The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

Julie Kagawa is an American author, who was born in Sacramento, California. Her love of reading led her to pen some very dark and gruesome stories, complete with colored illustrations, to shock her hapless teachers. The gory tales faded with time, but the passion for writing remained, long after she graduated and was supposed to get a real job. Julie now lives in Louisville, Kentucky, with her husband. She is best known for writing the Iron Fey series: The Iron King, The Iron DaughterThe Iron Queen and The Iron KnightThe Immortal Rules is the first book in her new paranormal series, Blood of Eden

A e-galley of this book was provided for review by the publisher via NetGalley.

In a future world, Vampires reign. Humans are blood cattle. And one girl will search for the key to save humanity.

Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten. Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them. The vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself is attacked—and given the ultimate choice. Die… or become one of the monsters.

Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most. To survive, she must learn the rules of being immortal, including the most important: go long enough without human blood, and you will go mad. Then Allie is forced to flee into the unknown, outside her city walls. There she joins a ragged band of humans who are seeking a legend—a possible cure to the disease that killed off most of humankind and created the rabids, the mindless creatures who threaten humans and vampires alike. But it isn’t easy to pass for human. Especially not around Zeke, who might see past the monster inside her. And Allie soon must decide what — and who — is worth dying for.

I have been looking forward to The Immortal Rules ever since it was announced and was lucky to be given a copy of it before the release date from HarlequinTeen. I have to admit that while I enjoyed Kagawa’s The Iron Fey series, it wasn’t all I thought it could be. So I was looking forward to seeing Julie’s writing mature and her tackle a meatier, more vigorous type of book. The Immortal Rules does not disappoint! It’s gritty and dark (which I loved) and has a much stronger cast of characters who do not fail to amaze.

My favourite aspect of the book has to be the setting - a dark future world in which vampires have taken over and treat humans like walking blood bags, where a deadly plague has killed off much of the human population anyway and survivors live in squalor in the vampire cities. The protagonist, Allison, lives in the Fringes of one of these cities and refuses to be Registered (and be forced to give blood twice a month) - so she is forced to scavenge and hunt for food. While there are dangers inside the cities, there is a far greater threat outside: rabid people who carry the plague and have been turned into vampiristic animals that prey on humans. It’s such a vivid world, full of tangible horrors, that I couldn’t help but be completely hooked!

Meghan in The Iron Fey series came across to me as a weak character for much of the series - always relying on others to help her and whining about everything constantly. Allie is none of those things - she didn’t even whine when she was turned into a vampire! Here is a character who stoically accepts that she made a decision to continue living as a vampire instead of dying, and then gets on with it and learns to be a creature of the night. She, reasonably, wants to protect humans and her humanity, but never complains or plays a hapless victim.

The storyline is much tighter than I had expected, which a fast pace that continues until about halfway through the book. There is a section that is so slow and boring I found myself wanting to give up, but the action picked up and the end was explosive and left me wanting more.

This book has gone straight to being one of my favourites for 2012 - lovers of paranormal fiction and the young adult genre will enjoy The Immortal Rules, but it has something awesome for those who haven’t tried Kagawa’s work as well. If you’re tired of reading vampire fiction then have a go at this book. It will blow your mind!

About the book:

  • Date published: 24 April 2012
  • Publisher: HarlequinTeen
  • Format: Paperback, 485 pages
  • ISBN 13: 9780373210510 ISBN 10: 0732290872
  • Categories: Fantasy, Young Adult
  • Goodreads / The Book Depository

In My Mailbox (27)

Happy Easter readers! I hope this weekend is full of chocolates and other yummy food, and the love of family :-)

This is the first week of my book-buying ban. I think I’ve done quite well! I read and reviewed Angel and Angle Fire by L. A. Weatherly, Eve by Anna Carey and The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss. Look out next week for my reviews of Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins, The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa and The Magician’s Aprrentice by Trudi Canavan. 

