Well, here is a new trend in literature: the dystopian vampire novel.
Julie Kagawa takes an apocalyptic view of the United States, with Chicago as a sort of Eden, and mixes it up with vampire bad (for the most part) guys and comes up with the story of Allie Sekemoto, a 16-year-old living on the “fringe,” where she is neither vampire nor protected human. But then one day, Allison gets mauled by “rabids” (vampires for whom the whole vampire thing doesn’t quite stick) and the mysterious Kanin, a Master Vampire, rescues her by offering her a choice: life as a vampire (which really means death) or just plain old death. Allie chooses the former.
Kanin trains her, helping her navigate the vampire lifestyle. But he does so assuring her that, at some point, she will have to go off on her own.
He glanced down at me, his expression softening. “Allison, how you live your life is up to you. I can only give you the skills you need to survive. But eventually, you will have to make your own decisions, come to your own terms about what you are. You are Vampire, but what kind of monster you become is out of my hands.”
Ah, yes. Monster. Allie has a difficult time reconciling that she is a Vampire, the breed she abhors and from whom she spent her life avoiding and hating. And now she’s one of them. She has to feed off of humans, and to do so, she might have to kill them. Allie has a very difficult time reconciling this.
Allie eventually does find herself on her own, and that ushers in a whole new set of problems for her. She winds up sort of on the run with a band of humans who seek Eden, and she has to conceal her Vampire-ness.
And this – this sort of merry troupe of wanderers story line – is where I have some issues with an otherwise enjoyable The Immortal Rules. I’m not sure I ever really understood why Allie went with these people. What did she want to get out of it? Eden? What good is Eden to her? And how did she come to trust them so quickly, when she trusts no one? It didn’t click with me.
The Immortal Rules is part Divergent – the Chicago setting, the warring factions, the different strata of vampires – and part, um, Twilight, in that we have some human / vampire lovin’ going on, and the whole “we are two different people” vibe. This is not necessarily a good thing. While Divergent is just so awesome and addicting – who can stop reading it? – The Immortal Rules is not difficult to put down. When Allie is running around with the humans, I lost interest, mostly because I found her involvement with them to be pointless.
But … The Immortal Rules has its good parts. When Allie is with Kanin, I was captivated. I wanted more Kanin. I wanted more of their relationship, and more of his tutelage of her. He drops out of this book WAY too early. The ending gives me hope that his loss will be rectified. (Clearly, Kagawa intends The Immortal Rules to be the beginning of a series.)
Give me more Kanin, and I’ll keep reading this series. Give me more humans, and I can’t make that same promise. I was far more invested in Allie when she was with Kanin than I was when she was with the humans.