Monday, 11 June 2012

Book Review: The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

First published in Great Britain: 24th April 2012
By: Mira Ink/Harlequin UK

My vampire creator told me this: 

'Sometime in your life, Allison Sekemoto, you will kill a human being. The question is not if it will happen, but when. Do you understand?' 

I didn't then, not really. I do now. 

In a future world, vampires reign. Humans are blood cattle. And one girl will search for the key to save humanity. She must decide what - and who - are worth dying for.

My review:

I had a very mixed reaction to The Immortal Rules. Reading it, there were times when I was very gripped and just whipped through it, and times when I didn't care much at all and had to force myself to keep reading. 

I can't think of a supernatural creature that's harder to come up with a new premise for than the vampire. The Immortal Rules gets around this by meshing together parts of lots of other vampire tales. It's not new, but it is kinda interesting. I really liked the world the story is set in, because it reminded me of the Buffy episode 'The Wish'. After a virus wiped out most of the world, vampires have taken over; humans eke out their existence in vampire cities, where they either willingly offer up their blood in exchange for food and supplies, or they are 'Unregistered' and live on the fringes, scavenging for food and always in danger of starvation. Allie is one of these Unregistered; she hates vampires and would never willingly give to their blood bank. Instead, she's part of a gang with other kids her age and together they hunt for food where they can. Making this harder is that as well as having vamps to contend with, there is also the danger of 'rabids', zombie-like creatures who roam outside the city.

As a main character, Allie walks that line between being tough and being harsh and mean, but I liked her. I think it's pretty clear from her actions that she's a very good person even if she doesn't bother with niceties; right from the start, she looks after others and puts their well-being ahead of her own. It's when she's protecting a friend that Allie's life takes its first major turn in The Immortal Rules and she becomes a vampire.

The next part was my favourite bit of the story - Allie learning how to be a vamp. These were also my favourite storylines in The Vampire Diaries and True Blood, with Caroline and Jessica respectively. Allie is turned and taught by the vampire Kanin, and, despite the cliché of the dark, handsome, mysterious vampire, with the tortured past - well, there's a reason this cliché endures. It's freaking cool.

Unfortunately, Kanin's past rears its ugly head and he and Allie have to part. Allie falls in with a group of travelling humans and must hide from them her vampire nature. Thus began my least favourite part of the story; it really dragged for me. I didn't really care about the human characters - they were either nice in a really dull way, or nasty in a really dull way. Because I didn't give two hoots about them, it was hard for me to buy that Allie really cared about them and I wasn't particularly interested in Allie's struggle to save them from her bloodlust. I was like, "Yeah, whatever. Feed on Ruth, what do I care? When's Kanin coming back?"

The last part of the story does pick up again and amps up the gruesome violence in a gee-that's-really-horrifying-but-I-can't-look-away way. I also liked that there's a link that ties the traveling humans part of the story and the Kanin part of the story together.

Despite that drag in the middle and a lack of great supporting characters, I think there is a lot of good in The Immortal Rules, so I do still recommend it to those who like vampire books - and scary vampires, not sparkly ones. This is a book with a lot of blood, a lot of fights and a lot of action: I can see someone who really wants those things forgiving its other flaws. But the two I mentioned stopped it from being a favourite for me.

Rating: 3 stars

This book was provided to me by the publisher, through NetGalley, in exchange for a fair and honest review.


  1. Exactly. I like a lot of blood and a lot of fights and thus I am so willing to forgive the weak bits. Also? I just really liked Allie and the fact that she wields a katana, but I am shallow like that.

    1. No, even I have to admit, those bits were really cool. I want a katana - not to kill with, but to pose with in photographs.

  2. I have to put my hand up as someone who is all for the gory, fighty parts. It's really difficult to introduce characters in the middle of books (especially if they don't have special abilities in a PN world) and make them relateable. I just hope I can move past the slow bits.


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