Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

Do my eyes deceive me? 100 followers? It's for real! Thank you to each and every one of you 100 followers for supporting me and helping me reach this milestone. The morning I woke up to see this was a morning where I happydanced all over the house.

Title: The Immortal Rules
Author: Julie Kagawa
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: April 24, 2012
Pages: 485 pages (hardcover)
How I Got the Book: through a giveaway done by the publisher
Purchase: Amazon; Barnes & Noble; Book Depository

You will kill. The only question is when.

In the dark days since the insidious Red Lung virus decimated the human population, vampires have risen to rule the crumbling cities and suburbs. Uncontested Princes hold sway over diminished ranks of humans: their "pets." In exchange for their labor, loyalty and of course, their blood, these pets are registered, given food and shelter, permitted to survive.

Unregistered humans cling to fringes, scavenging for survival. Allison Sekemoto and her fellow Unregistereds are hunted, not only by vampires, but by rabids, the unholy result of Red Lung-infected vampires feeding on unwary humans. One night, Allie is attacked by a pack of rabids, saved by an unlikely hero...and turned vampire.

Uncomfortable in her undead skin, Allie falls in with a ragtag crew of humans seeking a cure, or cures: for Rabidism and for Vampirism. She's passing for human...for now. But the hunger is growing and will not be denied. Not for friendship—not even for love.


People that know me well may or may not be aware of my nostalgic love for the vampiric, something that can help a good vampire book or further hurt one that is already sub-par. If the vampires are the good old-fashioned monstrous kind, I'm practically in love. The Immortal Rules hardly needs the boost my nostalgia offers because it's a well-written novel as it is.

She ended up being a little too much of a bleeding heart despite being characterized as someone who would easily leave behind someone else if it meant her survival, but I loved Allison's character. She made many of the same decisions I would have in her position and her overall character arc was well done. From a tough human to a naive newbie vamp to a wounded vampire struggling to keep her humanity and Hunger in check, I rooted her on and hoped she would find what she was looking for. That she knew her way around a katana wasn't too bad either.

Her relationship with Zeke was actually well-developed, and it takes a lot of work to convince me of a romance these days. Seriously, when was the last time you heard me say a romance rocked? Try to remember, just try. Allison wasn't the only one to get characterized well. Jeb, leader of the group of humans searching for the vampire-free city of Eden, was dislikable, but I understood where he was coming from. Zeke, Allison's maker Kanin, even little Stick, who needs his butt kicked--they were well executed too.

The only character who really troubled me in any way was Ruth. Ruth, the typical mean girl who immediately dislikes Allison because she thinks Allison is after Zeke, who Ruth loves, and thinks something is off about Allison. She's right, but that's really beside the point. There are multiple chances to shed light on why she is the person she is, but none of those chances ever get taken. What ends up happening to her later in the novel bothers me too. I wish she could have become more than just the girl that hates Allison.

Also, vampires! Monstrous, evil vampires! Zombie-like rabid vampires! Only two Type Whine vampires! Vampires! That should say enough about the vampire angle of it, along with me stating I loved the idea of vampiric tyrants ruling over humans after a plague.

And then we come to the novel's weak point: the uneven pacing. There would be a set of about eighty pages I would devour because they were so good, then would come a set of another eighty pages where I completely lost my connection to the novel and trudged my way through. The constant cycle of good scenes, dull scenes made me ache with the whiplash. Whatever it would take to smooth out the pacing so the reader never loses the connection during Allison's early days as a vampire or during the leisurely post-apocalyptic road trip to a vampire-free city that may or may not exist.

Want the more detailed explanation too? Okay! The first eighty pages, in which Allison and her world of surviving in the Fringe with her four-person band of fellow Unregistered humans are introduced, make up my favorite part of the book. The gritty descriptions of survival under the radar and how rough they had it were fantastic and the rabid attack that led to Allison becoming a vampire was the most memorable scene for me.

Then came the next eighty pages, in which Kanin the Undead Infodump (I wanted to call him living, but the book makes such a point about vampires being undead that I am honor-bound to identify him as such) infodumps on Allison for three long chapters (and the chapters are twenty pages long on average, so that's sixty straight pages of infodumping, to put it in perspective) about what it means to be a vampire and how to survive. It's necessary information, but it's delivered with such a lack of finesse that I quickly became frustrated.

The leisurely crawl across the land with the humans searching for a safe place to stay, a few monster attacks thrown in every now and then to try and keep it moving (the attacks slow the book down, really) leading to quick, action-packed fights, then more boring traveling and more exciting scenes--the way I describe it sounds rather meandering, doesn't it? That's the book. It feels like reading these last three paragraphs.

I'll be staying around for the next book in the series (especially because yay, the insane evil character is alive! I like those kinds of characters!) and recommend this to any readers who aren't deathly allergic to vampire novels, but will this be enough to make me read Kagawa's highly praised Iron Fey series? Not quite. I'm not a fairy kind of girl, you see, and I only planned to read them if The Immortal Rules knocked my socks off. Maybe one day.

4 stars! (But let's really call it 3.5, hm?)

What am I reading next?: Thyla by Kate Gordon

1 comment:

  1. Congrats on 100 followers! I know that I really enjoy your reviews so I'm happy for you on reaching this milestone!

    And to celebrate, you share a review of a highly anticipated book! I will be reading this but am of mixed expectations because I did not like the Iron Fey series and I'm not a big fan of vampires.


I love hearing what others have to say about books and it makes me feel less like I'm talking to an empty auditorium, so comment away. Thank you for reading my blog post!