Sunday, 8 April 2012

Review of THE IMMORTAL RULES by Julie Kagawa

In a future world, Vampires reign. Humans are blood cattle. And one girl will search for the key to save humanity. 

Source: Galley ARC from Harlequin TEEN via Net Galley
Publish Date: 24th April 2012

I hereby award this book 5 wings!

I think it's clear to see that it was this stunning cover that drew me in. That and the hype that's been buzzing around the blogging/literary community. Everyone was going on that they wanted to read it and couldn't wait fo it to come out. So much so that when the galley for this was first put on Net Galley, the site was overloaded with bloggers going to request it and ended up having a problem for a few hours whereby I couldn't even log in to request it! We were all talking how Julie Kagawa broke Net Galley. I'm not sure if that was the real reason behind the problem at the time but I can only assume it was that or a rather big coincidence.

I was interested in THE IMMORTAL RULES from the moment I saw it. My favourite genre used to be vampires and has since moved on to Dystopian. So imagine my delight knowing that this was a mixture of both. I can tell you, it's a perfect combination! 

Having never read anything by Julie Kagawa before, I was unsure what to expect in her style of writing. Yes, I know you are probably screaming at your screen "What? She's never Read The Iron Fey" Well, the answer is, no I haven't. I would love to and will no doubt get to them in time. 

I can honestly say, I loved THE IMMORTAL RULES. It was epic! I stayed up late into the night just to finish it off. What I found funny was the fact that it took me a couple of days of reading here and there to get to 65% - I tried my hardest to read it as much as possible but, you know, life gets in the way. But when I went to bed last night, I was at 65% and determined to finish it if I could. It had just got to what I thought was the juiciest part yet and I was NOT going to put it down. Well, I did it. I got to the end in that one sitting. It just meant staying up until 1:35am to finish it. I can tell you something, I'm sure glad I did. I was hooked and could not put it down. I kept looking at the time and thinking "I'll finish it tomorrow" but my attention was in the grips of the story and it was not letting go.

Allison Sekemoto lives in the Fringe. But 'lives' isn't exactly the word you would use to describe it. More like she 'exists' or 'survives'. It certainly isn't a happy life. It's one she and her small group of friends have had to carve out for themselves. They live on the outskirts of a vampire city - but the vampires aren't the only thing that go bump in the night for there is also the Rabids. It's hard to explain it to you without spoiling it, suffice to say, they are dangerous and you wouldn't want to bump into one in an alley. Or on an open road. Or indeed anywhere, for that matter.

Allie and the group are Unregistered. Without telling you the ins and outs in too much detail - the Registered donate blood for the vampires, but the Unregistered don't. They also don't have any protection and would be fair game if vampires should happen upon them. 
So anyway, this means that Allie and her friends must scrounge for food. They must live on what they can get. Be it mouldy cheese, stale bread, insects. You name it, they must eat it in order to survive.

So Allie takes it upon herself to go outside the border on a scavenger hunt, where she comes across  a veritable treasure trove of food. There's cans of beans and fruit in syrup. A person could live for months off the amount she discovers. So she returns to the group and tells them they must all go out and gather the food, it was too much for her to carry alone.
What Allie doesn't know yet is, this is only the beginning of the troubles she will encounter.

It's Allie's complete and utter hatred of the vampires that drives her. She hates the way the vampires keep and use humans as 'blood-cattle'. When one night Allie finds herself the victim of an attack, she lies bleeding and dying until a vampire finds her. This vampire offers her a choice. Die or become one of the undead - one of the soulless creatures she abhors. 
Not wanting to die but not wanting to become a vampire, Allie is faced with the toughest of choices and believes that maybe it is the lesser of two evils to be Turned. 

Upon being Turned, her sire tells her how life will be from now on. She doesn't want to feed from humans, instead she would rather live on a diet of rats, deer, whatever animal she can hunt down. But Kanin tells her what she fears the most, she MUST consume human blood, for too long without it and she will turn mad.

Forced to flee, Allie finds herself in the middle of the unknown, the city beyond the walls she grew up in. She comes across a rag-tag group of humans along the way. They take her in and tell her she should travel with them as she stands a better chance of survival as part of the group than out there on her own. Little do they know she is one of the creatures this group fear the most. 
The group are on the road, travelling to try and find the answer to their prayers. A cure to the disease that has ravaged humankind. The disease that created the Rabids, the mindless creatures that are a threat to both vampires and humans alike.  

I must say, the way that Julie Kagawa created the trials and tribulations that both Allie herself and the group as a whole must face is like nothing I have come across before. This story is one of the darkest and most disturbing that I have read. I like that this wasn't girl meets vampire and falls in love, like so many others before it. 

One of the things I liked most about this book was the fact that Allie had to try and pass herself off as human to fit in with the group but it's especially hard for her to do around Zeke who she fears will see the monster that lurks within. 

I know that some people say that the vampire genre is on the way out, but I don't believe so. I think there are still good vampire stories to be had and THE IMMORTAL RULES goes to prove me right. 

I am extremely excited to see where Julie Kagawa takes this story in future books. One thing I know for sure is, it won't be a fairytale. Things will be hard. There will be ups and downs, twists and turns, things you just don't expect - pretty much like this first book.
I honestly didn't know where Kagawa was taking this story. There was nothing transparent about it and that is one of the other things I loved the most. Sometimes, you can tell where a road will lead - not this time. 

So thanks must be given to Harlequin TEEN for giving permission for me to view this galley. Also to Net Galley for being a truly marvellous site - without whom, I would not have read as many ARCs of books. But most thanks goes to Julie Kagawa for creating this dark, disturbing dystopian world - the world for which I didn't have a road map, yet I enjoyed getting lost within the pages and hitting bumps in the road. I look forward to seeing where the road untravelled leads. 

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