Reading Level: YA
Hardcover: 480 Pages
Publisher: Harlequin Teen 4/24/12
Who would have thought that a writer who created a completely believable Iron Fey world could write a dystopian vampire novel? First off, who ever thought of a dystopian vampire story would sell? As saturated as the YA market is with vampires, werewolves and zombies, Julie Kagawa changes the landscape and descends us into a world where vampires are bad and evil and will kill you. There are no sparkly, love-starved vampires in this book. And you know what? I really enjoyed this one.
My only problem with the book was the first quarter. I found it a bit unnecessary to give us Allison's human life. I think this could've been told in a series of flashbacks. The friends in her human life -- Stick, Rat and Lucas -- are peripheral characters that don't really add to the story. Basically we learn that Allison is compassionate and fiercely independent. The story doesn't really take off until Alison is attacked by zombie-like vampires called Rabids, feral vampires.
Once Allison is turned into a vampire (to save her life), she is disgusted that she has become one of them. Something that she has hated all of her life, humans are treated as cattle, pets and playthings of the superior vampires. Caged in a city where they are food and nothing else. The vampire who turned (Kanin) Allison has his on modus operandi and becomes a mentor to the newly-turned Allison.
Allison does everything she can to try to stave off the blood lust that creeps underneath the surface. She refuses to become one of those vampires and informs Kanin that she will and can live a normal, albeit undead, life with humans.
"Sometime in your life, Allison Sekemoto, you kill a human being. The question is not if it happen, but when. Do you understand?" -Kanin, The Immortal Rules.Kanin becomes the mentor to the mentee and teaches Allison everything she needs to know to make it in the world of the undead. Luckily for Allison, she's been turned by a master vampire, so she is considered stronger than most as Kanin explains the hierarchy of the vampire world. Kanin is also a wanted vampire by the king of vampires inside the walled city. And Allison somehow manages to bring them right to their doorstep. With precious few seconds, Kanin tells her how to survive on her own in the wilderness just as he is captured.
The last part of the book has Allison teaming up with a traveling gypsy of humans who are looking for Eden. A place where there are no vampires and they can try to find the cure that has wiped out most of the population. Allison manages to insinuate herself into the group and also manages to find something of a love interest in Zeke. But her secret must be kept or they will turn on her and kill her. This ragtag bunch of people range from little children to demensia-plagued adults. Ruth, a teen about Allison's age, senses something is not right about Allison and vows to find out the truth. Ruth from the beginning has never trusted Allison and is quite jealous when Zeke shows interest in Ally and not Ruth. There really is no love triangle here. Zeke is too naive to see it. However, Ruth does find out about Allison's secret and outs her immediately. Zeke vows to kill Allison and she is ousted from the group.
With Rabids all over the woods and the group being chased by Raiders, Allison secretly follows them until they meet until trouble and she must show herself. Here she manages to save Zeke from abduction, but the others in the group are not so lucky. Throughout all of this Allison's humanity shines through and she is able to put the vampire part of her aside to help a group of humans that need it. This book is jam-packed with excitement and the ending brings the book full circle in regards to Kanin. We only see Kanin in 2/4ths of the book, but his presence is well known to Allison because of a connection a sire has with his protegee.
I wished we had more Kanin because he really was the interesting part of the story. I found Zeke and that crew to be a little bit annoying and too fanatical. Jebbediah Crosse reminded me a bit of Jim Jones leading his followers into their death.
Allison is a great protaganist and I'm excited to see more from Julie in regards to this series.