Julie Kagawa is a greatly admired author and her Iron Fey series one of the most popular fantasy series of the last years. Naturally her new book The Immortal Rules, which marks the start of her new series, was highly anticipated. Especially in the recent years I have read many vampire novels, maybe to many and honestly thought that the genre is kind of going down. So I was worrying when I realised that The Immortal Rules is a vampire novel. But I love Julie Kagawa’s storytelling I was prepared for at least decent plot. What i didn’t expect was this enthralling and super-captivating dark tale. This should teach me not to underestimated neither authors nor presumed-dead genres.
A lonely girl who continuously fights for survival
The book is told out of Allison Sekemoto’s point a view. Allie is a tough girl, who has to fight daily for survival, as she doesn’t want to be a blood donor for the vampire class, which rules the City. At the beginning of the book she is as human as you can be when there is nobody there fighting for you or taking care of you. Even though she bunks with a bunch of other young outcasts it’s still survival of the fittest. But even in this dire and depressing situation Allie preserves an internal goodness, which is admirable and made me like her very easily.
Human – …. – Vampire
The book is loosely structured in several parts, which represent the several stages of Allies development; from human to vampire fledgling to undead wayfarer, who is bunking with humans to a full vampire. I liked to go through these stages with Allie. She is struggling with her transformation from human being to a vampire, her most hated species. In addition she hardly knows what it means to be a vampire and this gradual learning was very interesting to experience. In general Allie’s character and demeanour develops strongly and in a touching way through out the story.
A mysterious creator and a heart-throbbing human boy with a heart of gold
The whole book centres around Allie and there are only a few supporting characters, especially in the beginning of the novel. Her human companions in the city were partly gross and partly I liked them because they fought together. But overall they crept me out. Then there is Allie’s vampire sire. A mysterious man, who hides a lot but seems like a decent guy with the heart on the right place. Overall he is still a pretty blank spot and I’m sure he will show up in the following books with plenty of surprises. And then there is the group of humans, who try to find Eden. A place where there are no vampires and no rabids, the brain-dead contagious monsters roaming everywhere. We get the whole spectrum of human behaviour from friendship, love to jealousy, hate and desperation. And there is Zeke, the son of the leader of the group. He is almost to good to be real by embodying mainly positive character traits. At the same time he is very likeable and I rooted for him the moment he showed up in the book. I have high hoped to see more of him and Allie together.
I don’t want to say a lot about the whole story line. Almost everything would give something away and I liked that I wouldn’t know in which way the story would develop. A slight point of critic would be the very slow start. Though this gives the reader time to acclimate to the dystopian setting, I wish more stuff would happen during the first third of the book. The later part is then packed with action and I was captivated. Otherwise I was fascinated by the post-apocalyptic world created by Julie Kagawa. I wanted to figure out what are the rules (no pun intended) and what happened to the world we know. Luckily the author isn’t stingy with facts, which help the reader creating a so-t-say world frame. Though I never expected to read a dystopian young adult novel with vampires and almost zombies and to love it. That was definitely a surprise.
Overall I have to conclude that The immortal Rules may start slowly but as soon as the plot is rolling the action follows and the book ends in an impressive and thoughtful finale. An ending which offers some closure and at the same time gives you a glimpse of all the undiscovered things and then you want to grab the next book right at that moment.