Friday, May 4, 2012

The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden #1), Julie Kagawa

Title: The Immortal Rules
Author: Julie Kagawa (author website | blog)
Release Date: May 1st 2012 by Harlequin Teen Australia
Age Group: Young Adult/Adult
Genre: Post-Apocalyptic/Dystopia/Paranormal
My Rating:1 star2 star3 star4 starhalf star

Someone call the IUCN—Vampires are swiftly becoming an endangered species in young adult literature. After all, there are only so many times a teenage vampire can chill out in high school before raising a few eyebrows, and readers and publishers alike demand something different. Well, in Julie Kagawa’s The Immortal Rules, readers will get what they are craving, and bloodsuckers are most definitely in no danger of extinction…

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.

The Story:

In New Covington, a city ruled by vampires, humans can choose to be 'registered', well fed blood cattle, or starve. Allison Sekemoto lives on the fringes, unregistered, and scrapes by a meager existence scavenging for food.

That is until she's attacked by 'rabids'-- mindless vampires, who share more in common with zombies than the Salvatores--and offered a choice by an unlikely savior: die, or become a vampire, the thing she hates most. Well, it's really not a question. Allie is a survivor, and if she has to survive as a vampire, so be it. She stays with her vampire mentor, Kanin, learning her new way of 'life', and to fight, until she is forced to flee.

Joining a group of humans searching for an almost mythical vampire-free city, Allie must try pass as human, and learn for herself what kind of monster she will become... which is made even harder as she finds herself breaking one of the first rules she learned in her undeath: never get attached to humans...

Thoughts:

Believe it or not, Vampire dystopians are nothing new. Take Daybreakers, with Ethan Hawke and Sam Neill. Flash back to I Am Legend, and its unfortunate adaptations. More recently, we have Priest. Yet Kagawa takes a supernatural creature that's been done to death all over again, and gives it, well, a third life—a life after afterlife, perhaps. Kagawa builds a world of crumbling cities, deadly darkness, and to quote another reviewer, one “full of people whose humanity is slipping in favour of a harsh survivalist mentality." A world of monsters both supernatural, and very much flesh-and-beating-heart humanity, stripped to a cold, dark core.

It’s in this world we find Allison Sekemoto: street-rat human, blood-hungry ‘monster’, and in both incarnations, still just a lost girl struggling to find her place in the world. While a long, hard physical journey consumes many of the book’s hefty 451 pages, the real focus of the story is a journey far more insular: Allie’s journey towards not just accepting, but embracing herself. Learning she has a choice in the monster she chooses to be.

Allie is tough, callous, and she makes no apologies. She is a survivor, and survival really is of the fittest in her world. Yet she grows over the course of The Immortal Rules, not only becoming a tougher, more ‘badass’ girl, but a kinder, more selfless one. In a world where selflessness can see you dead, or starved, Allie is an oddity, and perhaps doesn’t even realise it herself. In the change from human to vampire, she struggles to cling to her humanity—the essential goodness, and innate compassion we define as ‘human,’ for the Immortal Rules is nothing if not a fascinating study in ‘human’ nature—but it is interesting to note she is perhaps more ‘human’ as a monster, than she ever was with a pulse, and a warm, beating heart.

While certainly there, and indeed a key, beautifully done part of the plot, the romance in The Immortal Rules is subtle. It's an organic thing, slowly growing throughout the book, but it's not its focus. This is Allie's story. Her growth. Her choices. Her monster. But her relationships, whether romantic, warm, cold, or the fascinating dynamic she shares with her mentor, are crucial and compelling.

The Verdict:

The Immortal Rules is many, very exciting, things. It's action packed, it's cinematic, it's romantic and exhilarating, but it is also something more: A quality of storytelling and strength of narrative that lift it above 'just another' vampire book, or indeed, as trends lean more and more in the direction, another dystopian. Kagawa's storytelling has a depth, and her world building scope, that lend The Immortal Rules a decidedly grown-up feel. Not in the sense that it has only adult allure—though it is certainly a novel that has the cross market appeal of the likes of The Hunger Games—but it is a story with a depth and maturity; one that is fleshed out and fully grown, and is the work of a writer comfortable and confident in her ability—and rightly so. Kagawa tells her story with the easy grace and unflinching honesty of a master, and it would not be so hard to compare it to the likes of Suzanne Collins, or an early-era-Obernewtyn Isobelle Carmody.

Bleak, cinematic, utterly compelling and—most excitingly—new, The Immortal Rules brings some fresh blood to the YA scene… exactly what those lurky vampires were waiting for. If you thought vampires were safely buried in their crypts, staked, or put out in the sun, think again. The Immortal Rules is a very different take on the parasitic creatures of the night, and it's not a romanticized, sanitized version, either. Sharing something more akin with zombie horror and Mad Max than a teen romance, The Immortal Rules is a dark, gritty study in human nature. After all, what separates us from monsters, from the things that go bump in the night? You're about to find out.

Books in This Series:

  1. The Immortal Rules (May 2012)
  2. As Yet Untitled (expected 2013)
An enormous thank you to HarlequinTEEN Australia for providing a review copy of The Immortal Rules!

