The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

Just finished reading Immortal Rules by Julia Kagawa as part of her Blood of Eden series.  I actually liked this more than I anticipated.  Now, I realise that seems a negative thing to say but there has been rather a flush of vampire/dystopia books on the market for quite some time and so whilst part of me thought I’d give it a go, another part was a bit reluctant so this book had a bit of work to win me over and it succeeded.

Basically, the premise for the book is fairly simple.  Set about 60 years into the future a disease has spread through the world killing off many people – a bit like a plague, Red Lung, struck fast and laid cities and towns to waste.  At this point the vampires, who have always secretly lived amongst us, became exposed.  Their meals on legs were diminishing rapidly and the threat of human extinction forced them into the open!  Action was needed and the vampire overlords set up cities, cities, with humans working for them and also acting as donors.  Supposedly a peaceful arrangement although given the predatory nature of vampires people still mysteriously disappeared from the streets.  The vampires therefore found a way to survive.  What of the humans, why would they live in this way?  Well, not only vampires came out of the woodwork when the strange plague hit.  Rabids also became abundant.   Not quite vampire, not quite human and any human bitten by one will themselves succumb to the disease.  And so, Rabids seem to have become the majority shareholder!  There’s a lot of them and like vampires they’re strong, fast and lethal.  They move only in the night and constantly crave blood – unlike vampires however they have no restraint and are driven into a frenzy at the sight of humans.

At the start of the story we are introduced to Allison.  An orphan, Allison refuses to be one of the masses donating blood.  She lives unregistered in the outer limits of the city.  Life as an unregistered is hard.  Always hungry, begging for food and constantly scared of being caught and punished, sometimes driven to the extreme of going beyond the city walls to scavenge for left overs.  Outside the walls live the rabids.  They can smell the humans and their desire for blood drives them to cities where their prey is more abundant.  On one such occasion when the pangs of hunger are unbearable Allison discovers a secret cache of food outside the walls perimeters.  The following day she returns with her small gang to retrieve the food but disaster strikes when the rabids attack.  Near to death, salvation for Allison comes in the form of a vampire who gives her the choice of immortality.  Will she choose to become one of the monsters that she’s always loathed or will she instead choose death?  Well, it would have been a fairly short story if Allison had made the latter choice!

I’m not going to go into the rest of the plot too much.  Allison goes from vampire in training, to travelling in a pack of homeless people trying to find ‘Eden’ to a daring rescue attempt from a cruel city run by a powerful overlord and populated by bandits.

What I liked about this book was that the author gives us a strong likeable character.  Allison is no simpering female.  She’s lived a harsh life and as a consequence she’s tough.  As a vampire though she’s beset by internal conflict, a little like Louis in Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire.  I don’t suppose we’re introduced to anything new or revolutionary here.  Vampires need blood to survive, they sleep in the day and would die if exposed to sunlight.  A stake in the heart and decapitation are the best ways of extermination.  I suppose what is different is Allison’s attempt to cling to her humanity and not to let her inner demons take control.

In terms of the rest of the characters not a lot really stand out so far.  Allison narrates the story and some of the other characters pale a little bit in comparison.  I certainly thought the overlord baddie could have been worked on a little more.

Of course I did have a few criticisms.  There is a little bit of repetitiveness in the story where you have a feeling of deja vu when reading.  There was also the consideration of whether the author would fall into the human/vampire love ‘thing’ and whilst she didn’t totally succumb there is the start of a romance developing at the end of the story.  I’m not really a big fan of this scenario.  My other little niggle was the cover – I know I shouldn’t bang on about it but the cover of this book doesn’t seem to me to portray an asian girl.

Other than that I thought this was a good start to the series and I will definitely continue.  I look forward to seeing how Allison develops.

I received a copy of this book through the publishers via NetGalley in return for a honest opinion.

11 Responses to “The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa”

  1. nrlymrtl

    I have been tempted to read this book but keep getting distracted by other books. You know how that happens. Also, I am a little fatigued of the vampire mythos…..which is funny because I recently finished I Am Legend – but I didn’t know going into it, I swear!

    • lynnsbooks

      What did you think of I am Legend and have you seen the film??
      Lynn 😀

      • nrlymrtl

        I Am Legend isn’t like I expected. Hope to polish the review soon and have it up. It was an interesting jaunt through human despair.

        I saw the Will Smith movie a few years ago – interesting. Apparently there is an older movie, Omega Man with Charleton Heston, that is also based on this book. I have not seen it.

  2. Grace

    I don’t know much about Julie Kagawa’s writing (other than the fact that she’s massively popular), but it seems like an interesting premise. 🙂

    • lynnsbooks

      I liked that the main character was trying to not be a monster and give in to her inner beast! I did try to read Kagawa’s fey series but it wasn’t for me – I think that’s why I was a bit dubious to start with. I quite enjoyed this though. I think it could do with a bit more character development but I’ll wait to see with No.2
      Lynn 😀

  3. TBM

    A series. No way, you never read books in a series. I liked Louis’s character a lot in Interview so I may take to this one as well. Of course I haven’t finished the Rice series yet.

    • lynnsbooks

      I know – I keep saying no more series but then to be truthful it’s difficult to find a standalone novel these days! And then of course I start picking up mega series like Sanderson and GRRMartin – not to mention Peter Brett and Brent Weeks!! (that = a lot of pages). Whatever happened to just a single book! Ahhh, the good old days. I blame Tolkien

  4. jenclair

    I really enjoyed this one and The Eternity Cure by Kagawa. I look forward to the next one.

    • lynnsbooks

      Ahhh, then perhaps this is why I picked this up – did I see a review on your blog?? I know I had a reason for picking it up but I couldn’t remember who from. Looking forward to No.2.
      Lynn 😀

  5. Victoria

    I had read both of the books that are The Immortals Rule and The Eternity Cure. Those two books were the most interesting books I’ve ever read. I was in tears for the second book and I hope that book three will come out soon. I will love to become a novelist because my passion in life is writing. 😊

    • lynnsbooks

      Wow, now you’re really got my interest about book No.2. Thanks
      Lynn 😀

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