Thank you to Harlequin Teen and NetGalley for providing and advanced copy of this book for review!
I have to start this off by saying that Julie Kagawa blew my expectations away. In this saturated genre, I never expected such a refreshing take on the vampire story, and I truly enjoyed this book.
The Immortal Rules takes place in a dystopian future where vampires rule over cities and humankind have been all but wiped out by the Red Lung disease. Humans have little choice—either become a marked as a registered 'pet' used for feeding, or choose to be free but have to fend for yourself. Allie Sekemoto is one of these unregistered humans, constantly living in hunger and facing the harsh realities of life in New Covington. She's tough, she's street smart and she would rather starve than take a vampire’s mark.
One night when Allie wanders out of the city walls to find food, she is attacked by Rabids (zombie-like vampires who cannot control their hunger) and left for dead. A mysterious vampire comes and offers her a choice—either die or become like him. I really admire Allie's self-preservation instinct here, even though she knew she would struggle living as something she hates. It's refreshingly different from so many other heroines that want to throw themselves into danger, not appreciating the value of their lives or thinking about the consequences. The entire turning scene was so grim it made me feel ill and I attribute that to great writing. This book does not shy away from the unpleasant.
Kagawa excels as always at world-building, this time by adding her own twists to vampire and zombie lore. There is nothing romanticised in this book in the slightest. The environment is extremely harsh and it’s survival of the fittest where it matters most—in the real world. Despite a few slow-moving sections in the middle, the majority of the book was paced well. There were so many plots and reveals throughout the story that I couldn’t put the book down. I just had to find out more about the intriguing future they all lived in.
The book follows Allie’s journey of discovery as she learns more about why things are the way they are in her world. She is an extremely well-developed heroine. We see her dealing with her internal struggles, such as coming to grips with her morality versus her need to survive and learning cruel lessons about leaving her past behind. She’s flawed, brave and you can’t help but root for her all the way through the book.
The supporting cast is equally great. Kanin, Allie’s vampire sire, acts as a ‘sexy Yoda’ (never thought I would use those two words together), mentoring the newly turned Allie. He clues Allie in about the state of the world, and teaches her about how to sate her blood lust and how to defend herself (katanas, baby). He also has a deep backstory himself, and I’m looking forward to more of him in the books to come.
And of course the world isn’t complete without a love interest—good, kind, human Zeke, a God-fearing natural leader with not a trace of arrogance about him. It’s so rare to find a male character in young adult fiction that isn’t afflicted with ‘I’m too emo for my shirt’ syndrome. Sure he had his own struggles and doubts to contend with, but it was mainly about the welfare of others, not just himself. It was a pleasure to see his relationship with Allie develop slowly, convincingly and a little bittersweetly as both of them had very realistic notions about where their attraction could go. So refreshing.
I was also extremely satisfied with the ending. To me, there was a nice balance of wrapping up the current story and leaving other things in the air to keep you wanting more from the sequels. Which I definitely do. Overall, a fantastic read!(less)
Good concept, but I wasn't too fond of the writing. It lacked a little emotion, which suited the story but didn't make me enjoy it as much as I could'...moreGood concept, but I wasn't too fond of the writing. It lacked a little emotion, which suited the story but didn't make me enjoy it as much as I could've. Solid though.(less)
4.5 stars. I really enjoyed it. Great premise, intelligently thought out, enough suspense and mystery to keep you wanting more and really imaginative....more4.5 stars. I really enjoyed it. Great premise, intelligently thought out, enough suspense and mystery to keep you wanting more and really imaginative. Plus I liked Amy and Elder a whole lot. Highly recommended.(less)
This novella is a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. In this version, the wolf and the grandma are the same, with Red discovering that her...more2.5 stars.
This novella is a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. In this version, the wolf and the grandma are the same, with Red discovering that her grandma, who has taken care of her since her parents died, is a werewolf. After a bit of adjustment with this new revelation, they discover another new werewolf in the woods and team up to investigate who it is.
It was a short, easy read. The author tries to replicate the same writing style as a fairy tale, with succinct, almost childish language and characterisation. It works in one respect, giving the story an almost lyrical feel, however lessens the impact/relevance of the mature content. In this respect, I don't think the style matched.
