I loved Kagawa's Iron Fey series, she put a grittiness into her writing that no other YA faerie novels had. So I was super excited to get an eARC for The Immortal Rules through NetGalley(dot)com for review. This was a very well done book; much different and for a slighly older audience than her Iron Fey series but well-done and creative.
Allison lives in the Fringe of a vampire city. She refuses to Register with the Vampire Nobles to give blood to them and wants to live free. Life as an Un-Registered is tough though and, on a run to get food in the dangerous land outside the city, shen is attacked and mauled by Rabids. A vampire that happens to be near by gives her a choice, die or be turned. Allison doesn't want to die but can she face life as the very thing she hates with such vengence? When Allison seeks to run away from her own vampire nature she joins up with a group of humans who are seeking the mysterious cure to the illness that drove humans mad and made the Rabids.
This book is an interesting mish-mash of genres. It takes place in a very dark and dank post-apocalyptic setting. The Rabids are basically zombies of a sort, they are filled with mindless hunger and attack and eat anything the moves. The illness that turns things into Rabids makes them bleed from their eyes (which is creepy and slightly disturbing). Then there is the vampire part of the story which gives the story a bit of Dystopian feel; the vampires seem to be some sort of genetic mutation or other race that takes over when humanity is on its last legs. They provide humanity protection and food for a price. Oh yeah and these aren't sparkly vampires, these vampires are viscous and downright dangerous. Allison also spends a good portion of the book in a group of human survivors and that portion is very much survivalist; they are trying to survive however they can.
So there is a lot to take in here. This is a very complex world with a lot of problems and strange things going on. It's a lot to absorb and the beginning is a bit of an info dump...I didn't mind that too much though because it was interesting. This book reminds me of a lot of different things. The main story line reminds a bit of Vampire Hunter D; humans are the minority after a huge life-ending event and Vampires rule in the post-apocalyptic world. There is a bit of Mad Max here too; Allison runs into a Vampire City that has a very post-apocalyptic-punk feel to it if you know what I mean.
Romance is a driver here, but not a huge driver...not like it was for the Iron Fey. Allison and Zeke are drawn to each other and grow to respect and even love one another, but that doesn't stop Allison from doing what needs to be done. The characters are more driven by the events that surround them than by their feelings...personally I liked this but other die-hard Iron Fey fans might feel differently.
Everything said and done I have a hard time reviewing this book because I wasn't drawn to any of the characters. I loved, loved, loved the world. I loved the complexity of it. I loved the mystery behind the rogue vampire that turned Allison, but he wasn't present for very long. Allison herself I had trouble with, she does a lot of bad things, but she is a survivor above anything else...so sometimes if you are a survivor you aren't the most admirable person. Zeke was a bit too bible-beating for me, although he changed as the story continued.
This story is much grittier than The Iron Fey series so readers should be aware of that. There is more violence, more gore, and beatings. People are struggling to survive here and that makes people violent and desperate. As such, I would probably recommend for older young adults. I did find the story completely engaging and I thought it ended in a great spot.
Overall I enjoyed the story. I think this series may become something exceptional, but I am withholding judgement for now. I loved this world to death and loved the mishmash of genres. It reminds of Vampire Hunter D and has a bit of Mad Max in it too. I had trouble liking the characters though and the story moved a bit slower than I expected; there is a lot of info dumping especially in the beginning of the story. Don't get me wrong this was a great book and I look forward to the next one. I recommend for older young adults and older who are interested in post-apocalyptic stories. I am definitely looking forward to the next Blood of Eden book.