Monday, June 2, 2014

|REVIEW| The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

The Immortal Rules (#1)
Release Date: April 24th, 2012
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pages: 485

Allie Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a walled-in 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 dies and becomes on of the monsters. 

Forced to flee her city, Allie must pass for human as she joins a ragged group of pilgrims seeking a legend – a place that might have a cure for the disease that killed off most of civilization and created the rabid, the bloodthirsty creatures who threaten human and vampire alike. And soon Allie will have to decide what and who is worth dying for again. 
 My Feelings of Sorts

Whatever you feel after reading The Immortal Rules, I don't think disappointment will be one of them. Because this was really, really good. 

There are different kinds of vampires that exist, and it's up to you to decide which kind you prefer. There are the vampires who rather believe they were human, that they weren't the walking existence of evilness. There are vampires who accept that they are vampires, but try to choose the kind of the monster they become. There are vampires who are pure evil. And of course, there are the famous vampires that sparkle. 

I don't know which type of vampire I personally prefer. There's something about the vampire that tries to be good that makes for an interesting story. The desperation to prove that they can be more than what they are, the need to try to defeat the monster that people see. But you can't, because in the end, that monster is you and the demons won't go away no matter how hard you try to deny them. There are also the vampires that are born from the stories that are desolate and bleak, where their victims don't bother to cry for mercy because in the world where vampires like these exist, hope dies. Regret and mercy are emotions only befitting of the weak. These vampires kill and enslave because they can, because humans aren't strong enough to resist, and it's simply survival of the fittest. 

Those are the vampires that exist in The Immortal Rules. Those are the vampires that Allison Sekemoto hates, because they ruin lives. Because they're cruel and they only look to ensure living their lives in comfort, even at the expense of humans. However, is every single vampire the same? 

But the  main question I found myself asking is just how different these evil vampires were from humans. What do the vampire do, not what do they have that make them a vampire, that  humans haven't done in their history? Perhaps I'll try to find some innocent person to rope into a discussion of that with... Muhahaha. (No, you didn't hear that sinister sound.) 

Allison hates vampires. She never expected to become one. She never expected to choose to become the one thing she thought she hated she most in order to live. But before all of that, Allie was human. A human who has seen a bit of how cruel things can be, and has come to the realization that there is only so much time in the world, and not enough room in one's heart to spare to pity every single person you come across. There are only so many lives you can value when you fight for your own each day, and so Allie has decided herself who those lives include. And for her it's Lucas, Stick (whom I do not like at all), and even Rat (who I definitely like more than Stick). 

The doctors can't help you though. *cue evil laughter*
Survival isn't quite as easy as one might believe on both sides. Vampires and humans alike are threatened by Rabids. To have a fighting chance of living as a new vampire, Allie will need the help of Kanin. Dearest Kaninnnnnnnnn (no, I did not stretch his name out creepily. *offended huff*) who was all like I'm wise and awesome and you can't help but like me because, as I previously mentioned, I am awesome and so I obviously couldn't not make him my favorite character because then where would we be if I resisted his awesomeness? 

Though Julie Kagawa does take some of her vampires and makes them cruel and heartless, Allie, who is lost after she becomes a vampire, may become an exception. She can't accept the fact that she'll have to drink from people to survive, but she can no longer live by her human moral codes from another life. Kanin tells her that she needs to, more than anything, find herself again and determine the kind of monster she's okay with being or she'll stay lost for a very long time. 

The pacing of The Immortal Rules is steady and slow-going, and it's that very thing that works against it when we get to parts that feel a little mediocre compared to the bigger picture. The time Allie spend as a human, while essential, wasn't quite as gripping as the rest of the book with Allie transformed. The period of what I call Kanin-withdrawl and the beginning of Part lll Monster before encountering Zeke really wasn't all that exciting, and the slow pacing made it seem like it lasted way longer than it really did. 

Though there were a few moments of exception, The Immortal Rules generally sticks to a steady pacing that I did really liked, despite you know, the previous paragraph. It allowed for more development of the characters and the world and maybe because I loved Kanin so much and ended up liking Zeke much more than I thought I would, I appreciated that we got to spend so much more time with these characters. Where as in a fast-paced novel, the already too short amount of time we had with Kanin would be way shorter. Which really isn't a good idea because then I'd turn into this:

But you better believe that when those action scenes start, they kick off with a bang and just keep going. 

Dearest, dearest Zeke who I had no clue if I would like because most of what I heard for this series was praise for Allie and Kanin. 

*le sigh* When has Julie Kagawa ever created an unlikable love interest? Never. So I liked Zeke, and quite a bit at that. But at the moment, of all the love interests in the series Kagawa has written, he's my least favorite because I think Ash and Puck have set a high standard to reach. Though I only have spent little more than a half a book with Zeke. Zeke himself is kind and almost loyal to a fault, but never stupid. He accepts reality but the cruelness of it doesn't stop his hope, the hope that the world can be better. Zeke is kind and selfless, believing that the change he wants to see should begin with himself. I was prepared for the inevitable moment where Zeke would find out that Allie was a vampire, and the turnout was very interesting and kind of emotional wrecking. You know - just a little bit. The struggle of what to believe - what you've been told your entire life, or what you've seen with your eyes and experienced with your heart. But that isn't it. You'll also to choose, choose between people you consider family and the girl that you love. 

Allison Sekemoto is strong, independent, perhaps just as selfless as Zeke, and we as mere mortals, should never anger her when she has her katana. She makes a few bad, though understandable (but still bad), decisions, but her character arc goes through such impressive development that I can't fathom not rooting for her. Allie and Zeke's relationship was lovely to watch unfold as well. Though Allison is without a doubt the one that is physically stronger, I found that it was a very balanced relationship, enforcing the idea that everybody has their own talents. Though both of them are strong individually in different areas, together they are stronger - perhaps even better - together. 

With Allie as a protagonist, I'm sure we'll go places of epic proportions. Julie Kagawa is talented with writing  action scenes, but also ones that pull on your heart strings. 

But have I mentioned what a terrible, ungrateful friend Stick is? LIKE I REALLY DO NOT LIKE YOU.  

Allie should have never went to check on him. *scowls evilly*
4 and ½ coffee cups!




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