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HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY! The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden #1) (ARC) ~ Julie Kagawa

The Immortal Rules
Author: Julie Kagawa
Publication: April 24, 2012
By: Harlequin Teen

Thank you Netgalley & Harlequin Teen!

This is my third poem this week...don't laugh too hard.

Roses are red & violets are blue
If you were Turned like Allie
You'd cry tears of blood too
Tryin' so hard to keep her humanity
It's almost enough to lose her sanity

No family, no friends and nowhere to go
She sets out in search of a place to belong 
And stumbles upon Zeke, Caleb & Jeb
Who tell her she's welcome to tag along

The longer she stays the greater her need
Till one stormy night she's forced to feed
The truth is discovered, a monster uncovered, tearing new friends apart
Threats are made, promises broken, leaving more than one shattered heart

Now, with nothing to hear except her own voice
Allie will learn the true meaning of choice
To stay or to go, when life is at stake
Only she can decide; no room for mistake

Just when it seems all has been lost
And her thoughts linger on sleep
Hope returns, faith is restored
Yet everything comes at a cost

While light shines through the darkness
Allie's work is not done
With a whisper, a prayer, and a kiss
Her choice once again becomes life or death and a question
Can love be worth all of this?  (Um, definitely, yes)
Once again, Julie Kagawa has written an amazing book that is nothing like I expected!  I don't usually "do" blood, guts, gore and overall "ick" but this story is SO.MUCH.MORE. than all that!  It's a book about finding hope where all hope seems lost and seeing people for who they really are.

The world building is incredible, making you feel like you're inside the story but at the same time, the gory parts aren't overwhelming.  The characters are multi-layered and have depth without seeming stereotypical.

In a world where vampires are the ruling race and a plague has left the remaining humans at their mercy, living in fear of the Rabids, seventeen year old Allie dreams of day when the humans will rise up and take back all that's been stolen from them.  Their freedom, their choice and their lives.  She hates vampires with a vengeance but when she suffers a vicious attack one night at the hands of Rabids, she's faced with a choice, die or be "Turned"?

Desperate to survive, she chooses "life", and now has to learn to live with her "dead" herself.  The one who "created" her explains that what's left of her humanity will slip away the more she relies on human blood to survive.  Allie refuses to believe this, still hoping she can make a difference, especially now that she's immortal.  She even hopes to avoid being able to kill but Kanin assures she will eventually kill once her Hunger gets to be too much.  There are rules that come with this new life of hers but Allie is kinda stubborn, a trait that doesn't change when she's "Turned", and she breaks a few which results in her being hunted and having to go on the run. 

When she's on her own, Allie stumbles upon Ezekiel, or "Zeke" and his band of humans who are journeying toward, Eden, a "Promise Land" of sorts.  Eden is a land where there are no vampires, no Rabids and humans can live safely with all they need to better themselves.  The idea of Eden is bittersweet for Allie because it's exactly the kind of place she could only dream about when she was still alive and now is off limits to her "kind".  Zeke's group is led by Jebediah Crosse, a would be religious zealot with a deadly opinion of vampires.  If Allie is to remain with this group for long, she'll have to convince them she's as human as they are.  But the longer she stays, the harder it becomes and it's not just her Hunger that's being tested.

Zeke is unlike anyone Allie's ever met, human or dead.  He's kind, caring and puts the needs of others before himself.  (Did I mention, Preacher Boy has a first class ticket to Hotville?)  Allie's used to fending for herself, even before becoming what she is now but the more she gets to know him the more difficult he is to resist.  How is it that he seems to be able to see past the monster, to the good in her, even though he doesn't know what she is?  It's only a matter of time before the truth will come out and when it does, it will change them both forever. *clutches chest*

For Zeke, Allie is fascinating!  She's beautiful, exotic, and powerful with her pint sized Samurais self.  She makes him laugh and she challenges everything he's ever believed.  Everything he knows, he's learned from Jeb (his adopted father) and Allie makes him realize that while he may share some of the same beliefs as Jeb, his faith is his own, for his own reasons. (We can grow up with our parents faith but at some point we have to decide for ourselves what/if we believe and why. We have to own it.)  Zeke is convinced, like Jeb is, that vampires are soulless demons and should be killed but when a string of  bad luck hits their group and Allie's true nature is revealed, the lines between truth and conviction will blur. 

Cast out and on her own once again, Allie will have to decide her next move, fully aware of the danger that awaits the pack of humans she's grown attached to and the boy who promised to kill her if their paths cross again.  When the group find themselves in the hands of a vampire Prince who seeks the cure for those who've been "Turned" and will stop at nothing to get it, Allie can choose to help or flee but to help means coming face to face with Zeke.  The ending is heart pounding, action packed and left me breathless and CLUTCHING MY CHEST! 

Knowledge is power and there's a war brewing. The bonds of family and friendship will be tested, people will die but life is about choice. You can choose to live how you've been told to believe or you can choose to live based on what you've seen and know to be true. 

I was also left wishing I didn't have to wait so long to find out what happens next! 

PS - LURVE ME SOME PREACHER BOY!  Let's hope Cupcake Boy doesn't get too jealous. ;D

Allie, is stubborn and strong willed but not so much that she isn't willing to consider other people's point's of view and learn from them. She is exposed to both Jeb and Zeke's idea of faith and is able to see the difference between the two. One has lost complete faith and is simply fulfilling a duty while the other still has hope that God still exists, and there's still good to be found amidst the evil in the world.  She's brave, selfless and refuses to accept that she has to live her life a certain way.  Even when she's cast out of the group she still protects them, risking her own life in the process which goes against everything in her nature. It also dispels everything the group has ever been taught about vampires. 

Zeke is the BEST kind of hero!  He gives all that he has to others and even after he knows what Allie is, he comes back for her and is still willing to do whatever is necessary to save her.  How can you NOT love him?!  *SWOONS*

I enjoyed Kanin as well and he has good in him too. He may act like he's soulless and tell Allie that she's a monster but I don't buy it.  The fact that he's still looking for a cure and that he leaves something for his victims shows that he too is fighting to hold onto a part of himself.

Jeb has redeeming qualities too. Even if he no longer believes in God, he's determined to help as many people as possible get to Eden and he doesn't turn away anyone in need.  He certainly isn't perfect but this story is a good example of how judging people based solely on beliefs can mean missing out on an extraordinary person.  People are not always what they seem and something good can come from a bad situation there is light in darkness. 


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