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Monday, April 23, 2012

Review: The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden #1) by Julie Kagawa


Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Published: April 24, 2012
Pages: 504
Source: For Review from Harlequin Teen/NetGalley (Thank you!)
Rating: 4 Stars


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.

In short: Julie Kagawa brings freshness to a tired genre in The Immortal Rules, by pairing it with an expansive dystopian world and a heroine who is a survivor before all else.
Confession: I haven't read a vampire book since Twilight. With the plethora of vampire related books, movies, and tv shows, I quickly became burnt out on vampires and have been avoiding most vampire-related media ever since. So it was with a bit of trepidation that I decided to read The Immortal Rules. But I'm so glad I did. Including the dystopian genre into this vampire book made The Immortal Rules infinitely more interesting for me to read. And in fact, the vampire element really didn't play as huge a role as I was expecting even though protagonist, Allison, is one herself.

The Immortal Rules is the first of Julie Kagawa's books I have read and she quickly won me over with her expansive world building and involved action scenes. I read a ton of dystopians and as such, many of them have a tendency to blur together and certain recurring plot elements seem unoriginal and boring. But though it is true that some of these recurring dystopian plot elements appear in The Immortal Rules, combining them with the mythology of the vampires and rabids kept The Immortal Rules fresh and interesting. It is no surprise that The Immortal Rules has already been optioned for film as the numerous and involved action scenes could make for a great action-packed blockbuster. In particular, the image of Allison battling rabids with her katana is one that sticks with you and would be good for a poster or something - just like the image of Katniss with her bow.

I liked Allison for the most part, though questioned some of her decisions and motivations at times. Still, I can't help but root for someone who remains a survivor and maintains her morals even after being dealt a pretty crummy hand in life. I'm so used to reading vampire fics where the heroine is human and being wooed by the dangerous vampire, so to turn that around and have the vampire heroine who is struggling to maintain her humanity and not lose control in front of the boy she likes made for a fascinating, unique read for me. I also liked that Allison was Asian, which is something of a rarity in YA. But I am confused as to why the model used on the cover and in the book trailer is not. How hard would it have been to have found and used an actual Asian model?

I will say that I felt it took The Immortal Rules a while to get going. A good chunk of the beginning was bogged down with exposition that I felt could have been more smoothly interwoven into the text. But the plot really does picks up about halfway through and doesn't ever slow down. If there was one thing that I was able to appreciate from the experience of reading The Immortal Rules, it is that I feel like I am finally able to embrace vampire books again. I think I'm ready. Vampire Academy - I am finally coming for you (-any other recommendations?).

Other Reviews:
The Bookish Type
Supernatural Snark
The Unread Reader

Author Links:
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30 comments :

  1. It really irritated me that the cover model wasn't Asian. But otherwise I loved the book. A fabulous take on vampires - and I'm a big vampire fan.

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    1. It just seems like such an easy thing to fix. Or maybe they thought this girl was passable as an Asian person? LOL, just ridiculous. Also, her eyes shouldn't be red. It's good to hear that even big vampire fans loved it!

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  2. Great review! I agree with Alison . . . it's a shame the cover model wasn't asian considering the character IS asian but nonetheless I LOVED this book and it was great to see a greatly written YA vampire novel. And there I thought vampires were going out of style . . . obviously not in Kagawa's case.

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    1. I'm surprised that we may be seeing a resurgence in vampires as well. I guess Julie Kagawa was able to sell it well to Harlequin Teen - and I think it really paid off because everyone seems to love it even if people are kind of tired of vampires by this point.

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  3. Glad you overall enjoyed this book Aylee .. Everyone is raving over The Immortal Rules and I really want to read it !!
    You so have to read the Vampire Academy series : the first book is good but the series gets more and more amazing .. The third book is beyond awesome !! Happy reading Aylee, I can't wait to know what you think of VA !!

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    1. Yes, I believe I've heard that before about the series. That they get better. I'll keep that in mind when reading Vampire Academy because I only own that one so far. I'm excited to get to it!

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  4. Funny how some of the vampire elements I thought were a bit unoriginal felt fresh to you. I think it's time I took my leave from vampires... GAH! Just typing that nearly gave me a heart attack. LOL

    But really, since Twilight? WOW! Glad, Kagawa was the one to bring you back.

    P.S. I'm with you on the book cover and trailer.

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    1. That is interesting. I guess I really haven't read all that many vampire books to be honest. So it doesn't take much for things to seem more original for me, compared to you. haha, maybe you should take a step back from vampires for a bit! I was thinking of doing that with dystopians, actually.

