The Immortal Rules, by Julie Kagawa (GIVEAWAY!)

The Immortal Rules, by Julie Kagawa (Harlequin Teen, 2012, YA) is a story set in a nightmarish future. The countryside is teeming with humans who have been infected with a horrible virus that turns them into savage zombie things, known as "rabids." The cities are, for the most part, enclaves of powerful vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. And the few humans who fall into neither of those two categories eek out desperate lives trying not to be killed or infected by the "rabids," and not having their blood drained on a regular (and sometimes fatal) basis by vampires.

17 year old Allison Sekemoto has managed to avoid both fates, scrapping together a hand to mouth existence in the fringe area of a vampire city, hating the bloodsuckers, and allowing herself to dream of a human renaissance. But all that changes when she's savagely attacked by rabids, and given a choice by the vampire who finds her. Either she can die, or she can be turned into a vampire herself.

She chooses the later. Now Allison must negotiate not only the logistics of life as a nocturnal, inhuman bloodsucker, but she must struggle not to turn into one of the monsters she has always despised. Chance leads her outside the city, where she meets a quixotic band of human travellers, searching for a fabled haven of humanity. But can she travel with them, without being driven by desperate hunger to prey on them? Can she keep from falling in love with the charismatic Zeke, when she knows that if he finds out who she truly is, he will hate her? And will she be able to keep him and his companions alive in a world of monsters?

I do not think I have reviewed a vampire romance YA novel before today. Heck, I think I have only read about two and a half in my whole life. So I approached The Immortal Rules somewhat uncertainly, and indeed, for a time I was awfully worried that it would turn into a romance between Allie and the aloofly brooding vampire (clearly with lots of Darkness in his Past) who turned her, and she would be super powerful and make everything ok. I was pleasantly surprised--the story was a heck of a lot more nuanced and tangled than I had expected!

For one thing, the practicalities of daily living, both as a human scavenger and as a vampire, are given lots of page time. And I, for what ever reason, like being excited along with the characters when tinned foods are discovered! I like reading about people's coping methods when trying to survive in disastrous situations.

For another thing, Allie's story is one of struggle--she does not want to be a monster, yet if she does not drink human blood, she'll become a ravaging death bringer. It's a paradox that haunts her, as she tries to make her undead vampire self a person she can live with. I sympathized with her regarding her feelings for Zeke--although nothing is hopeless, this romance is certainly not one where a happy outcome is guaranteed, and so it is more interesting than one that seems pre-destined.

And for a third, the journey that Allie embarks on gives a geographical spaciousness to the story, that lets this horrible new world emerge in rich detail.

In short, I found it an engrossing read, one that nicely blends the paranormal and the dystopian (though I did skim some of the violent fighty bits--vampire Allie has mad fighting skillz, which certainly come in useful, but which I didn't find quite as interesting to read about (and this probably is over sharing--sigh) as the smaller excitements of canned goods. Or the more substantial, but similar, appropriation of a working motorcycle.)

I am most certainly intrigued enough to be looking forward to the next book in the series! This one stops at a good stopping place, but there is certainly lots more to Allie's story that needs to be told.

However, the cover is yet another sad example of white-washing (portraying a non-white character as Caucasian). Allie is clearly of Asian extent (you can find the exact quotes that demonstrate this in Leila Roy's blog post at Kirkus, and Sekemoto seems, from cursory web searching, to be a variant of a not uncommon Japanese name, Sekimoto). You would not know this from the girl on the cover. Despite the cover, this counts as a multicultural fantasy, and I'm adding it to my list, hoping that the paperback will show Allie as the Asian girl she is.

note on reader age: This is most definitely Young Adult; not one I'd give to a middle school student. There's quite a bit of bad language, and lots of scary violence. No sex, though there is threatened rape.

GIVEAWAY! Thanks to the publisher, I have a hardcover of The Immortal Rules to give away--just leave a comment by midnight on Wednesday, May 2nd, with some way to contact you. (US and Canada only)


  1. I've been watching this one with interest for some time. Glad to hear you liked it, especially since, as you said, you're not the usual vampire romance type. While I've read a few I've really loved, I can't say they're really my thing, either.

    As far as the cover goes, I'm dismayed once again at YA publishers and cover designers everywhere. I, for one, would be much more likely to pick up a paranormal novel with a person of color on the cover than one without--there's so few out there in the first place that I feel it's really important to support the ones I find. I just don't understand the thinking behind whitewashing covers at all, and it just goes to show how far we need to go before we achieve a truly post-racial society.

    Thanks for the giveaway!


  2. I'm SO dying to read this. I loved the Iron Fey series. Too bad about the cover though. Thanks so much for the giveaway.

  3. Yeah, it's too bad that all the various outrages about inaccurate covers seems to have accomplished little.

    The book itself, however, even though it's not a perfect fit for me, was a good read...

  4. This book is everywhere! I must read it! sweetypetey2004@yahoo.com

  5. I've got this one on my watch list! Thanks for the giveaway!


  6. I am so looking forward to reading this one. It sounds amazing. I have read so many great reviews! Also I love the cover!!! Thank you so much for the chance to get it :)

  7. Oooh can't wait to read this one! Thanks for the chance to win!


  8. I've been seeing this book everywhere and I was relieved to read your positive review, as I myself have been skeptical of new vampire novels in the last few years. I'd love the chance to read it.


  9. I Loved Julies Iron Fey Series they were so good, so of course I can't wait to read this one!!! Thanks for the great review!!!


  10. Thanks for the giveaway! I loved The Iron Fey and can't wait to read this!
    doodlesbookblog at gmail dot com

  11. AHH I've heard so many amazing things about this novel!!! I really cannot wait to read it!

    Thank you so much for this amazing opportunity! New Follower!


  12. This book has become so popular! I really really want to read it after I've seen all this hype about it :b Thanks for the giveaway! You have a new follower!


  13. I read this and love it!! I'm recommending it to all of my friends.

    ajiehuang1997 (at) gmail (dot) com

  14. I am glad you liked this too. I feel embarrassed that I didn't even realize this white washing of the cover. I just dismissed it as her being mixed-race as my kids are. Although if she was this caucasian looking how could others identify her as Asian right away? No one knows my son is Asian unless they see him with his father.

    1. I had already read the Kirkus blog post that shows how very Asian the actual character must have looked before reading the book myself; I hope I would have noticed on my own...

  15. been dying to read this book!!! thanks for the giveaway!!!


  16. "-vampire Allie has mad fighting skillz, which certainly come in useful, but which I didn't find quite as interesting to read about (and this probably is over sharing--sigh) as the smaller excitements of canned goods."

    And this, Charlotte, is why I love your reviews.

  17. I'm seeing this book everywhere and I'm SO excited to read it!


  18. I absolutely LOVED this book. Great review! I agree with you about it being engrossing. It's probably my favorite vampire YA so far!


  19. Thanks! I'm looking forward to this book so much.



Free Blog Counter

Button styles