Gotta ask: given the choice, would you be a 'fringer', a human surviving on the fringes of society, or a vampire... hands down I know what I'd choose *bares fangs* >:D

34 comments:

  1. I have to say that the things that interest me most in The Immortal Rules are the subtle romance and the whole dysfunctional society thing. You and I tend to have very similar tastes in books, Sarah, so if you loved it, I know I'll enjoy it too!

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    1. I really think you will, Nat! It's SUCH a good book... so much more depth, so much more... just more than I could have hoped and expected... and it's dark and gritty, and bleak... but it never seems hopeless... It's all about Allie. Allie MAKES this book.

      Hehe, we *DO* have rather fab taste in fiction, don't we? :D

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  2. Every word you put in this review is perfection Sarah! I absolutely loved how you summarized the story and brought on the main points of the story of the goodness in a world gone mad. i'm so excited to read this book now!

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    1. Aw, Rachel, you're going to do naughty, naughty things to my ego... you're like a box full of donuts and a waistline. Thank you! It's a truly brilliant book--I really hope you love it :)

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  3. Vampire dystopian? Woah! "It's action packed, it's cinematic, it's romantic and exhilarating..." Um, this sounds amazing! Fantastic review, you've definitly sold me! Now for the copy I won to arrve... <3

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    1. ♥ B ♥ E ♥ C ♥ C ♥ A ♥

      Have I mentioned you're fabulous? Can't wait for you to get to read it! xx

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    2. I'm fabulous am I? *blushes like a mad man* Oh, shucks. Your the most fabulous though! It can't be denied that's for sure!

      WHO ELSE THINK'S SARAH IS AMAZING! <333

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  4. Yay! I'm so glad you loved this book as much as I did, Sarah. I agree with pretty much everything you said in your review. I only wished the sequel was out right now . . . because the end of The Immortal Rules is still killing me. Anyway fantastic review!

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    1. AGDHFALJFA! RIGHT? Oooh, I want book 2 nownownownownownoooooow! Seriously! It's gonna have more K A N I N!!!! O______o

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  5. SARAH. So today seems to be a day of pointing to above comments saying, 'WHAT SHE SAID!' so I'd like to go stick my finger in the middle of Rachel's comment and say 'THIS, SARAH. THIS." Per. Fec. Tion.

    I love this in particular, but it is interesting to note she is perhaps more ‘human’ as a monster, than she ever was with a pulse, and a warm, beating heart. Beautifully said and SO true. Such a fascinating thing to see her in a more 'human' light when she was vampire rather than ACTUAL human.

    I'm so glad you loved this. I'm so in love with your review. I so think you should read The Iron Fey now :D TIR pushed Lisa to do it and I hear that girl is LOVING THEM *pushes you to be a follower*

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    1. I WILL! I WILL! I WILL FOLLOW THE LISA! hehehe.
      Seriously, they're going to be the VERY next non-ARC books I read, with the MAYBE exception of Bitterblue... but eeee! WANT TO REEEEAD!

      Thanks you, Brodie! I loved it SO much, and it was just so much more. More than I expected, more than I hoped, more than so many books are, and I'm giddy with excitement :D

      ALSO: *pokes* HIIIIIII! *runs away*

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    2. FOLLOW THE LISA. Hehe. AHHHH tell me how Bitterblue is when you read it. My TBR will hate me for it, especially all those crazy review copies, but I NEED TO schedule Fire in soon!

      I love when you find a book that EXCEEDS all your hopes, they're the special shelf kind :D

      *waves shyly* Hiiii :)

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    3. Special shelf kind! YES! My VA books have their own special shelf ^___^

      And I have one with the 3 THG books, Divergent/Insurgent, Shatter Me, and the Shiver books. Thatr's the *VERY* special shelf XD

      Delete
  6. GAH! I think I'm like, the only one who hasn't read this and I've had the egalley for everz!! All the reviews are amazing and getting me seriously excited to read this but I can't for another week or 2 *cries*

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    1. Aaaah, Giselle! I HATE that. I mean... it's a NICE problem to have, where you have too many books to review, but when you really want to read ONE, but have too many obligations? Noooo :(

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  7. Great review - I'm tempted. Watch out for another vampire book by Asa Bailey called The Highgate Vampire. No lovey dovey vampires here. These vampires kill!
    I'm only a third of the way through it, but it's good - creepy, gothic and well told (watch my blog for a review!!)
    Brona's Books

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  8. SARAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    *hugs*
    GEEZ, I haven't been commenting on your blog lately! *sobs* SORRRRYYYY!!!

    Anyway....

    If I'm not mistaken, this is your first Julie Kagawa book? But I AM SO GLAD YOU LOVED IT!!!! EEEEEEE, wait till you read The Iron Fey series. You are going to LOVE IT. ASH IS WAITING FOR YOU!!! ;)

    AWESOME AWESOME review, Sarah! <3

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  9. Great review, Saz! I haven't been that convinced about this book but I do like that Julie has given us more 'real' vamps and I'm with you, I'd choose to be a vamp!

