Title: The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden #1)
Author: Julie Kagawa
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Rating: 4/5 Stars
The first time I read the description of The Immortal Rules I knew that I wanted to read it. When I finally got around to doing so I discovered that not only did the book live up to its description, it was also the most surprising story I’ve read in a long time – vampire or otherwise. Throughout Allison’s story, Kagawa kept me on my toes, never doing what I expected.
The story starts in The Fringe, the area on the outskirts of the vampire city of New Covington, with unregistered Fringer Allison scrambling daily for survival. Allison’s pretty amazing – strong, determined, fiercely independent. Even though she considers herself part of a family unit of fellow unregisters, she keeps herself separate because she doesn’t trust that anything in her world can last.
In a way, she’s right.
My first big surprise came when Allison became a vampire about a fourth of the way into the book and I realized how wrong I was about what I thought I was reading. After a Rabid attack that leaves her on the brink of death, Allison is given a choice by a seemingly benevolent vampire named Kanin: live or die. Allison chooses life, despite her anti-vampire convictions, and I totally love her for it.
I love that she chooses life. I’ve read so many different novels that focus on characters that are willing to sacrifice themselves for a principle that it’s refreshing to find someone who wants to live, despite the ramifications.
The next segment of the book focuses on Allison’s introduction to vampire life. Kanin becomes more than her sire, he’s also her mentor, training her to survive in her new circumstances. Again, I thought I knew where the book was going and again, Kagawa pulled the rug out from under me. Suddenly, Kanin and Allison get separated and she finds herself outside of New Covington.
The third part of the book, and I guess I’d say what the story is really about, focuses on Allison joining a group of humans searching for a place they call Eden – not quite the biblical paradise, but a safe haven from vampires, an island city run completely by humans.
Among the group of humans is a boy that brings an added complication to Allison’s already precarious position of being a wolf amidst the lambs – love. I’d been expecting a romantic entanglement, but I wasn’t exactly looking forward to it. I liked that The Immortal Rules was about Allison’s journey exclusively. I should have trusted, Kagawa, however, because while Allison did fall for Zeke, the romance never took over the narrative. Her feelings for him became just another aspect of her struggle as a vampire so close to her humanity. I can’t tell you how much I appreciated that.
As you can probably gather, I think the plot of The Immortal Rules is excellent. The world building is equally impressive. Kagawa creates a rich and vivid dystopia with a backstory that’s simple enough to be utterly believable. A plague erupts that threatens humans and vampires alike and in the search for a cure, Rabids are created – mindless, deformed vampire-like creatures that prey on literally anything living – essentially destroying the world as we know it. There are a lot of dystopias going around these days and Kagawa’s isn’t necessarily the most original, but it doesn’t matter. Originality doesn’t count when it comes in a convoluted package. As I said, Kagawa keeps it simple and it pays off in spades.
I could go on and on about The Immortal Rules, digging into intricate plot details and the relationships between characters, but it would be a better use of your time to just go read it. Seriously. If you enjoy dystopias, vampires, romance, family, the struggle we all face to be the best version of ourselves no matter the circumstances and old fashioned good vs. evil, The Immortal Rules has it all.
In one book.
So go read it. I’m going to get back to my advance copy of The Eternity Cure.