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  5. YAY! Glad you enjoyed your first Julie Kagawa experience! And that you gave vampires a try again:) I loved this book, I agree the beginning took a while to get started, but I found that to be the case with her Iron Fey series as well - then once I was in, I couldn't get enough of the world and characters! Really fabulous review Aylee:)

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    1. I'm glad too! It was fun and I'll have to do it again sometime. I have also heard that about her Iron Fey series so I'll keep that in mind when I eventually get around to reading it.

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  6. I just finished this one last week and completely agree with everything you said. The last half definitely made up for the slower first half.

    You haven't read Vampire Academy??!! You need to get on that, Aylee! ;)

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    1. Eek, I know! I must be the last blogger in the world at this point... Glad you loved it too!

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  7. It's funny because my co-blogger and I were like WE ARE DONE WITH VAMPIRES! But then I read Vamp Academy (enjoyable but wasn't in love like everyone) and this book. I really like Julie Kagawa's world building too, it was fascinating and creepy. Allison took awhile to grow on me but in the end, I liked her. I really liked that she's Asian too but I'm really upset about the white washing of her on the cover. Once I read that she was Asian, I looked at the cover and was like WTF. Such a disappointment.

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    1. Yeah, I swore off vampires as well. But I think I may be willing to bring them back into my life again. And yeah, what were the cover designers, etc., thinking?! It's like they did not at all care. AND she's not supposed to have red eyes! A big WTF.

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  8. Amazing review! I would love to read this!!! I must get myslef a copy soon! And OMGHOWHAVEYOUNOTREADVAMPIREACADEMYITSSOAMAZING!!!!!!!!

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  9. I was totally a skeptic going in to this book as well because of the whole vampire thing but I ended up LOVING it. I agree that I wish they could have gotten an Asian model for the cover. How hard could it be? If the movie does end up getting made they better cast an Asian chick. I would be beyond disappointed if they white washed it. Then again I wouldn't be too surprised since it happens all the time. :/ But yeah great review. Awesome book. :)

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    1. I can't imagine it would have been difficult at all really. I'm pretty sure there are a ton of Asian models they could have hired for the part. Ugh. I can't imagine they would do it for the movie - I mean, surely there would be a huge fan uproar? And I imagine the author wouldn't be too pleased either...

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  10. Mmm... Interesting!
    For what I've been reading about it, people either love it or not. I don't know in which camp I will land since I've never read this author before but I hope I like it :D

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    1. I hope you like it too! ...but I'm not convinced you will to be honest, Alex, knowing what I know about you and dystopians. It was a pretty bleak world.

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  11. Great review! I'm so glad this book brings freshness to the genre. I haven't read many vamp books lately, but I may have to drop my reserve for this one.

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    1. I would recommend it; I thought it was definitely worth breaking my vampire ban for.

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  12. I've read plenty of vampire books since Twilight, but I'm always up for more -- especially since it sounds like Julie Kagawa offers something different with hers. I'm very interested in the internal struggle Allison feels so I'm excited to get to this soon. Great review, Aylee!

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    1. I guess I hadn't ever read a vampire book where the girl was a vampire rather than influenced by vampires. So I was really impressed with the depth of emotion and struggle that Alison had to go through. Very well done, I thought!

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  13. Aylee, you pretty much covered everything I'll probably end up discussing in my review :) The first half took a while to get through but the second half was worth it. I also really liked that Allie struggles with trying to stay human but manages to screw up once in a while. And this one is my first Kagawa book too!

    Yeah, I don't understand why that cover doesn't show an Asian model.

    Hope you love the Vampire Academy series. It's so addictive! Have you read Drink, Slay, Love by Sarah Beth Durst? That's a vampire read I really enjoyed.

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    1. Yeah, it seems quite a few people feel the same way about the plotting in this one. But overall, the second half made the first half worth it. I'll be looking forward to reading more from Julie Kagawa.

      I am a bit nervous as to whether I'll like Vampire Academy or whether I'll find it too tacky as I often find paranormal romances. We'll see, I guess. I haven't read Drink, Slay, Love but it sounds funny!

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  14. Allison fights with a katana--so cool! She sounds badass already. I want to see how she struggles with her vampirism, and this boy. Interesting how it's the girl who has to hold herself back this time haha. I think I'd like this alot, especially that you say it would translate to a movie well.

    I hope you like Vampire Academy!!

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    1. Yeah, I think the reason why I was so tolerant of this vampire novel is that it seemed a bit fresher because it was the girl who was the bloodthirsty vampire and I, personally, had never read something like it before. It has movie material written all over it. I hope you love it!

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  15. I'm glad you liked this book. For some reason I have zero interest in reading it. I think I really dislike YA novels that feature vampires. This does sound different though. Maybe someday.

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    1. Honestly, because it wasn't the best vampire book ever, you would probably be fine with skipping it. But I still think there's a fair chance that you might be happily surprised by it.

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