Warning: If you have not read “The Immortal Rules” by Julie Kagawa, do not read this review unless you don’t mind spoilers or already read the book.
I’m back with another book review, and this time it’s “The Immortal Rules” by Julie Kagawa! Here’s a summary so we know what it’s about:
“To survive in a ruined world, she must embrace the darkness…
Allison 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 one 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 rabids, the bloodthirsty creatures who threaten human and vampire alike. And soon Allie will have to decide what and who is worth dying for—again.
Enter Julie Kagawa’s dark and twisted world as an unforgettable journey begins.”
This was apparently published during 2012, during what I’d like to call “The Golden Era Of Vampire Literature,” which is my phrase for referring to the time period where vampire literature was hugely popular. I’m placing this time period from ‘Twilight’ (2005) to around 2012-2013 because that was when I noticed an increasing amount of vampire literature on bookstore shelves). During this time, I barely read any of said vampire-themed literature, mainly because I wasn’t into the hype at the time. I figured now would be a good time to switch to something that wasn’t a fairytale retelling of Cinderella or Rumpelstiltskin and something more on the supernatural side in a darker way.
Also, it’s been forever since I read a vampire book like “Interview with the Vampire” and “The Vampire Lestat” by Anne Rice, so there’s that reason as well.
At first, I was surprised when Allison decided to become a vampire instead of dying, despite her sheer hatred of them in the beginning. Then again, it goes to show that despite everything, perhaps she values being alive more than being dead and gone. Despite being Unregistered, she did have her friends (though she lost them pretty quickly when they fell to the Rabids, who I interpret are vampires gone wild from experimentation according to the book). Allison as a character was fun to read overall, until it got to the romance with Zeke. More on this in a later paragraph.
I liked the worldbuilding of the story overall. However, what I didn’t like was that they used Kanin (who was fantastic in the beginning when he first arrived to Allison and became her guide to being a vampire) as a way to get majority of the worldbuilding across, before writing him out of the story almost entirely. I really hope he’s used for more than just info-dumping in the next book, because I really liked his character other than him spouting most of the information regarding the world of the book and how the vampries work.
Speaking of characters, I thought the more minor ones (such as Ruth, especially) needed more development. Also…why is it when there is a cult hellbent on finding a better place, in this case an ‘Eden,’ that cult is usually heavily based off twisted versions of Christianity and/or Judaism? This is an example I’ve seen quite a bit in a lot of the apocalypse/sci-fi/dystopia lately, such as “Glasshouse” by Charles Stross, and I kind of just want to find a cult that isn’t based off Christianity and/or Judaism in literature. There are so many religions one could choose from to base a fictious cult off, so reading Jebbediah’s cult group felt really disappointing regarding that. Heck, all the group members are named after Biblical figures, like Caleb, Zeke (short for Ezekiel), Ruth, and Bethany! It honestly gets a bit much.
I disliked Allison and Zeke’s romance. I felt that Zeke really wasn’t worth saving from the other vampires, especially given how quickly he and the rest of his group turned on Allison when Ruth blabbed to everyone that she was a vampire, and I don’t feel the chemistry between them, despite the amount of words and pages spent on Allison mulling over her potential romance with Zeke.
Plotwise, the story was okay, but after Allison became a vampire, it turned into a repetitive cycle of this:
- Allison finds a group of people or a helpful person.
- She joins them in their cause/journey.
- She has to conceal her vampire state from them and gets found out later/She finds out more about the world of vampires.
- She gets cast out of the group to fend for herself/She has to run away because the rest of her group/her companion has been killed off or they shouted at her to run while they were being attacked.
- Repeat 1-4.
That was more than just a bit disappointing, I assure you.
Another smaller issue is…why is every vampire completely, without question evil, except for Allison and Kanin? It seems ridiculous that the only vampires with touches of morality are the ones we’re supposed to like. I hope this problem is remedied in later books.
Overall, I’m rating this 3 out of 5 stars for good worldbuilding, repetitive plot, the uncreative cult and lacking romance.