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Allison Sekemoto is an orphan that lives on the streets which is even more dangerous than it sounds. In this world, vampires have taken over and who doesn’t want to be registered won’t get food or anything else. Allie has been leading this life for years now together with other people she might consider her friends. Then there is this one day when everybody is killed and even Allie herself is very close to death. She is offered another option, though, when a stranger gives her the choice to become a vampire herself and with that the very creature she despises. Her first priority being survival, she agrees, not without doubting that decision later. She doesn’t want to kill anybody, but this seems to be the one thing no vampire can avoid. Travelling with a group of humans doesn’t help her much, of course, but this turns out to be the least of her worries …
I have always had a tender spot for vampires in my heart, so when I heard about the first, very positive opinions about “The Immortal Rules” there was no question as to whether I was going to read this book or not. Thanks to Amazon, it finally made its way to me, but unfortunately it couldn’t fill me with the enthusiasm I hoped it would.
This does not mean that Julie Kagawa’s newest book is a bad one. I did have my fun while reading it; it just couldn’t bowl me over.
There are actually some very interesting points. The vampires are what they are supposed to be: vampires. They suck your blood and sometimes they kill for it, especially when listening to their instincts. They are hunters, which is quite obvious, but no wild monsters (this task some other creatures fulfil), even though some of them are only not wild ones, whereas others might be described as heartless.
Then there are the characters and most importantly Allie, a very tough girl, whom I learned to love. She definitely is no hero, but she wants to survive and she also wants others to survive. For that purpose she does things she wouldn’t have to do – it would be very cold-hearted to not do them, but it would be understandable. Still, she shows us her human part, which prevents her from becoming the monster she fears so much. Never mind that she’s perfectly capable to take care of herself and others and that her skills with her katana are not only useful but also very, very cool. Allie’s someone I’d love to meet, so reading from her point of view was a pleasure.
I didn’t get quite attached that much to other characters, but they were interesting nonetheless. The former role of Allie’s mentor is easily guessed and others like the slightly fanatic leader of the group, Jeb, or Ruth, a young girl, were, well … a pain in the ass from time to time, if I might say so. But they contributed to the whole story, just as people like Zeke or Darren did whom it was nice to read about. And seriously? Without some annoying guys it would be rather boring.
Speaking of which, boredom is nothing this book is too familiar with. The middle part was a little slow but surprisingly entertaining. I liked reading about the groups and the dynamics there and wondering who would discover Allie’s secret when and how. When that happened, I was actually a little bit surprised, though only because I expected it a little bit later.
The end was just awesome. What Allison had to suffer through there … let me say it that way: I practically felt the same pain only by reading about it! Well, and the final ending? This would do damn fine in a movie.
Not to forget the idea itself that doesn’t only sound cool. A post apocalypse with vampires? I’m in heaven! Fortunately, Julie Kagawa offers enough explanations despite some trend to leave the reader in the dark or come up with some rather illogical stuff.
Instead, we get to know why everybody lives like they live and also that there is more than we already know. In Allison’s part of the city, people tend to despise everything in the vampire’s part but also to glorify it concerning food and other storages. But this is a world that first suffered from a deadly illness, then from vampires and really wild monsters and nobody’s getting the peace they crave for. The world we know is gone and they all have to fight with that – humans and vampires alike.
The whole potential this conflict has is revealed step by step during the course of action. Guess what? I can’t wait to get even more information.
So, why am I not entirely convinced? Well, the beginning of the novel is pretty slow. I expected the whole vampire part to start a little bit earlier, but apparently I was wrong. It wasn’t exactly boring, but it still made me wish that the action would finally start.
Then there’s the fact that for some kind of vampire novel there are surprisingly few vampires in it. I don’t mind that Allie didn’t leave to look for other vampires; I didn’t even want her to. Still, some more fangs would have been great. The ones we meet are, except for her mentor Kanin of course, mad or evil. I can’t really believe that Allie and Kanin are the only not-monsters in the world, so this is a letdown. It’s not like Julie Kagawa can’t do it: there’s enough variety in the human group to convince me that she’s capable of creating characters with different traits and opinions. She just has to do that for the vampires now.
In “The Immortal Rules”, you’ll find some interesting and even a few lovable characters that are mostly human, which is not exactly a compliment. The story could definitely use some more vampires, just as the beginning could have been faster. The rest of the story was very entertaining, though, even thrilling in the end. An average rating wouldn’t do the book any justice, especially because of the idea. Hopefully, the next instalment can solve some of the problems the first book has.