01 July, 2012

The Immortal Rules - Review

The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden, Book 1) by Julie Kagawa
Publication date: 24 April 2012 by Harlequin Teen
ISBN 10/13: 0373210515 | 9780373210510

Category: Young Adult Dystopian Fantasy
Format: Hardcover, ebook
Keywords: Series, Dystopian, Vampires, Zombies
Source: Netgalley

From the jacket copy:

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.

Alethea's Review:

I can't tell if it's partially that I'm burned out on vampires, but I did not enjoy reading The Immortal Rules as much as I did the Iron Fey series. Part of me really wanted to like it. I'm a sucker for dystopians after all--few of my friends shed as many tears as I did over Cormac McCarthy's The Road. I love the sting of tears as I read about puny humans forced to be brave, driven by a desire to protect whatever humanity they have left to them. Sadly, Allison Sekemoto, while at times admirable for her determination and strength in the face of disappointments and setbacks that ring all too real, doesn't quite grab me as other heroines have. It was almost as if she was the plot device in her own story--she's just there, and I am just turning the pages. 

Is it inventive? Sure. Kagawa cooks up some mythology about vampires and zombies that isn't too transparent; she answers just enough questions as the story progresses to keep you just short of the point where you get so frustrated that you put this book down, and go re-read one of her other, better-paced books. I kept trying to discern thematic meaning from the various rules that Allison has to then choose to obey or disobey according to her fast-fading conscience, the least of which is her lust for human blood, but ultimately the plodding pace and the details involving the welfare of the ragtag bunch of people she travels with weighs down the narrative.

Is it satisfying? Marginally. Predictability definitely lends a damper: cute boy (Zeke), somewhat evil father figure (Jeb), benevolent vampiric sire (Lucas) to induct Allison into the second life of the undead, the big bad guy--name not important. They are predictable to the point of forgettable. Other things are a little less predictable, like when rabids will appear on the scene, or when the next meal will come around, but beyond providing a slight feeling of suspense, they don't account for much. Here the author fails to hit the balance between the expected and the surprising; I spent much of the book engaged in eye exercises just to keep my sight going in the right direction.

The most unavoidable flaw was the unbelievability of it all. Normally, I suspend my disbelief for just about anything with a likeable hero, a worthy cause, and seemingly insurmountable odds (part of the reason I enjoyed John Carter so darn much). The Immortal Rules presented me with a relatable protagonist (she's part Asian and loves books!), a good goal (the world is broken, pls. fix), and insanely impossible choices (in a binary system where 0 is vampires and 1 is zombies, humans lose every time) and I still couldn't keep my eyes open long enough to get through more than one chapter a night. There are enough questions left unanswered that most readers will eagerly await the next book, though I won't number among their ranks. 

If you're stuck in an airport or merely want to read through a day at the beach without straining your brain, The Immortal Rules will entertain you for a few hours, maybe more (it's nearly 500 pages!). Just don't expect to remember anything important about it in the morning.

*I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.

You can find the author online at http://www.juliekagawa.com and follow her on Twitter @jkagawa


  1. I've read a lot of good reviews about this book but I'm still hesitant because it's another vampire book. I think I'll take your advice and pick this up when I have nothing better to do. Thanks for the review!

  2. ooh this one is still on my tbr pile. i know what you mean though. sometimes i read a book and, while i enjoyed it, can't remember much about it the next day. i am going to have to give this one a try to see what i think. i love vampires and zombies so i am hoping it can still keep me interested.

  3. Thanks for sharing your perspective-I actually really loved this one but found the beginning very hard. Once she was turned, it picked up for me. Hopefully your next read is better!