Readers: February 27th: Apologies for the scattered posting that's about to come during the next week or so. University has just started and I have a lot of work to do to get on top of things (and ahead!). Thanks for your patience, as always.

Publishers: I promise I'm not abandoning the lovely review copies you've sent!
I'm getting through them and the reviews will come eventually!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Review & Giveaway: The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

Title: The Immortal Rules
Author: Julie Kagawa
Series: Blood of Eden #1
Publisher: Harlequin Australia
Published: May 1st 2012
Source: Publisher for review

Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten. Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them. The vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself is attacked—and given the ultimate choice. Die or become one of the monsters. Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most. To survive, she must learn the rules of being immortal, including the most important: go long enough without human blood, and you will go mad. Then Allie is forced to flee into the unknown, outside her city walls. There she joins a ragged band of humans who are seeking a legend—a possible cure to the disease that killed off most of humankind and created the rabids, the mindless creatures who threaten humans and vampires alike. But it isn't easy to pass for human. Especially not around Zeke, who might see past the monster inside her. And Allie soon must decide what—and who—is worth dying for.

WARNING: Seriously long review. I'm sorry. I couldn't shut up. This was too good to talk about in a fewer amount of words… It deserved at least a thousand.. *coughs*

Bare with me here. I have a lot of excess excitement to offload. Was I impressed by The Immortal Rules? Yes, and that would be a severe understatement!! This was my first Julie Kagawa book and she simply blew me away with her fascinating mythology, strong characters and never-ending plot twists that quite literally stopped me from putting the book down. Indeed I read this 450 page book in one sitting, in one night, and immediately had to fight the urge to re-read it again. I'll just say it now: Julie Kagawa is the QUEEN of vampires. Way to make such an overused supernatural creature outstanding!

I admit, I went into The Immortal Rules a little warily, firstly because of the whole vampire aspect but mostly because the book sounded so plot-heavy and out of this world. Vampire city? Blood craze? Rabids?! Well let me tell you, it's not that complicated and is constructed so perfectly that you will have no trouble at all acclimating to the story. Allison Sekemoto from Sector 4 of New Covington is an Unregistered, 60 years after the plague, living outside of the Inner City where the vampires now dictate and have full control over their slaves. Being Unregistered means you're off the system and don't have to subject yourself to monthly bloodletting, but it also means that you're without food tickets and that you can simply vanish (read: be killed by a vampire) without anyone being the wiser. As soon as the book begins we see the full effects of the vampire hierarchy on society. The Unregistered scavenge for morsels of food and are executed if they're caught. Confined by the hours of night, step outside when it's dark and it'll be your own fault if you don't come back! Kagawa's vampires are fierce, powerful and frightening, using their physical abilities to their very full advantage. What's worse than wild vampires? Organised ones. There's an entire chain of command filled with sires and pets that you will love discovering all about. There was no info-dumping whatsoever, with Kagawa cleverly dispersing them throughout many points of the book. What more can we ask for?

Well…here I go with my TEAM ALLIE shirt. One wrong decision left her vulnerable and surrounded by a group of hungry, savage rabids. They tore her apart and would've killed her, had it not been for a mysterious vampire who offered to turn her. She'll be dead both ways but Allison desperately wants to be alive to see the world change…so she says yes. With the help of her mentor, Kanin, Allison learns the ropes of being a vampire and strengthens herself for survival. The hunted has now become the predator and it was a stunning transformation. A good half of the book is spent with Allison alone and damn was it the best decision Kagawa ever made. Developing this character to such high levels before bringing in the large cast of others was what made this book spectacular. I was so overjoyed to find an author that understood getting characters right, especially the main ones. Allison is officially my favourite YA heroine of all-time. She never has a problem depending on herself, is so determined to be a good vampire, although chances are slim, and oh my goodness she has a sense of humour! A wicked and sharp one that will make you laugh and grin in all of the right places. Unbelievable, I know, but get used to being surprised in this book. Kanin is a favourite character of mine and he provides 90% of the twists. You don't even expect them because they're not part of the main plot. But shock after shock, Kagawa will leave you absolutely reeling and wondering what else we haven't fully dissected and thought through!! Kanin MUST be related to Allie because his sense of humour is just as good. Prepare yourself for an endless supply of his face-palming and exasperated sighs at Allie. I'm being completely serious...

While I could continue raving about the goodness that is Allison and Kanin, I'm sure you want to know about everyone else… After being forced out alone into the outside world, Allison picks a direction and wonders if other cities exist without the rule of vampires. After painful and long days of walking, she stumbles onto a group of wanderers and is coerced by a boy named Zeke into joining them. It's never a good idea to make friends and enemies with so many people when all you can think about is sinking your fangs into their jugulars, especially when you're trying to keep up the illusion of being a human! Even though these secondary characters did not individually play a huge part of the story, together the group formed many levels of tension and complication for Allison. She's the mystery who came from a big vampire city and is tagging along to aid in their search for Eden. You'll meet jealous girls, sweet children, mean leaders and delusional old ladies too. Zeke's not who you'd expect Allison's love interest to be but in some ways I think he's just perfect. Kind-hearted and loyal, Zeke's sweetness will touch your heart from the word go. There is such a push and pull between the two because of their sparking chemistry and you just know they'll be a brilliant couple. They're almost polar opposites and ignite something so passionate in each other that I almost lost my mind! Kagawa supplies us with an abundant amount of scenes where you can appropriately scream, cry, swoon and laugh. Once again, she just nails the characters. I dare you to find a fault.

With her katana in hand and gang in tow, Allison travels across the country in search of Eden, which may or may not exist. Her relationships and struggle as a new vampire are the leading focuses in The Immortal Rules, and is all developed through the amazing troubles they face with vengeful vampires and stalker gangs. You'll love the fast action sequences that leave nothing to be desired and the wonderful blend of everything else. Kagawa isn't afraid to kill her characters so be warned and prepared early on… Think you can find the cure for rabidism and save a friend while you're at it? Run along and join this battle between the forces and try not to fall in love with Zeke along the way! This book will torture you in the very best ways and keep you on the edge of your seat for its entirety. There is not an existing adjective that can describe how good this book was. Magtastawezingful? I know you'll attack Kagawa on Twitter as soon as you finish this, pleading for the next book.. How can you not after that ending?!

"What are you doing to me?" is my favourite line. If you've read the book, you'll know. If you've read the book, SCREAM WITH ME. As you can see, I'm reading the Iron Fey series right now and loving them to death. TEAM ASH! <3

Find Julie on Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook, her website and blog.
Buy The Immortal Rules from Amazon, The Book Depository and Barnes & Noble.

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Thanks to Harlequin Australia and Morey Media, I have one delicious copy of The Immortal Rules to giveaway. All you need to know is that it ends May 12th and that it's for Australian residents only. ENJOY!

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