That said, it was a fun read, ideal for those that like variations on their favourite fairy tales.(less)
It started off well as the story of Ashlyn, daughter of a rich lawyer and completely overprotected. Her dad hires a new bodyguard, Colin, her...more2.5 stars
It started off well as the story of Ashlyn, daughter of a rich lawyer and completely overprotected. Her dad hires a new bodyguard, Colin, her childhood bully, to be with her all the time. They bicker, there's chemistry, they evenutally fall in love.
There was just a whole load of other family drama that detracted from the story, to be honest. A fuller review to come.(less)
Unfortunately, both characters were too unlikable and it was actually quite boring. The only redeeming quality were the emails. The entire book should...moreUnfortunately, both characters were too unlikable and it was actually quite boring. The only redeeming quality were the emails. The entire book should've been written like that, not through Ana's damn inner goddess.
Have no idea if I should persevere with this series. Even the sex scenes aren't as good as some of my Harlequin/Carina press books.(less)
It was ok. I think I'm too old for this book, which is tough for me to say because I always feel (wish) that I'm still 18. There was all too much angs...moreIt was ok. I think I'm too old for this book, which is tough for me to say because I always feel (wish) that I'm still 18. There was all too much angst, which I expected, but what I didn't expect was that I didn't really care about Rose. Full review to come.(less)
I expected a lot more from the summary and the reviews that I've read. How are they going to make a sequel, 'tests' were lame, not completely...more2.5 stars
I expected a lot more from the summary and the reviews that I've read. How are they going to make a sequel, 'tests' were lame, not completely sold on the chemistry between Kate and Henry, interesting name choices for the pantheon, Kate was extremely annoying as a herione!(less)
After the whirlwind of genres that the first book in the series gave us, I was thrilled to learn...more3.5 stars, review originally posted on Winged Reviews
After the whirlwind of genres that the first book in the series gave us, I was thrilled to learn the second book would dip into one of my favourites, Historical Fiction. I wasn't disappointed, as the story took us to Elizabethan England (one of my favourite time periods) and seamlessly incorporated famous historical figures like Christopher Marlowe and Queen Elizabeth I herself. However, as much as I loved being in Diana and Matthew's historic world, the book moved slowly. While I loved some aspects of the cross-genre writing, the best part of the book for me, the plot, suffered as a result.
What I can say about this book is that it's smart. Details are meticulously researched. I enjoyed how out-of-place Diana worked hard at speaking, writing, dressing and behaving in correct 16th Century fashion. I loved the flash forwards that showed how Diana and Matthew's foray into the past left traces on the modern day. Harkness also brings to life into the science of Elizabethan alchemy (a precursor to modern chemistry) and the menace of the witch-hunts going on during that time.
The book isn't just all details and history though. Diana and Matthew's foray into Sept-Tours and meeting Matthew's deceased father Philippe was full of heart and great character development. I felt their struggles and learned to admire their devotion to each other. There was no "will-they-won't-they" here—they were firmly committed to each other. They argued like a normal couple and resolved their differences in a mature way. It was great to see a marriage of equals and them working hard to gain the love and respect of their respective families and friends.
However, I felt this section stalled the plot and impatient me wanted to get to the gist of the book as soon as possible: when we left Diana and Matthew at the end of the last book, they time-weave (time-wove?) back into the past in order to learn more about the mysterious Ashmore 782 and Diana's abilities. As there are so many plot points in the book, it's hard to find the right balance. For the mystery-solver and para-sci-fi geek in me, what I wanted read about the most was origins of witches, vampires, daemons and their powers. In that sense, the romance almost ruined it for me. I did enjoy the funny sections though, especially the trip to Prague, which felt almost like a comedy-sketch! Seriously, what genre can't Harkness write in?
Putting all those gripes aside though, when we get to the reveals, I was thoroughly impressed. Harkness has created a carefully crafted paranormal system, with its own hierarchy and rules. When we finally discover what Diana's powers are, it manages to fit seamlessly into the world but remained surprising at the same time. And it was the same when we discover the truth about Ashmole 782.
Naturally we are left with another nail-biting cliffhanger and a shocking ending. I honestly can't wait for it to all come together at the end, because I do think the last book will be phenomenal.(less)