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  10. "The Immortal Rules is a dark, gritty study in human nature."

    That about sums it up. Though the lack of direction and plot bothered me, I 100% agree with everything you said.

    I love finding books that are so different from the vampire norm. This book had a complete different feel from the ones I have read lately.

    This book totally took me back to Daybreakers, but the characterization in this book is beyond what a movie can pull off.

    Great review.

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  11. OMG OMG OMG, dont you just loved it when your favorite bloggers enjoyed the books you also enjoyed yourself? Hurrayyy! Sensational review Sarah, I always loved how you write your review so entertaining and very interesting. loved it!! <3 dying for book 2 omg and itsg oing to be a movie omg omg omg!!!!

    Ƹ̴Ӂ̴ƷFICBOOKREVIEWSƸ̴Ӂ̴Ʒ

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  12. THIS BOOK WAS AWESOME.

    So I'm very glad to hear that you loved it! :D It definitely isn't like any other vampire book (*cough* Twilight *cough*), and Allison is kick-ass! *happy sigh*

    I think I'd be a vampire, too. Obviously, I'd learn how to control the hunger and not kill anyone. Or try to, anyway.

    Great review! I enjoyed it! :D

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  13. Amazing review! Everything I loved about the book was said right here ;) TIR was very cinematic, which is why I was so insanely excited when the book was optioned for film! Fingers crossed that it actually turns into something because this would be gold as a movie <3

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  14. Amazing review :) You know, it was a toss up between this and Death Note the other day at Dymocks... I chose Death Note, it was cheaper... Now I wish I got this instead :(

    I HAD NO IDEA THIS WAS A VAMPIRE-DYSTOPIAN! AWESOME! I'm so excited to read this because the vampires sound completely badass and not sparkly *grins*

    AWESOME and beautifully written review as always! And given the choice, I think I'd be a vampire ahhhahahhaaa! (That was meant to be an evil laugh, incase you didn't get it :S)

    AHHH MUST. READ. KAGAWA. ASAP.
    <3

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  15. Awesome and amazing review..i loved this book and cannot wait to get my hands on book two..good-by sparkly vampires!

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  17. EVERY body loved Kawaga's Iron Fey series so when I read book #1 and gave it one star it was literally the biggest disappointment to have ever happened to me and now The Immortal Rules sounds really good, everybody is enjoying it but I'm scared it will be a repeat experience of what I felt while reading The Iron King and that is something I don't want to go through again. But as always, your review is flawless and so effortless eloquent I have no choice but to force my self to try this book in hopes that I adore as much as you did :D

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  18. Brilliant review Sarah! I agree that Julie Kagawa brought somehting new and fresh to both the vampire world and post-apocalyptic/dystopian world. The storytelling was amazing, right? I was actually glad the romance wasn't centre-stage for a change as it allowed room for better world building and a more complex plot. I'm definitely looking forward to the next book! :)

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  19. "Someone call the ICUN..." Awww, Sarah, YOU'RE SO AWESOME! x) I agree with everything in your review so much that I literally threw a fist up in the air and cheered when I saw that it wasn't only who thought that Allie deserved a plaque of awesomeness for being such a real, flawed, and totally awesome female character! And maybe there might be less and less vampires coming out nowadays, but it doesn't matter if there HAD been a million because Julie's would still be a standout! <3

    Beautiful and brilliant and totally SARAHed review, Sarah-bara! Would it be repetitive if I told you once again how much I adore you? :')

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  20. OH MY GOOOOOOOOD!! my dear! you are killing me! I havent been able to read this book yet sniff!!! and you are killing me with this awesome review holy cow!!!

    you tease!!!!!!!!!!

    I hope I can get to it soon! snif!!

    awesome review my sweet!! muah!! happy reading! ^.^ XOXOXOXOXO

    Dazzling Reads

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  21. Ohh! I'm getting my own copy soon. I've been dying to read this for a while now. I can't wait to start it. Wonderful review!

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  22. You know, this whole book confused the heck out of me. I still haven't read it, but I read the blurb weeks ago. Then I read the first page, then I read a very confusing review. I have only read the first few paragraphs of your review, but it clarified EVERYTHING. O.O

    So.. Thank you. <3

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  23. Funny that you mention Priest because that's exactly what I was reminded of, first impression wise.

    I SUCK, SARAH. I said I was going to read this review days ago. Well, I'm reading it now AND I LOVED YOUR TAKE. You talk about it almost reverently and make sure to point out that this book, full of all its darkness and talk of monsters both surreal and everyday, is about ALLIE. This IS Allie's story. A small part of me was disappointed that the romance had so little time, yet I wasn't altogether displeased because the focus SHOULD BE on Allie and her long, fluid journey.

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  24. Awesome reviewwwwwww. Omg, I'm so excited to hear you liked it so much! It's my next read and I'm so freaking excited *jumps up and down* Although I'm trying not to have my hops too high, but it's hard as it sounds so awesome. Lol!

    And of course I'd want to join you on the fang-side. ;F Mwahha

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