And the books! This week I got: (links go to Goodreads pages)

  • Partials by Dan Wells - I ordered this a long time ago and it finally arrived this week!
  • The Goddess Hunt by Aimee Carter (#1.5 in The Goddess Test series) - I downloaded this for free from HarlequinTeen Australia. It’s a little novella that I’m excited about reading when I read the series.
  •  Fairy Metal Thunder by J. L. Bryan - I won this at the wonderful Xpresso Reads! Thanks Giselle!

Books I received for review:

  • Ashen WInter by Mike Mullan - from Tanglewood Publishing via NetGalley. This is the sequel to Ashfall, which I will buy as soon as I can!
  • Exiled by J. R. Wagner - from Greenleaf Book Group via NetGalley. It sounds like I will really enjoy this book so I’m pretty excited about it.
  • Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier - from Random House Children’s Books via NetGalley.

Did you get any books this week? Please leave your links below and I’ll be sure check them out. Happy reading!

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by The Story Siren. It allows bloggers to share the books they have bought, gotten from a library and received for review. For more information please visit The Story Siren’s IMM page

In My Mailbox (25)

What a week! I was lucky enough to go and see The Hunger Games movie on Thursday and IT. WAS. AWESOME. I hope you all get to go and see it! I also read some great books, The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, Supernaturally by Kiersten White and Crave by Melissa Darnell. I’ve read a few others but you will have to wait until they’re released to see reviews! I also did a post on some recent bookish news, if it is a success I will endeavour to post book related news regularly. 

On to the books! This week I bought:

  • Uglies, Pretties and Specials by Scott Westerfeld - I love these covers! I’ve heard many good things about this series so I’m looking forward to reading it.
  • The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss (Book II of The Kingkiller Chronicle) - I finally got my mass-market paperback edition to match The Name of the Wind. I can’t wait to rip into it.
  • Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood (Book I of The Cahill Witch Chronicles)- I’ve been looking at this for a while and plan to read it as part of the DAC2012.
  • A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin (Book V of A Song of Ice and Fire) - I waited for the mass-market paperback, so I’m eager to finally read it!
  • The Dark Divide by Jennifer Fallon (Book II of Rift Runners) - Okay so I haven’t read The Undivided yet, but I couldn’t resist. 
  • Starters by Lissa Price - I saw this around on so many blogs over the past fortnight and really wanted it. I walked into a store and BAM there it was, for $11. It found it’s way into the basket. 

Books I received for review:

  • The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa - from HarlequinTeen via netGalley.

What did you get this week? Leave your links below and I’ll be sure to hop on by. Happy reading!

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by The Story Siren. It allows bloggers to share the books they have bought, gotten from a library and received for review. For more information please visit The Story Siren’s IMM page

The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa

Julie Kagawa is an American author, who was born in Sacramento, California. Her love of reading led her to pen some very dark and gruesome stories, complete with colored illustrations, to shock her hapless teachers. The gory tales faded with time, but the passion for writing remained, long after she graduated and was supposed to get a real job. Julie now lives in Louisville, Kentucky, with her husband. She is best known for writing the Iron Fey series: The Iron King, The Iron DaughterThe Iron Queen and The Iron Knight.

    Ash, former prince of the Winter Court, gave up everything. His title, his home, even his vow of loyalty - all for a girl. And all for nothing … unless he can earn a soul. 

    To the cold, emotionless faery prince, love was a weakness for mortals and fools. His own love had died a horrible death, killing any gentler feelings the Winter prince might have had. Or so he thought … Then Meghan Chase - half human, half fey - smashed through his barricades, binding him to her irrevocably with his oath to be her knight. But Meghan is now the Iron Queen, ruler of a realm where no Winter or Summer fey can survive. 

    With the (unwelcome) company of his arch-rival, Summer Court prankster Puck, and the infuriating cat sith Grimalkin, Ash begins a quest to find a way to honour his solemn vow to stand by Meghan’s side. Then Ash learns something that changes everything. A truth that turns reality upside down, challenges his darkest beliefs and shows him that, sometimes, it takes more than courage to make the ultimate sacrifice. 

