Angela's Reviews > The Immortal Rules

The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa
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Apr 26, 12

bookshelves: 2-5-stars, apocalyptic-or-dystopian, arc, horror, paranormal, vampires, young-adult, read-in-2012
Read from March 22 to 27, 2012


Lackluster mash-up of vampires & post-apocalyptic elements, 2.5 stars

In Julie Kagawa’s new BLOOD OF EDEN series, the future is a place of loss and fear: most humans have died due to a world-wide plague and those who remain are controlled by vampire lords in guarded cities. Allie scrapes out a life on the edge of society as one of the humans beyond notice of the vampires. But after she is attacked, she must make a decision: die or become that which she despises? In her new form, Allie must battle between blood lust and humanity, especially as her journey takes her outside the city walls and joins her with a ragtag group of humans searching for a promised land free from vampires.

Though I went into The Immortal Rules with high hopes, I was left disappointed. Kagawa’s writing or style wasn’t bad, but neither ever grabbed me. The book also seemed too long for the tale it tells, and the premise didn’t feel very inspired. The book simply felt like a mash-up of what’s “hot” right now (vampires + pseudo-zombies + post-apocalyptic/dystopian). When the vampire or post-apocalyptic elements did appear, they felt predicable. For example, Allie’s vampire sire seemed straight out of other vampire tales (the cool, collected one who is patrician and guarded), and Allie seemed too much like the generic “tough girl” character so often seen in dystopian/post-apocalyptic novels. Because she was supposed to be so strong and hardened, some of the characterization used to describe her also didn’t feel right, like Allie’s concern for a needy, demanding refugee and her soft, reticent feelings about being kissed. The action, when it did occur, was often brutal and harrowing, but it wasn’t enough to keep me reading quickly for nearly 500 pages. The main character and those she cared about (or those who moved the plot forward) escaped true damage too easily and too often for me to be able to suspend disbelief.

On the positive side, this book might be great for Kagawa fans who are looking for her to do something darker than her Iron Fey series. The story is gritty and dark, and it doesn’t flinch at depicting gruesomely violent or harsh circumstances. The plot also includes some interesting ideas about vampirism as a disease, and the mix of that with an element of religious fanaticism among the surviving humans drew me in more during the latter half of the book.

On the whole, though, The Immortal Rules didn’t have enough positive points to make me ignore the predictability or slow pace. Despite that, I hope this book finds a warmer reception with those who like her writing or are looking for a tale that combines elements from some of today’s most popular genres.

Note: Though I didn’t take this into account in my review, I have to mention the white-washing of the cover. The main character, Allison Sekemoto, is repeatedly described as Asian, but the cover model is not.

**This review refers to an advance review copy.
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Reading Progress

03/22/2012 page 24
5.0%
03/22/2012 page 76
16.0% "This book is making me realize that I'm over vampires in a big way, even if those placed in a post-apocalyptic setting. :(" 15 comments
03/25/2012 page 180
37.0% "Still not feeling it. Blerg." 1 comment
03/26/2012 page 210
43.0% "Oh, human boy, I can where this is going from a mile away. Also, why haven't I seen more commentary on the whitewashing of this cover? The protagonist is repeatedly described as Asian, but the cover model is not. >_<" 2 comments

Comments (showing 1-13 of 13) (13 new)

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Wendy Darling I'm looking forward to comparing notes with you, Angela. Although you'll probably finish and review well before I get around to writing mine!


Angela Ha, I doubt it. I did, at least, finish reading the book last night once the pacing finally picked up. We shall discuss soon! :)


I am Bastet I am holding off on reading your review until I've finished the book. (As of typing this I am on page 152.) Then we can have a discussion about it. :-)


Angela I am Isis wrote: "I am holding off on reading your review until I've finished the book. (As of typing this I am on page 152.) Then we can have a discussion about it. :-)"

Sorry for the delayed reply; I've been out of town for nine days until late last night. How's your reading progress now? I would love to discuss with you anytime. :)


I am Bastet I finished reading this last night, and just read your review. I definitely agree with all the points you made. Like many dystopian YA books that are "hot" right now, I felt like the world building in this book was very thin, and only developed in the places where the plot called for it. When I try to imagine the world, I come up mostly blank, with a couple details.


message 6: by Angela (last edited May 28, 2012 08:53AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Angela I am Isis wrote: "I finished reading this last night, and just read your review. I definitely agree with all the points you made. Like many dystopian YA books that are "hot" right now, I felt like the world building..."

Yep, it's only been a month since I wrote the review about this, but the plot, the characters, and the world building feel fuzzy and insignificant in my mind already. Re: world building, (view spoiler)


I am Bastet Once again, I am in agreement. (view spoiler)


Angela I am Isis wrote: "But if that's the interesting stuff, then why save it for the second book and put us through hundreds of pages of wandering in the woods?"

So as to drag it out FOREVER. I thought this book could have easily been cut by 100 - 150 pages and cleaned up in multiple ways, but I'm in the minority. When you go on to Amazon, my review is only one of three two-star reviews and that's the lowest rating anyone has given it.


I am Bastet I guess people really like it when characters wander aimlessly through the woods.


Angela I am Isis wrote: "I guess people really like it when characters wander aimlessly through the woods."

Heheheheh. Sounds like a a lot of Disneyified fairy tales when you put it that way. ;)


I am Bastet Now that you mention it, there is rather a lot of wandering through the woods in Disney movies.

On another topic, I'm looking for something really engaging to read. Most books I've read so far this year haven't swept me away. Have you read anything recently (or not) that was amazing?


message 12: by Angela (last edited May 28, 2012 09:16PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Angela I would love to read something really good right now too, but I won't be doing any (or much) fun reading for the next two months as summer classes for my master's program start on Thursday night. Between now and then, I have to read To Kill a Mockingbird and make note of any words students might trouble with. Blerg.

On the good books note, though, I would recommend Seraphina by Rachel Hartman if you could find an ARC somehow. My spouse read my copy from the indie bookstore and really liked it as a solid fantasy novel. I also plan to read it before its July release date, but I don't know when I'll get around to it. Other than that, it's been a long time since I've read something I'd actually recommend (other than the sequel to Divergent, Insurgent, that came out earlier this month, but I think I remember the first book not being to your liking).


I am Bastet I've been wanting to read Seraphina, but I don't have access to an ARC of it, so I'll have to wait until July.


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