The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden, #1) - Julie Kagawa 4.5 actually

In the not so distant future, after a plaque called Red Lung spreads through the world, the human race has been overrun by vampires. Masters rule cities where they keep a selection of humans as pets. The rest are registered and brought in on a schedule to give blood to these vampires. Within this society, there is also the unregistered. The unregistered are the few who refuse to bow to vampire power, and because of this, they live in severe poverty. Often resulting to stealing just to stay alive.

Allison Sekemoto is one of the unregistered. She lives with a small group on the edge of the Fringe (basically the poor side of town). One night, while out scavenging for food, Allison and her group are attacked by rabids (basically vampires/animals with the Red Lung virus). Allison is found, dying, but a vampire called Kanin. He gives her a choice: she can die or she can become a vampire. She chooses the latter.

A majority of the first part of the book is spent with Kanin training Allison. He tells her about the history of vampires, how a vampire master tried to help human scientists cure the plague by producing vampires to experiment on (this creating rabids), he teaches her how to feed, to hunt, basically to survive. And he constantly reminds her that she is no longer human, that she needs to cut ties to her mortality and realize what she is.

”Sometime in your life, Allison Sekemoto, you will kill a human being. Accidentally or as a conscious, deliberate act, it is unavoidable. The question is not if it will happen, but when. Do you understand?”

When Allison and Kanin are forced apart, Allison must learn to survive on her own. She sets off out into the night, not knowing where she’s going, but knowing that she can’t stay in her city. Along the way she meets a group of surviving humans searching for Eden, a place where no vampires live. Unwillingly, she joins with them, all the while trying to keep her secret.

It has been a really long time since I’ve read a vampire book in YA that wasn’t tamed down or romanticized to the point where they ceased to exist being terrifying creatures of the night. Because let’s face it, that’s what vampires are. And that’s exactly what Julie Kagawa writes. These vampires are deadly, dangerous, and need to survive on human blood.

Now for the characters. Allison is fierce. She’s driven and stubborn and doesn’t follow orders very well. She knows what she is, but fights to be something more. She’s a strong female who makes hard decisions and sticks to them. And she fights – not just physically, but for what she believes in.

Then there’s Zeke. Oh Zeke…you and your optimism. You know that boy who sees the good in everyone and believes every cloud has a silver lining? That’s Zeke in a nutshell. But luckily, he’s also so much more than that and I feel that Kagawa had only begun to scratch the surface of this character.

Kanin – the teacher. When we last see him, well, I’ll just say, all isn’t that well. He was only in it for a short amount of time, but he had so much presence. He commanded attention when he was around. I really hope to see him in future books.

Jeb – the leader. What a character this one was, huh? Not gonna lie, Jeb was a little hard for me to stomach. His attitude and outlook mixed with his cold demeanor did nothing to endear this man to me…but I also understood him. He had his secrets, yes. But I couldn’t fault him for his reasoning.

Last one’s I’m going to mention: the human travelling group. The group that Allison finds herself a part of, a group she would die to protect. There were the children: -Caleb and Bethany (I ADORED Caleb), Ruth – the teenage girl in love with Zeke and insanely jealous of Allison (come on, there had to be one), Darren – Zeke’s closest friend and warrior, Dorothy – the crazy lady who saw angels, Teresa, Jake, Matthew, and Silas – all family, all important, all characters to grow attached to.

While the beginning was a little slow, I understood why. Kagawa was setting up her world, setting up Allisons training. Once Allison meets up with the group, the book takes off. There’s deception, lies, action scenes so visual you think you’re actually watching TV, confusion, pain, and death. I applaud authors who don’t shy away from killing off characters they know fans are going to love. It just evokes that much more emotion out of us, and I loved every second of it.

For this was my first book by Julie Kagawa, it definitely won’t be my last.

I received an e-copy of this novel for my honest opinion and review from the publisher via Netgalley.

This review also appears on Ed and Em's Reviews, where I am a guest reviewer :)