A book written from Ash’s point of view! The Iron Knight was an enlightening read - finally getting to see the world through Ash’s eyes was fun. He was very different from what I had expected - harsher, colder - and it helped me realise the depth of his feelings for Meghan. I also liked the growth he displayed throughout the book. He made some very hard decisions and got to know himself a lot better too. 

I feel that, ultimately, the plot of this novel wasn’t as engaging as it could have been. The urgency and importance of Ash’s quest to obtain a soul was never conveyed - I found myself skipping pages. I also think the ‘ultimate sacrifice’ Ash gave was really no sacrifice at all. The ending seemed forced, and I think the author tried too hard to make sure everyone’s personal story had a fairy floss ending. 

While it was a good conclusion to the series, I feel this book was mediocre at best. It lacked the emotional drive of The Iron Queen, and apart from the insights given to the reader in seeing through Ash’s eyes, The Iron Knight offers nothing that could not have been given in three extra chapters in The Iron Queen

About the book:

The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa

Julie Kagawa is an American author, who was born in Sacramento, California. Her love of reading led her to pen some very dark and gruesome stories, complete with colored illustrations, to shock her hapless teachers. The gory tales faded with time, but the passion for writing remained, long after she graduated and was supposed to get a real job. Julie now lives in Louisville, Kentucky, with her husband. She is best known for writing the Iron Fey series: The Iron King, The Iron DaughterThe Iron Queen and The Iron Knight.

    I thought it was over. That my time with the fey, the impossible choices I had to make, the sacrifices of those I loved, was behind me. But a storm is approaching, an army of Iron fey that will drag me back, kicking and screaming. Drag me away from the banished prince who’s sworn to stand by my side. Drag me into a conflict so powerful, I’m not sure anyone can survive it. 

    This time, there will be no turning back. 

Aside from the very beginning of the story, I feel the plot of The Iron Queen is tight and flows well. The first few chapters seemed haphazard - there were many unexplained coincidences - and it took a while for the story to start making sense. There were a few flaws in the logic of the plot, and sometimes character motivations weren’t clear, but it was a good story anyway. 

The novel focusses on the world of the Fey as they battle the forces of the new Iron King. It was always inevitable that Meghan would have to confront the false Iron King, and the mission allowed her and Ash to assess their commitment to one another. I think they both proved their devotion to one another well, and the story captured their confusion after their banishment from the Fey. I thought it was great that Meghan finally learned how to fight, but found that the first time she was in a real battle she did too well. It is unlikely that anyone could have picked up those skills as quickly as she had. 

The ending of the book had been foreshadowed so strongly in the previous books that I was hardly surprised. I think the next, and final, book of the series has a lot of potential because it has been set up to answer some interesting questions about Meghan and Ash, and the world of the Fey. 

About the book:

The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa

Julie Kagawa is an American author, who was born in Sacramento, California. Her love of reading led her to pen some very dark and gruesome stories, complete with colored illustrations, to shock her hapless teachers. The gory tales faded with time, but the passion for writing remained, long after she graduated and was supposed to get a real job. Julie now lives in Louisville, Kentucky, with her husband. She is best known for writing the Iron Fey series: The Iron King, The Iron DaughterThe Iron Queen and The Iron Knight.

    Half Summer faery princess, half human.

    Meghan has never fit in anywhere. Deserted by the Winter prince she thought loved her, she is prisoner to the Winter faery queen. As war looms between Summer and Winter, Meghan knows that the real danger comes from the Iron Fey - ironbound faeries that only she and her absent prince have seen. But no one believes her. 

    Worse, Meghan’s own fey powers have been cut off. She’s stuck in Faery with only her wits for help. Trusting anyone would be foolish. Trusting a seeming traitor would be deadly. But even as she grows a backbone or iron, Meghan can’t help but hear the whispers of longing in her all-too-human heart. 

