I love GOOD vampire fiction, have since I was pretty young. But too much bad vampire fiction in recent years, particularly some very popular young adult vampire fiction, was starting to rather taint the whole genre for me. And then this gem of a YA novel crossed my path. Julie Kagawa’s “The Immortal Rules,” the first book in a planned series, introduces one of the most captivating protagonists I’ve encountered in a novel. Allison Sekemoto is strong, determined, fiercely moral according to her own code of beliefs, and almost suicidal loyal to the families she makes or joins. Kagawa crafts a compelling dystopian future, one in which vampire overlords both enslave humanity as blood donors and protect them from a greater threat to survival in the form of feral “rabids.” This chaotic existence forces those, like Allie, who eschew the vampire protection to scavenge to survive in hostile and dangerous world and will soon demand that Allie make the choice to become what she hates in order to survive. Allie’s journey, and the people she meets, will force her to rethink what it means to be human and how exactly to separate what makes a person human and what makes a monster. And that journey will have consequences not only for Allie, but possibly for all of humanity. Kagawa’s heroine is a powerful representation of the human instinct to survive and to thrive even in the darkest circumstances. I eagerly wait for the next book to see how Allie’s story will continue to unwind.
Advance reading copy received through Netgalley.