One thing I really liked about The Immortal Rules was how Julie Kagawa didn’t hesitate to torture her character. I mean this in the sense that she isn’t afraid to throw all the bad stuff at her character’s direction, and she isn’t afraid to keep the bad stuff flowing. She doesn’t hold back on the details, either. A lot of the books, namely the ones in the YA romance genre, capture the main character as someone perfect in every way possible, though he/she may not know and/or think so. But Allie was flawed. She wasn’t perfect – far from it – and she acknowledged that. And she wants to survive, which is what drives her forward, and makes her do all these things that’ll make you wince and cringe, but you’ll understand why she does it.
I also think that the way she was turned into a vampire was handled really well. There was a clear and understandable motive behind it: staying alive. I know a lot of people would think that, you know, a character should be brave and embrace death, especially since the alternative is becoming something you hate. But when you’re actually dying – which, alone, is kind of a terrifying thought -, and someone hands you an alternative, a way out, I think that most people in Allie’s situation would chose to become a vampire, especially since it means staying alive.
I also loved Allie herself. She’s a flawed character, and she isn’t afraid to admit it. She can handle herself and think for herself, and really has a backbone. Though stubborn, she has a strong will, and does what she thinks is right. Albeit, what she thinks is right isn’t always right, but it’s better than doing what other people tell her to, or mindlessly doing things that’re supposed to be ‘good,’ right? Brownie points for being Asian (you don’t see many Asian YA heroines), and for wielding Kantanas. Which is pretty awesome.
But while I liked Allie, I didn’t like some of the other characters were and/or were portrayed, mainly Zeke, Ruth, and Kanin. Zeke was so… plain and flat. He was sweet, sure, but he didn’t seem very useful – just some side character Julie Kagawa threw in to add romance into the story.
I didn’t like how Kanin was portrayed as someone whom was, in a way, someone Allie looked up to and admired. He was dark and ruthless, and a bit like Allie, though more reserved, and the way he acted and spoke just made him someone I felt like I should question. But Allie actually hung onto his words, and in a way she lived her vampire life by the stuff he told her, which had me a little confused. Kanin wasn’t the type of person I’d look up to or follow.
But even more than that, I really disliked how Ruth was portrayed. I mean, okay, Allie can be seen as some kick-ass survivor, but the other female in this story had to be portrayed as a helpless weakling, slut-shamed, scorned, and clearly designed to be a character everyone hated. Why? What’s wrong with adding in another strong female who’s entirely capable of looking out for herself? But god forbid Allie have some competition for Zeke’s feelings, right? Why is it so bad to throw in another amazing female character?
I also felt like the beginning was really slow, and that this book could’ve been broken up into two separate books: the first half, and the last half. There’s just so many things Julie Kagawa fits into this book, and while it goes by at a nice, somewhat fast pace, there’s also scenes that’re way too heavy with description or too many events packed into one scene when it could’ve been spread out into a couple scenes. There were also scenes that dragged and slowed the story as a result of so many things being crammed into the other scenes, which threw the book off-balance.
Also, I really disliked the ending. It’s not that I disliked how it actually ended, but more like I disliked why it ended the way she did. It’s hard to describe why without giving anything away, but to summarize it all I just really felt that she let her feelings get a hold of her and acted out of pity towards herself rather than consideration towards others.
As always, Julie Kagawa’s writing is almost magical, and her action scenes are breathtaking and startlingly real. They’re also plentiful, which is always a good thing. And these are actually real vampires. The bloodsucking, Run-The-Hell-Away-While-You-Can type. Yay! However, The Immortal Rules had too much in it, and only a few enjoyable characters. While The Immortal Rules isn’t a bad book, it isn’t any of my favorites, either.