My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I like to do my reviews off the cuff so I’m sorry if it isn’t as organized or well thought out as some other reviews. I like to do things this way because it guarantees that I’m honest and in touch with my emotions.
In this case, I feel pretty positive about my experience reading “The Immortal Rules”, despite occasionally feeling annoyed with Allison, the story’s protagonist. I’m okay with characters making mistakes and/or behaving less than admirably, but there was a moment or two in the first half of the book when I (literally) said out loud, “What the fuck?” There’s one moment I’m thinking of in particular where Allison has this big revelation regarding her vampire sire, and I couldn’t fathom how this POSSIBLY could not have occurred to her sooner, even given her recent transition to vampirehood. I mean, the girl is given a lot of time to think at one point, and she still manages to miss this huge detail about Kanin, her vampire master.
That was really the worst of it, as after some drama goes down, Allison strikes it out on her own and faces a number of interesting challenges. Namely, things get REALLY interesting when she encounters a group of humans traveling out in the wilds, and she decides to pretend to be a human to join them, all for the explicit purpose of feeding off them. That’s the thing that I love about Kagawa’s world of vampires. They are brutal and bloodthirsty, and Allison is no exception.
Like many vampire protagonists in books, one of the key themes revolves around humanity and the loss of it, but not just that, what constitutes humanity at all. Time and again throughout the book, we see Allison exercise amazing self-restraint, meanwhile engaging in brave and self-sacrificing acts. In contrast many humans in the book exhibit selfish, callous, and vicious behavior, betraying Allison’s trust the moment it becomes convenient for them. Does it sound lame? The idea that a girl could somehow discover her humanity as a vampire in ways she never could as a human? Maybe it IS a little hokey, but I thought Kagawa handled the theme well, and it made for an enjoyable read.
Also, props to Kagawa for writing a protagonist of Japanese ethnicity without resorting to a gross amount of stereotypes. Allison is just like anybody else, and her use of a katana as a weapon is more an acknowledgment of her heritage than an attempt by Kagawa to exploit the character’s “Asian-ness”.
This book is a great read, and I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoyed “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins, or even fans of The Walking Dead franchise (same bleak dystopian setting with dangerous monsters that want to eat you–good fit, right?)