Book Reviews

Review: “The Immortal Rules,” Julie Kagawa

May 2, 2012

I received this book for free from Harlequin Teen Australia in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: “The Immortal Rules,” Julie KagawaThe Immortal Rulesby Julie Kagawa
Series: Blood of Eden #1
Published by Harlequin Teen on May, 2012
Genres: Dystopian, Vampires
Pages: 451
Source: Harlequin Teen Australia

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.

Initially I wasn’t too happy with where I thought The Immortal Rules was going. I’m glad I stuck with it, though, as the book turned out to be an enjoyable ride. I found the second half to be more gratifying than the first, with some great character development and lots of action. While I don’t place the first in the Blood of Eden series higher than Julie’s Iron Fey, it’s worth looking into!

I’m a big fan of Julie Kagawa’s previous series, The Iron Fey. When I heard The Immortal Rules was coming out, I was both excited and nervous. Another vampire story, really? But being Julie Kagawa, I thought I’d give it the benefit of the doubt. There was a lot of buzz for this title and I was eager to see just how it measured up. All in all I enjoyed it, but as I previously stated, I wouldn’t regard it ‘better’ than The Iron Daughter or The Iron Queen.

I felt that The Immortal Rules didn’t use Julia Kagawa’s amazing knack for flowery, magical language and imagery. I’m constantly astounded when reading The Iron Fey at just how well Julie Kagawa can immerse the reader in an ethereal, enchanting world and make them feel both dizzy and elated at once. The Immortal Rules incorporated none of that, though it still had a good amount of direction and excitement to draw in the reader. I would have been happier, however, if Julie Kagawa had stuck to what she does so brilliantly and made this dystopian/vampire tale a little different from the others.

Not that it wasn’t good – it was! I just wish that Julie had slapped her own brand of storytelling on this one rather than fall in line with how all the other dystopian tales are told. It had the same atmosphere as other titles out there, such as Carrie Ryan’s The Forest of Hands and Teeth, instead of being outrageously individual. After reading so many dystopians, I’m looking for something that really SCREAMS originality, and I think Julie could have done that by injecting her individual and unique style into the pages.

The book has four parts; ‘Human’, ‘Vampire’, ‘Monster’ and ‘Wanderer. I think the use of ‘parts’ in The Immortal Rules really added to the story, with each volume having a distinct feel and goal in mind for our heroine, Allison. My favourite parts were definitley ‘Monster’ and ‘Wanderer’. I felt that the latter part of the book was stronger than the first, with all the character’s personalities having been fully fleshed out by that time. The world was also established solidly, enabling the reader to glide smoothly along with Allison, Zeke and the rest of the crew.

When reflecting, the first part of the book, ‘Human’, seems a world away. Julie really accomplished transforming Allison from the Fringer she was into a kick-ass vampire. I really applaud her for the amount of character development she managed to weave into her female lead. As a reader we felt Allison grow, and it was hard to believe that she was only a new vampire herself.

I liked the first ‘Human’ portion of the novel, but I was still waiting for that OOMPH to really make me LOVE it.

Unfortunately, with the following part, ‘Vampire’, I was still looking for that kick. Looking on Goodreads, I see that many others have had that problem, even stopping at this part of the book. I recommend pushing forward. It’s the weakest part of the book, in my opinion, educating the reader on the ‘vampire lore’ in the world of New Covington and beyond. I realise this was necessary, to set up the foundations, but as a reader who has read a GAZILLION vampire books, most of the information here felt regurgitated and re-used, and I found myself lacking motivation to continue. I did, however, enjoy Allison’s relationship with Kanin. I’m eager to learn more about him.

Once The Immortal Rules kicked into full-out LET’S SAVE THE WORLD dystopian-mode, I was a happy camper. I will say, however, that I wish I could come across a dystopian world that was not riddled with disease. Is this really the only way that the world could be decimated? I doubt it. I’m a little tired of our characters having to battle raging, frothing monster who could infect them. I could put those feelings behind me, however, because I found Allison’s introduction to the band of wanderers looking for the vampire-free ‘Eden’ to be very enjoyable. This was the ‘Monster’ volume of the book.

I liked the individual identities within the group, too. There were some great personalities – I don’t want to hash over them too much, so you’ll just have to find out for yourself. Allison’s relationship with Zeke was good, but not the focal point, which I found refreshing.

The last part of the book, ‘Wanderer’, is absolutely action packed. I found myself cheering for Allison as she went vampire-ninja on her foes. For the most part of this book, however, I was telling myself that I wasn’t going to continue on in the series. While I was enjoying my time in Allison’s world, I hadn’t found a gem that would make me want to return once I’d read 450 pages. After the ending, I’m not so sure.

Give The Immortal Rules a go if you’re a fan of Julie’s other books. It’s also an interesting read to see both the vampire and dystopian worlds become melded together into one YA book. If you’re having doubts about the book, or not feeling it’s your cup of tea, keep reading until you’ve read a little of the ‘Monster’ chapter. If you’re still not satisfied, then maybe the book isn’t for you. Thankfully it was for me, and I was able to finish it with a smile.

Recommended to: Fans of Julie Kagawa’s other series, The Iron Fey, as well as readers of dystopian/vampire fiction.

About Julie Kagawa

Julie Kagawa was born in Sacramento, California. But nothing exciting really happened to her there. So, at the age of nine she and her family moved to Hawaii, which she soon discovered was inhabited by large carnivorous insects, colonies of house geckos, and frequent hurricanes. Julie now lives in Louisville, Kentucky, where the frequency of shark attacks are at an all time low. She lives with her husband, two obnoxious cats, one Australian Shepherd who is too smart for his own good, and the latest addition, a hyper-active Papillon puppy.

1 Comment

  • Reply Erin W May 2, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    Great review! I really LOVED this book and it possibly had beaten my love of Kagawa’s Iron Fey series which surprised me a lot.

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