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Nessa's Thoughts

Just a British girl who reads a bit too much.

Currently reading

The Dead Zone
Stephen King
The Diving Bell And The Butterfly
Jean-Dominique Bauby
Clarissa, or, the History of a Young Lady
Samuel Richardson, Angus Ross
Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison
Piper Kerman
The Cuckoo's Calling
Robert Galbraith
The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden, #1) - Julie Kagawa I can already hear the groans. Some of which are escaping from my mouth.'A vampire dystopia? Oh for the love of... You're kidding me, right? That's never going to work without being a huge rip-off of Daybreakers.'Don't get me wrong, I love vampires, and I love dystopian novels. I just never thought that they would go together. And while I am not yet acquainted with Julie Kagawa's rather popular Iron Fey series (probably because the only copy in my local bookshop has a little 'IF YOU LOVED TWILIGHT then you'll love this' recommendation printed onto the cover and it makes me rage, argh), I was more than happy to see if her new vampire series could prove me wrong. So let's dip our McDonald's fries into our strawberry milkshake (those of you making disgusted faces at me, you don't know what you're missing out on) and find out.Vampire society in The Immortal Rules is based upon a four-tiered pyramid. At the top you have vampires, who live like aristocrats and are the ruling class, basically. Slightly below them are the equivalent of the middle class 'Pets', humans raised inside the city, in the vampires' thrall. These humans are very happy to enslave themselves to their vampire overlords, just because it makes for a very comfortable, easy life. Outside of the city is where you have the two working classes: the Registered and the Unregistered. Registered humans can live and work as normal, except you have to give some of your blood away when the Pets come around every month, lest face dire consequences. Unregistered humans on the other hand eschew this vampire bureaucracy (and blood transfusions), living very meagre existences where you have to steal to survive.Allison Sekemoto is one of the Unregistered, having hated vampires ever since she can remember. But she is soon turned into a vampire. Uh-oh, I smell an internal character conflict!Whilst directing her gang towards a stash of food out in the wilds where rabid humans and animals lurk overground and underground, Allison is attacked. Her life is then saved by a vampire named Kanin, who offers her the choice between life and death. Naturally, Allison chooses to live, and becomes one of the undead, even though this goes against all the principles she holds dear.Kanin just so happens to be a very powerful vampire (no, he's not Alucard from Hellsing) who is kind of sort of responsible for the sorry state the world is currently in.After training Allie to be a proper vampire, the two are separated and Allie has to leave New Covington. Whilst wandering through the forests, Allie falls in with a small community of travellers searching for paradise who hate vampires and cast Allie out when they discover her secret. After most of the group are kidnapped, Allie has to team up with a sceptical survivor (Zeke) and head right into the heart of a city populated by bandits, headed by one of the most dangerous vampire lords of all.Okay, to me that sounds like a fairly cool story. It's cool that Allison can take care of herself (she even carries around a katana), and it's pretty much a reversal of Twilight: a boy with no personality falls for a girl who is a very capable vampire. Yes, I said it. Zeke has no personality. I really don't remember anything notable about him except for his revenge quest, and that's a damn shame, because I normally love his kind of guy: sweet, caring, righteous, warts and all.Allison also grew to be a rather boring narrator to me after a while. There was a lot of moments where it was just 'I did this' and 'I did that'. Add to that, the story just didn't grab me the way I thought it would. The first act was really good, but when we got to the second act with Allie living with Jebediah Cross' band of travellers, it seriously slowed down and was a slog to get through. And this persisted even up to the part where Allie's secret is found out and she has to rescue the people who ostracised her when she needed them most... Up until the ending. The ending was really good and I'll definitely be getting the next book in this series, but I was severely disappointed by how much of a non-event most of this book was.I suppose all the stuff that could have been in this book is going to be kept from view until the sequel comes out. For example, I really want to know more about Kanin. I want to know more about the Red Lung disease. And the foundation of New Covington. And Eden.Also, if there's one thing I wish would have happened... how come Allison wasn't pursued when she escaped New Covington? I know the wilds outside of the city are dangerous and teeming with rabid animals and humans, but I'd assume some pets or vampires would have been sent after her. Roaming bikers and the occasional rabid attack don't really have the same bite to them, especially when you know that Allison is a vampire, and thus much more powerful than her assailants.Character-wise, the novel felt quite myopic. I only really got to know Stick, Allison, and Kanin, not to mention the travellers. Then they're killed off or drawn out of the picture almost entirely. In the end, all we have is Allie and Zeke. I don't mind novels focusing on only one or two characters, but variety is the spice of life, after all. None of the side characters were developed enough to care about and when I got tired of Allie's narration, it was in record time.So, what are the good things about this novel? Well, we have a badass main heroine. We have a fairly well-developed dystopia that's very open for exploration in the sequel(s) and constant threat of attack from rabids, and maybe even some threat from the actual vampires (provided that they get up off their lazy arses in the sequels). I really liked the presence of the vampires and how they and their pets were something to fear back in New Covington, but unfortunately the final boss was really quite underwhelming, when he could have been so much better. 3/5.(This review is also available on my blog: http://book-wyrm.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/the-immortal-rules-blood-of-eden-1-by.html)