Thursday, March 29, 2012

Early Review: The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

Title: The Immortal Rules 
Author: Julie Kagawa
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: April 24, 2012
Rating: 4.5/5

Cover Impressions: This cover doesn't do much for me.  Firstly, the main character is Asian, this model is .... not.  I don't like that.  If the person on the cover is meant to represent a character, then make them look like that character.  No white-washing please.  Secondly, the expression on the model's face is bland, I would prefer her to look upset, or angry or determined or ... something.  Thirdly, the tear, while eye catching, seems off somehow.  Perhaps it is because it starts in the very middle of her eye, perhaps it is because it doesn't wash away any of that heavy eye makeup.  I do like the font and am thankful that, although Kagawa is already a successful author, her name doesn't appear bigger than the book title.

The Gist:  In Allison Sekemoto's world vampires rule with an iron fist and humans are treated as no more than cattle.  Here she fights for survival alongside other scavengers, constantly aware of the threat lurking in the shadows.  When her daring leads to a deadly attack, Allison is offered a choice: die on the dusty street or become what she loathes most. 

Review:  The Immortal Rules is one of those rare YA novels which combines an interesting world, and an action packed plot with a strong, capable heroine. Allison is not your average YA female, she pulls her weight and doesn't depend on the men around her to act as her savior.  She never balks at an impossible situation and she doesn't whine.  When she is faced with a task and other issues threaten to steal her attention she says things like "I would sort all this out later" and "though I hated this, I forced myself to concentrate".  Despite her claims to own the keys to lonerville, Allison continually surprises herself, and the readers, by risking herself in order to protect that people that she is supposed to think of as nothing more than food.  

The world that Kagawa has created combines the dystopian elements of a post-plague city ruled by bloodthirsty vampires with the heart-thumping zombie-like "Rabids" who stalk the lands outside.  The rabids are terrifying, difficult to kill and can erupt beneath the very ground you walk on.  Their mindless quest for blood creates exciting battles and heart-thumping moments as we push for human survival.  As Allison travels with a pack of humans, ever conscious of their tempting vulnerability, she struggles with her hunger and fights to pull together the tattered remains of her humanity creating a sense of suspense as we wait for the inevitable.

While the second half of this novel is ruled by action, the first half does contain a certain amount of info-dumping, mostly through Kanin - Allison's maker.  I did not find this too distracting as the world Kagawa has created is a very interesting one, but I do wish that the character of Kanin had been a little more animated in his lessons.  I am very confident that, now that the world building has been established, the other books in this series will scarcely give the readers a moment to breathe.  

Teaching/Parental Notes:
Age: 16 and up
Gender: Either
Sex: None
Violence: Vampirism, swordplay, gunfights, violent attacks by "rabids"
Inappropriate Language: Whore, Bitch, Bastard
Substance Abuse: None


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