Release Date: 04/24/12
(Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers!)
Published by: Harlequin Teen
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.
1. (+) Allie, the protagonist - Allie is really independent, strong, and judgmental. Rather self righteous in her judgments -- she's such a scavenger that anyone who doesn't do his fair share doesn't merit her respect and yet at the same time, she's protective of the people who are weaker than her. In a way, she reminds me of Rose from Vampire Academy--only in that they're both very brazen and braze. Sometimes Allie was a bit hard to relate to -- she's so bold and courageous in the face of danger and self-righteous that it could be off-putting at time. But I'll always root for a kick-ass female protagonist, even if I can't quite sympathize with her. Plus, I liked Allie's character development--the way she learned others when she became a vampire though she hadn't really trusted people when she was a human.
2. (+) World-building - Fantastic world-building. There might not be much new or original material in what Kagawa writes about vampires, but the vampire cities, how they're organized, the Rabids, the Red Lung virus, Eden, the biblical references--I loved everything about the world. I actually loved that she made vampires cruel again. I loved the combination of such harsh dystopian/post-apocalyptic themes and paranormal romance--in a way, it made the story feel timeless. Like it didn't matter how far into the future you read the story, it would always be about a group of wanderers (with biblical allusions), a girl fighting to stay true to her perception of herself (despite the demon within), a boy who has faith in everyone, including the girl, and will rise to be a leader (much like the girl).
3. (+) The Romance - Slow-building and hot. Zeke doesn't lose sight of who he is when he finds out about Allie. I loved that. I love that it wasn't a perfect romance. That both of them had their faults and they like each other for who they are, that they work for their relationship.
4. (+) Character Cast - Even if they have short life spans (some of them), all the characters were fantastic, some more well-developed than others but likable nonetheless. One negative was the obligatory character who hates the protagonist. On one level, I can understand why you need that character, but at the same time, I really wish that she wasn't there. I think there's much more of an emotional impact if it's someone who likes the protagonist who also suspects her/him.
5. (+) Struggle to Stay Human - This does what Twilight failed to do for Edward. Maybe it was that you're not in Edward's head, and so you don't get that experience, but that's not the case here. Allie's struggle to keep hold of who she is and "what kind of monster she wanted to be" enraptured me and kept me reading until the end.
6. (+) Plot Twists - As in the Iron Fey novels, there were a lot of twists I didn't see coming about the characters, their pasts, and where the story was headed.
7. (+) Grim Mood - Don't read this book if you're looking for a happy time... There is a lot of death, and I'm glad Julie Kagawa doesn't shy away from that. The grim mood fits with the story she's telling, though honestly sometimes I wish the book was a bit less dark.
8. (+) Writing - Pretty easy to read, though Caitlin of The Cait Files, in her reviews of The Iron Fey, mentioned how often Puck smirked and I've got to say, I did notice that this time around too. That was one reaction that was again overdone.
9. (--) Pacing - Really slow! Like that's one of the only negatives--that yes, there were plot twists, but it takes the story a while to get started. Even Allie's transformation into a vampire takes over 70 pages I think... and the grim mood probably exacerbated this effect.
10. (+) The Cover - I really like the grunge feel of it and the way it conveyed character and mood.
Kickass heroine, bleak & easy to imagine world, sweet love interest, unforgettable characters: Julie Kagawa has done it again! She mastered fairies, and now she's done a fantastic job with vampires. More, please!