Monday, April 30, 2012

The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa


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.

I am nowhere near done with vampires yet so when I heard about this book I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. I mean, how great does that synopsis sound? I was excited by the grittiness of it and the general desperation of the remaining humans. It's quite a sizeable book but it didn't take me long to read. Written in the first person, Allie is instantly likeable. She's in a pretty awful situation but hasn't yet lost heart or her humanity. She looks out for others but can stand up for herself. I was touched that she kept books, even though they are forbidden for humans, some from her mother. I instantly bristled for her when she came home to her squat to find another member of her gang had riffled through her stuff and found her book collection. Despite her mixed feelings about other gang members she puts herself into great danger just to get food for everyone. It's on one of these trips outside the city wall, with the sun soon setting, that she gets attacked by rabids (diseased vampires). A vampire finds her and gives her a choice; die or become immortal. Allie chooses the latter and so her struggle begins.

I found this story to be wonderfully epic. It takes Allie on a massive journey where she becomes a monster but struggles to keep her humanity in check. These are the sort of vampires that I want to read about. I don't want to make the obvious link to Anne Rice but it has that flavour of journey and internal struggle about it. I loved the way that her immortal life seemed to be made up of significant signposts: the time with her maker, her life on the run to her travels with Zeke and the gang of humans. Back to Zeke - he's a great character. Firstly he's a strong leader, cares about others and has his own tragic background. But apart from his compassion he's also, in my mind, perfect for Allie. True to form Allie wants to keep her distance, too worried about the danger she poses to others than her own needs.

This is a great story full of wonderful characters and high stakes. Through Allie's travels we see sad reminders of the way the world used to be: abandoned shopping malls, empty towns, bodies left to rot in houses. Alongside this, however, are signs of the resilience of humans. Despite hoards of rabids who kill or turn every human or animal that come near them, people are managing to survive in small groups or vampire run cities. I found The Immortal Rules fascinating and it finished at such a game changing point, I can't wait to read what happens next.

1 comment:

The Insouciant Sophisticate said...

I really loved this one too although as someone who doesn't really like vampires, I was super nervous to start it. Allie was such a great character and I loved Zeke's strength and compassion to all.