The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden #1)
by Julie Kagawa
Summary: "In a future world, vampires reign. Humans are blood cattle. And one girl will search for the key to save humanity."Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten.
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.
Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most. To survive, she must learn the rules of being immortal, including the most important: go long enough without human blood, and you will go mad.
Then Allie is forced to flee into the unknown, outside her city walls. There she joins a ragged band of humans who are seeking a legend--a possible cure to the disease that killed off most of humankind and created the rabids, the mindless creatures who threaten humans and vampires alike.
But it isn't easy to pass for human. Especially not around Zeke, who might see past the monster inside her. And Allie soon must decide what--and who--is worth dying for.
This book was absolutely awesome. I don’t know what took me so long to finally buy this book and read it. After all, I love post apocalyptic books AND vampires. These are my two favorite things and Julie Kagawa was able to combine them flawlessly in this novel. I could not put this book down. And now that I’m done, I’m so sad that the next one isn’t out yet! I guess I figured this would be yet another vampire book that had a great synopsis but would be executed in such a way that left me mildly disappointed. I haven’t read any other books by Julie Kagawa, so I had no idea what to expect. Fortunately, this was a wonderful book that was well written, creative, and executed perfectly. It was mind-blowing.
Why I think this book is a refreshing addition to the vampire genre:
- The main character is a girl and she ultimately gets turned into a vampire. This is refreshing because usually, it’s a human girl narrator and she’s immersed in a world of vampires and the guys are always the vampires.
- Vampires can’t be out in the sun. Vampires should always have limits. The worst creatures and the best (like superheroes) must always have limitations and weaknesses. This is one that I feel is rather crucial to vampires, yet it can be difficult to work with and I applaud the author for working through it. There are also other rules that the author kept that I appreciate, such as having fangs, drinking blood, being fast, seeing in the dark, being tough but not invincible, etc. And they don’t sparkle, either, which rules.
- Allie is a young vampire. She’s not an ancient vampire who is flawless and cunning. She’s new. She doesn’t understand everything there is to know about being a vampire and can only rely on what her maker was able to teach her in the first few months. She trained hard to be able to wield a katana. While she had certain abilities after being turned, it took a lot of practice to get her to where she is. Also, despite having months of time to learn, it’s clear that she doesn’t know everything. She surprises herself frequently by her abilities and also makes tons of mistakes. She doesn’t fully understand vampire hierarchy, either, or how the world ended, or anything like that. There’s a lot of fiction out there (whether it includes vampires or not) that has this sort of Insta button for ability and clarity. Like a person finds out he or she has this incredible talent or power and bam, they know everything. Or the teaching they go through ends up like an 80’s montage where they somehow retained everything and were able to learn everything they ever need to know. Not the case in this novel and it makes it more realistic to me in that sense.
- Allie struggles with being a vampire and losing her humanity. This is an age old struggle, but an important one. The author also makes it clear that feeding from animals is not an option. While you can do it, it will not sate your hunger. I like that. Feeding from animals is (in my opinion) a huge cop out in this eternal struggle to hold on to your humanity and not become a monster. If you can feed on animals, problem is solved and you can just be an extra special awesome human. I love that the author removes this as a solution and Allie must TRULY struggle with maintaining a balance and prevent herself from becoming what she has always hated, while also being faced with terrifying hunger. I have always appreciated this struggle in vampires and it one of my favorite conflicts and I love that the author tackled in correctly and Allie never really overcomes it, but it remains a constant struggle.
- Being a vampire is not okay to humans. I admit, I love a good human/vampire matchup as much as the next person. But I think people have a point when they ask “when did this become normal?” I like that the world in Kagawa’s novel isn’t like this. Vampires are seen as horrible, demonic, soulless, evil creatures that prey on humans. While this sucks for vampires struggling with maintaining their humanity without starving, I don’t feel like humans should just gaze in awe at vampires and be perfectly cool with hanging out, so I liked that the humans in this book were skeptical at best.
- And last, but not least, there is much more to the story than vampires.
One of my favorite parts of this book is that it’s post apocalyptic. Allie is the narrator and it starts with her as a human living in the Fringe, scavenging for food and eking out an existence. Vampires rule her city that is surrounded by walls. Rabid creatures infected by whatever plague wiped out most of the world are kept out by these walls. No one can imagine life being much different, except for the select few that can read and found books, like Allie. Her day was a constant struggle to find food and be back before it got dark. There’s a threat of both being caught by vampires or the humans they rule over or a rabid creature outside of the city walls. There is no hope for the outsiders in Allie’s group. She hates vampires because of the way her life has been controlled by them, but she’s kind of stuck.
When she gets attacked by rabids and saved by a vampire and ultimately turned, her whole world is upside down. She has to learn how to be a vampire and how to live with being one in the first place. She can’t go back to her old way of life. She learns what she needs to know from her maker, but she doesn’t know everything. I am always skeptical of characters who know too much, especially if they are the narrators. She doesn’t know the inner workings of vampire politics or the entire story of how the world ended up the way that it did.
When she leaves the city on her own, she meets up with a band of humans after finding a lost boy. Since they travel at night and Allie has no idea what to do with herself, she travels with them. She attempts to blend in as a human and it’s a constant struggle. She can’t eat regular food without throwing it up, which makes blending in rather tough. I don’t think I’ll summarize any more of the story so I don’t ruin it for people that haven’t read it.
Overall, I haven’t been able to find any plot holes or even minor conveniences in this story. I think it was done well. It was interesting on so many different levels. I kept wondering if the humans would discover that she was a vampire, what they would do if or when they found out, where she would go, what she was supposed to do. I wondered if she would end up having to feed off of the humans, if she would be able to blend in, if she would figure out what happened to the world, if there was a way to eradicate rabids, if she would meet up with her maker. I wondered why the band of humans only traveled at night, where they were going, why they were going, who was following them, and why the leader was so strange. And I was figuring things out along with Allie, which I enjoyed.
I truly think this book was brilliant and so well done. I loved every second of it and it surpassed my expectations by a long shot. I’m looking forward to reading the next in the series (next year) and other books by Julie Kagawa. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a well written story with post apocalyptic elements or vampires, and also to people that just like a good story.