I didn’t enjoy The Iron King much because of my gripes with Meghan as a character. I find that I liked The Iron Daughter more, but still have issues with Meghan. Here is an intelligent, independent girl whose intelligence and independence leave her when she needs them most. Ash explains to Meghan that they must not allow Winter to discover their feelings for one another. At their next meeting, however, she wants to run and cuddle him. Worse, she refers to him without the proper honorific - he is a Winter Prince after all. Meghan miserably concludes that Ash must have feigned interest in her before. He explained this to you, you daft individual. 

Once I get past Meghan, and her relationship issues, I realise the idea of the series is pretty good. I like Queen Mab even though she terrifies me. I wonder why the folk of Winter lack compassion - I hope the traits of the two courts are eventually explained. It was interesting to find out more about Ash’s past, to get to know him beyond the hunky, mysterious hero of The Iron King. I can’t understand Meghan’s parents and I hope future books focus more on their relationship with her. 

The Iron King had a slight upswing in plot elements and entertainment which encouraged me to pick up The Iron Daughter. I find this is not the case with The Iron Daughter, and I have misgivings about the third book in the series, The Iron Queen. I know there are many fans of the series out there, and I believe I am in the minority, but I still don’t think this series deserves the hype that surrounds it. 

About the book:

    The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

    Julie Kagawa is an American author, who was born in Sacramento, California. Her love of reading led her to pen some very dark and gruesome stories, complete with colored illustrations, to shock her hapless teachers. The gory tales faded with time, but the passion for writing remained, long after she graduated and was supposed to get a real job. Julie now lives in Louisville, Kentucky, with her husband. She is best known for writing the Iron Fey series: The Iron King, The Iron DaughterThe Iron Queen and The Iron Knight.

    ** This review contains material which some readers may consider spoilers. **

        Meghan Chase has a secret destiny - one she could never have imagined …

        Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan’s life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school … or at home. 

        When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her. Meghan senses that everything she’s known is about to change.

        She could never have guessed the truth - that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she’ll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face … and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

    After looking forward to reading this series for almost a year, I was disappointed at the beginning of The Iron King. Julie Kagawa forces every cliche in the YA genre into the first part of her novel: the uncaring parents, the funny best friend, the dark and mysterious stranger. My disappointment stemmed mostly from Meghan’s character. She is a sixteen year old girl who begins the book by bemoaning the poverty of her family and mooning over a football player. The mysterious disappearance of Meghan’s brother finally starts the ball rolling - Meghan becomes a much more interesting character because of her love for her brother. However, she regularly forgets the reason she made the journey into the land of the Fey. One look from Prince Ash, and she’s forgotten all about her brother!

    My gripes with Meghan aside, I must admit that the book got a lot better as the plot progressed, especially at Part III. I liked Prince Ash - mostly because he seemed like a genuinely good person. I never did understand exactly when Ash and Meghan fell in love, there seemed to be many glances and gasps, and suddenly, randomly, they were kissing. I felt sorry for Robbie (Puck), but usually the scenes he was in felt strained and awkward, especially when it became clear he was the third wheel in the romance. I loved the idea of using characters like King Oberon, Queen Tatiana and Puck from Shakespeare, the Summer Court is a lovely re-imagination of the play. I also liked the Iron Fey - fey are born from the aspirations of mortals, and the Iron Fey were created because of mankind’s progress with technology. 

    I feel I should point out that the book needs a little more editing. When someone says, three quarters of the way through the book, that it’s the first time Prince Ash has taken Meghan’s name, I immediately go back and check if that’s true. And it wasn’t, Prince Ash had spoken to her and taken her name before. 

    I feel that Julie Kagawa has a lot of potential, and since the quality of this book improved by the end, I am going to read the rest of the series. At the moment, however, I don’t feel like this series deserves the hype it gets.

    About the book: