A vampire for all ages: The Immortal Rules

I love the fact that there seems to be a vampire story for all age groups.

As I write this, my four-year old is watching a bizarre little show called Mona the Vampire on the ABC, yesterday I ogled over that (decidedly adult) True Blood magazine cover, and today I finished a fantastic young adult novel, an enticing, blood-sucking adventure The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa (Harlequin Teen).

Aimed squarely at plucky teenage girls, Julie’s novel is a wonderfully entertaining tale of vampires, rabids, ferals and ‘bloodbags’ all battling darkly, hopelessly against extinction, striving towards an increasingly unlikely survival.

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.

It’s been said before, but there is undoubtedly a lack of strong female protagonists in literature, but Julie has kindly helped to redress the balance. Allie is tough and resourceful. Both before and after her turning, she shows true grit and determination, and the delightful ability to skilfully wield a katana. She paints herself as detached, but through her relationships with Stick, Zeke and even Kanin, she shows herself to be ultimately caring and subtly gallant.

There’s plenty of action, blood and gore:

“Something hit me from behind, hard, and warmth spread over my neck and back, though there was no pain. The blow knocked me forward, and I stumbled, falling to my knees. A weight landed on me, screeching, tearing at me, and bright strips of fire began to spread across my shoulders. I screamed and flipped over, using my legs to shove it away, but another pale creature filled my vision, and all I could see was its face and teeth and blank, dead eyes, lunging forward .”

And plenty of the usual vampire mythology, imagery and romance:

“I lunged, sinking my fangs into his neck, driving them deep. Stifling a cry, Zeke stiffened and gripped my arms, arching his back. His blood coursed hot and sweet into my mouth, spreading through me, a slow-moving fire. It tasted of earth and smoke, of heat and passion and strength, of all things Zeke. He breathed my name, a sigh of benediction and longing, and I couldn’t get close enough, never close enough.”

It’s little wonder really that the vampiric tale is so often revisited…

The novel itself brought to mind many favourites; True Blood, Underworld, even I am Legend, but the author’s creation of darkly decrepit vampire cities, vampiric hierachy and the threat of ‘rabids’ on the doorstep has kept her novel fresh and original. The search for Eden, and for an illusive, perhaps impossible cure drives the story ever forward.

I’m no YA expert but I’d say that if you liked Hunger Games and Twilight you’ll no doubt enjoy The Immortal Rules equally. This is the first in a promised triology ‘Blood of Eden’ and I for one am already looking forward to the next installment.

***

I’m pleased to be able to offer one reader a copy of Julie’s The Immortal Rules this month.

All you need to do is:

1. Leave a comment on this post, or

2. Visit our Facebook page and leave a comment,

…and tell us where about your favourite vampire tale.

I’ll draw one winner at random on Monday 28 May 2012. As usual, you’ll have 4 days to claim your prize or I’ll redraw.

If you’d like to find out more about Julie’s book, you should visit her website.

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