Title: The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden #1)
Author: Julie Kagawa
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Released: 24th April 2012
First of all, can I just say: that cover rocks. I love the font, I love the red, plus the eye and tear look awesome. It is suitably creepy, though I’m not disturbed by it myself (unlike some others I could mention. Hehe.).
Anyway. I can’t believe how long it’s taken me to read something of the famous Julie Kagawa. I can’t tell you how happy I am that for once I can fall into the hype and exclaim with everyone else what a fantastic author she is. With perfect ease, she disproved my – and doubtless countless others’ – conviction that the vampire genre has been exhausted. In The Immortal Rules, vampires are the evil, soulless bloodsucking creatures they started out as. Not even Allison Sekemoto, reduced to living her life as one of the very creatures she loathes, can completely fight her inner demon, though God knows she’s going to do her absolute best to try. (Or, not God, but...you know what I mean.)
The plotline was most definitely engaging; my interest was held right from the beginning. I mean, what better way to start than with an execution? I loved that we were immediately shown the type of world the book is set in and what it is like. In fact, despite the vampires, in some ways it is still a dystopia, making it an addictive blend of genres. I was fascinated when I found out about the cause of the rabids and about Eden, a supposed island where there are no vampires. This is not, I have to admit, the first time I’ve come across the concept of Eden in a book, but the overall world-builind was well done. I was very curious to learn about the Red Lung virus (a.k.a. the plague that killed millions of people years ago), and it is something I hope to find out more about later on – how it started, where it started and indeed, how it earned its name.
Allie is a wonderfully tough heroine. Seriously, this girl knows how to kick butt – with or without her katana and vampire abilities. Yes, that’s right. This particular vampire learns how to wield the sword of the samurai. Apt, isn’t it? Shame she doesn’t get the joke when her vampire creator and mentor chuckles at her choice of weapon. Allie is not only tough, she’s independent and she’s realistic. It’s very easy to see how her life as an Unregistered before becoming a vampire, at the very bottom of society, affected her. I loved her sarcasm and dark sense of humour. Her struggle to hold on to humanity rather than let vampire instincts consume her was evident and more than commendable.
Of course, is it really possible to talk about the protagonist without mentioning the love interest? I don’t think so, which brings us to Ezekiel Crosse. Don’t laugh. I happen to think it’s a very cool name. But fine, call him what he’s known as in the book: Zeke. Zeke is not the typical bad boy. This book doesn’t even have a bad boy. No, for once the love interest is a good guy. He’s generous, selfless and kind. His only flaw is that he’s prejudiced when it comes to vampires; his principles there, believing every vampire to be a soulless demon, are made of steel. But with Jeb as an adoptive father, you can’t really blame him. When I found out about Jeb’s secret treatment of Zeke, I was both horrified and saddened. But Zeke isn’t mindless, and he does allow his mind to open, making him willing to hear Allie’s side of the story. The relationship between them is realistic and endearing.
Generally, Kagawa has created a wonderfully diverse set of characters. To name a few, there’s the infuriatingly weak Stick; adorable six year old Caleb; spiteful, suspicious Ruth; and typical villain Jackal. Seriously, he has the whole we-can-rule-together-side-by-side-no?-then-let-me-talk-for-ages-before-I-kill-you thing down. Kind of like in James Bond or Alex Rider, but he was evil enough to almost succeed in killing Allie. I still can’t decide whether that worked for me or not, but I did like the action at the end of that scene.
Overall, this was a thoroughly enjoyable read that delighted me with the refreshingly different world it brought. It took me a little while to get really get stuck into it but once I did I just kept turning the pages. I loved how it wrapped up nicely at the end. Hopefully in the second one we find out more about Kanin, Allie’s creator. This was a character who intrigued me from the start and I’m definitely looking forward to seeing more of him. Kagawa has left a wonderful first impression on me so I can’t wait to see what she brings with The Iron King, which I shall be reading soon.