Saturday, August 10, 2013

August 2013 Book Review: The Immortal Rules

The Immortal Rules

 By Julie Kagawa
~Book Review~

*Minor Spoilers*

AFTER THE TWILIGHT phenomenon, a new wave of vampire books rose up to counter it, screaming, “Vampires don’t sparkle!” Whatever your opinion on Twilight is, it certainly made us reimagine how we think of the “undead,” and suddenly hot, sexy fallen angels, werewolves, and witches are everywhere in YA paranormal. Want a man of few words who always listens to you while his eyes rove hungrily over your body? Sure, just hook up with a zombie. Sorry mortal men, you better step up your game.

However entertaining it is to read about star-crossed lovers attempting to dance around the “deadly” in seductive Fae, trolls, or what have you, there have been some great cross-over worlds imagined. The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa succeeds at this. Kagawa creates a post-apocalyptic night world organized by “kill zones” and districts, where survivors of the horrid Red Lung Virus are branded by tattoos that mark them as the property of vampire princes. She’s less concerned with romance than exploring gritty Allison Sekemoto’s transition from tooth-and-nails Fringe survivor to vampire apprentice of the mysterious Kanin.

The first half of the book flies by as Allison evades “Rabids,” mindless zombie killing machines, and learns the way of the vampire under Kanin’s stern tutelage. Unfortunately, her loner master has enemies, and Allison finds herself driven from the city and into the wilderness.

The second half the book suffers from the loss of the compelling Kanin and much dawdling about in the woods. Allison meets up with a group of zealous humans intent on finding Eden, a mythical island beyond the reach of vampires and rabids, which again, sounds incredible. Unfortunately, romantic lead Zeke doesn’t have much of a memorable personality, and Allison herself feels rather wooden (it felt like she had more chemistry with her teacher). More time is spent getting to know the various humans of the Eden group, which causes the tension of traveling through a plague-infested world to fizzle, and by the time the intriguing villain Jackal is introduced, it’s too little too late.

Despite execution not quite living up to Kagawa’s obviously brilliant imagination, there is that special something that lures you back to The Immortal Rules time and time again. Allison has a katana, which is awesome. The vampires feel more interesting than the humans, which is a shame, because I always love a good dogmatic zealot. Luckily, the second book in the Blood of Eden series, The Eternity Cure, promises more Kanin and Jackal, and more of Allison being a badass. Yes! Among all the vampire YA offerings out there, this series distinguishes itself.

Recommended for fans of: Richelle Mead, Susan Ee, and Veronica Roth

September Book Review: A toss-up between Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone or Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Shadow and Bone… Smoke and Bone… Maybe I’ll feature both :)

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