If you had any doubt that Julie Kagawa was capable of writing something just as spectacular as The Iron Fey, those doubts would be a waste of time. Once again, Julie has spun her magic and turned out something purely golden with this new dark and gritty tale about vampires and humans struggling to survive in a post-apocalyptic world.
The Immortal Rules, Julie’s first book in her new Blood of Eden series, is a gripping story told from the perspective of a newly Turned vampire determined to hang on to her humanity in a world where basic survival is the only goal. Allison (Allie) Sekemoto begins the story as a human, barely surviving on the fringe of a society ruled by vampires and where humans are ultimately their food source. Allie's life as a human had not been easy for her...starvation, scavenging, fighting just to keep what little she had...was her way of life. She was tough and street-smart, practical and no-nonsense, and at her core, was her tenuous grip on humanity.
What I loved about her was that we got to see how she fought to stay true to herself as both a human and as a newly Turned vampire. Once she became the creature she hated the most, when her inner demon was screaming at her to flee, she struggled with her humanity versus her new, self-preservation instincts. She was now a vampire afterall -- a monster -- but what she had to decide was what KIND of monster she would be. In most stories, including this one, vampires are believed to be soulless beings...Allie challenged that statement at every turn. She was not just a protagonist...she was a heroine in the truest sense of the word.
And yes, as a vampire, she was 'KICK-ASS'!
One of Allie's lucky breaks was that she couldn't have asked for a better sire and mentor than what she got in Kanin. They were actually a lot alike, and in a tough and no-nonense approach, he taught her the mechanics of surviving this crazy world as a new vampire. Throwing her in situations where she had to learn things the hard way ultimately served her well. Kanin had that classic, sexy, vampire arrogance about him but, in his own way, also struggled to maintain that fleeting hold on humanity. I ADORED Kanin!
And something that really surprised me...it wasn't until I was about a third the way through the book that I realized that there was no romance in the story up till that point. Anyone who knows me knows a good love story is an essential component in my reading criteria...but The Immortal Rules was THAT good...I didn't even miss it!
But fear not...there WAS a perfectly-balanced, star-crossed love story--with a tinge of desperation thrown in--between Allie and Ezekiel (Zeke), who is very much human...and a good example of a human, at that. Ezekiel is the 'second in command' of a group of humans attempting to find a non-confirmed place called Eden--a place free of vampires and where people are working on a cure to the virus.
Zeke is the guy who takes the hits for everyone, is fiercely protective of his people, and sees the good in everyone, including--and especially in--Allie. Of course, this was also put to the test.
And Zeke is hard to resist for Allie. She knows deep down that it's unlikely that a promising future awaits them, but he stirs something within her-- even in these desperate times, or perhaps because of these desperate times--that she cannot ignore and is holding onto that one bright spot in her life that is Zeke, against her better judgement.
All the complimentary characters were extremely well written. Good or bad, or somewhere in between--each had their key part in the story...Jebeddiah, Caleb, Ruth, Stick, Jackal, among others were stand-outs for me--whether I liked them or not.
And we can't forget the cree-pee rabids that were a persistent and bloody threat throughout. Rabids came about from some ill-fated experimenting on some vampires while trying to cure the Red Lung virus and is the only population that is growing. They are visceral, savage and attack viciously. They are like the zombies of the vampire world.
The Immortal Rules was intense and a true page-turner. 485 pages?! Pssht...I didn't want it to end!! But it did wrap up nicely...and also sets the stage for the next book, of which I cannot wait for! I was completely engrossed in it and didn't want to put the book down, but sometimes, I just HAD to...but couldn't wait to get back to it.
So my most favourite author has done it again!! I've come to the conclusion that Julie could probably write about mud puddles and create a compelling story. I will also add that I will not compare this new series to my beloved Iron Fey books as that would be like comparing potato chips to chocolate...both are sinfully delicious but in different ways.
Finally, I wanted to thank Harlequin Teen for sending me my own copy of the ARC as well, after I realized I was quoted in the 'Praise for The Iron Fey' page. What an incredible surprise and an honour! Thank you!