journey as she tries to balance her needs as a vampire with her desire to not turn into the monster that the world thinks she is.  

Set many years in the future, a plague called Red Lung has wiped out a large portion of the human race.  Vampires have risen up to take control of society.  These vampires are like the horror stories of old: evil, bloodthirsty monsters who use humans as food and labor sources, and nothing more.  In the vampire town of New Covington, we're introduced to Allie and her band of fellow Unregistereds: humans who have chosen not to register with the city's vampire overlords.  Registered humans get certain perks -- meal tickets, supplies, less chance of certain death -- in exchange for regularly giving blood to the vampires.  Unregistered humans face a more perilous existence: on the fringes of society, they have to scavenge, trade, beg, and steal in order to stay alive.  

Kanin, the mysterious vampire who saves Allie after she is attacked by rabids (creatures that exist somewhere on the spectrum between zombie and vampire), has a lot of secrets of his own, some of which are revealed in due time, and some of which are surely being saved for future novels in the series.  It's through Kanin that Allie -- and the reader -- learn about vampire society, and the Red Lung plague that was responsible for destroying the world as we know it.  There's a lot of information being given out through his exposition, but it doesn't feel overwhelming.

Allie is a very real, multi-faceted character.  She's tough and no-nonsense, knowing that a moment's hesitation can get you killed, but she's also loyal to her friends and family.  You really feel for her as she struggles with controlling her vampire urges.  Action scenes are very well-written and easy to visualize: some scenes, I could practically see unfolding in front of me, based on the descriptive language used.  There is, of course, a romance subplot, but it's well-done and not rushed.  The romance helps illustrate Allie's personality and the challenges she faces, being a vampire amongst humans.

Some of the major plot points were predictable, but that didn't take away my enjoyment from the story.  I do wish that the book had a bit of a better sense of place.  Until the setting shifted to Old Chicago, I had no idea where in the country the story was taking place, and there were a few geographic head-scratchers towards the end. A sense of location isn't always important, but I felt like a story that partially revolved around a journey to get somewhere could have been better rooted in place.  Allie and others may not have known, given that they're several generations removed from the collapse of the United States, but clues could have been dropped to let readers know.  

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys dystopias and the paranormal.  There are many deaths on the page and scenes of intense action and violence, although for the most part it isn't described in extremely gory detail.  (These parts can generally be easily skimmed over, if it's not your thing.)  Additionally, there is some strong language used by the characters.  I really enjoyed this book and had a very hard time putting it down.  I look forward to the rest of the series, and to going back and getting acquainted with the rest of Kagawa's books.

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