Stephanie's Reviews > The Immortal Rules

The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa
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's review
Apr 04, 12

Read from April 01 to 02, 2012

I can see Julie having another big success on her hands with this new series. It's vital and compelling, heartbreaking and telling. Vampires and Rabids (zombie like vampires associated with the virus that has nearly wiped out humanity) compete in a post disease apocalypse world. One is cruel tryanny the other is chaotic and deadly. Humanity, what we are here, now, today is basically destroyed and hopefully we are seeing an alternative future. I say "hopefully" because I think the Blood of Eden future is pretty bleak—a computer, electricity, plumbing, medicine, are all rare to non-existent.

Humanity is mostly ruled by vampires living in towers in walled cities who treat humanity as food, and the cities are hemmed in by rabids. Sixty or so years after the plague, nothing is advancing. Humanity is split into two groups, registered and unregistered. The registered must regularly give their blood in exchange for food. The unregistered scrounge and live in the wrecks of ruined buildings.

The story is stirring and the world unique and yet familiar. Julie gives her characters with a lot of emotion. They are realized beings. Julie says in her afterword that she had no intention to write a vampire story because there were already so many books about them out there and she didn't feel she had anything to add. I am glad she did. Supernatural, undead, whatever they are classified, vampires, etc. serve as foils and powerful symbols in literature. Greater minds than mine have written reams on this so I won't.
In IMMORTAL RULES I can see similarities to at least three other current series, and I am sure you will as well. I don't really have a problem with that. It's a genre so there are only so many paths within it a writer can travel and maintain readers' interest through characterization, plot and suspension of disbelief.

In this case the plot is that of the adventure epic with enough twists in the world building to make it interesting and unique. Allison is compelling as she strives to hold onto her humanity, having become one of the monsters. Her mentor/maker is fascinating. The horror is real enough that I shuddered reading some passages. There's a degree and depth of desperation that makes the characters struggle seem futile. The hierarchy of creatures is straightforward and simple enough that no "guide to the world of" is required. There is little magic and only a few "supernatural" powers."

While there is no sex, the violence and bleakness of the world lead me to think it's not for really young teens, and should be combined with discussion about the differences between our world and the one faced by Allison and her friends.

On her blog Julie asks if readers think the cover is vampy enough. While I don't find it exciting or tremendously representative, the red tear does give us an insight into the sadness Allison faces and that she is a vampire. Assuming the woman on the cover represents Allison, I don't think it really fits her description. But the publisher could have fallen prey to the current cover craze of a young woman in leather and/or black standing with hands on hips or with her weapon in hand and smoking or misty ruins in the background. Or they could have gone with the girl lying down head turned toward us.

Ultimately this is a story about survival, not survival at any cost, because the price the characters pay is high enough. It's about the decision to succumb to expectations or to be better, to accept your circumstance or to improve on it somehow, to hinder or to help. Not all humans are good and not all vampires are evil. Ultimately, Allison's choices will decide the fate of her friends and the world.
It's a good start.
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