Friday, April 20, 2012

Me on The Immortal Rules

Title: The Immortal Rules
Author: Julie Kagawa
Release Date: April 24, 2012
Publisher: HarlequinTeen

Allison survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city, by scrounging for food during the day. Some days, it's her hatred of them, the vampires, that keeps her going, but then one night she's attacked and she has to make the ultimate choice. Die, or become a vampire. Faced with her own looming mortality, Allie becomes what she hates, and to survive she has to learn the rules of being immortal. But then she's forced to flee into the unknown, into the wilds of the world outside the city she's always known, and falls in with a group of humans seeking a legend, a cure for the rabid creatures that threaten both the vampires and the humans. But it isn't always easy to pass as human, especially around a certain boy, and Allie has to decide what, or who, is worth dying for.

The Immortal Rules is a refreshing vampire YA novel in a saturated market. Fast-paced and exciting, readers are always on a journey with Allison, the human turned semi-reluctant vampire. The concept is nothing new, a human turned and hiding her vampirism from other humans, but the author has tweaked it enough that, mixed with the dystopic/post-apocalyptic disease setting, the book isn't left feeling old and stale. This book has a uniqueness that will help it stand out and grab hold of readers.

The most surprising and enjoyable element of this book was the pacing. It was almost always fast and moving. When it wasn't, it wasn't moments of stalling but instead times of contemplation for Allie. Who wouldn't need time to think and learn about being a vampire?

Allie has loads of guts and strength. Some reluctant vampires are bothersome, no one really wants to spend their time reading a book about someone filled to the brim with complaints and self-pity, but Allison was different. It wasn't that she was necessarily thrilled to be a vampire, but she didn't spend most of the book harping on it. It was like she had a kind of tenuous understanding, that all the wishing in the world wasn't going to turn back time, that she couldn't snap her fingers and be human again, scrounging for food and struggling to survive and stay Unregistered.

There's an old world feel to the book, most likely brought on by the ruins of the cities, the starvation, the desperation, but it didn't feel ancient or medieval. It's very much a ruined future for the human race in a familiar setting. I'm noticing this more and more, dystopian novels taking place within 100 years of the current date. In that time, there will be differences, but hopefully not enough to completely alienate readers, make them feel like they're reading something that takes place thousands of years in the future.

I don't always want to talk about book length, but I'm curious if books are getting longer. I don't think with this book it's an issue. Yes, it's fairly big, and yes, there's a lot of action and confusion and Allie's philosophical musings on being human and being a vampire, but with this story I feel it worked. There were points where I thought the story could've ended, but not enough had happened. So much does happen to Allie in this book, but everything moved along at a quick pace. There was rarely enough time for Allie to catch her breath, if she felt like breathing at all.

This book was something new and fresh, standing out amongst all the other YA novels with vampire characters. Hopefully, readers will give it a try. I imagine fans of the authors previous work, The Iron Fae series, will also enjoy this.

(I received an e-galley of this book to review from Harlequin through NetGalley.)

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