The Immortal Rules (Review)

Title: The Immortal Rules

Author: Julie Kagawa

Publication Year: 2012

Pages: 464

Genre: Fiction, Young Adult, Fantasy

Source: E-book version borrowed from the public library

From the cover:

Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a walled-in 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 dies and becomes one of the monsters.

Forced to flee her city, Allie must pass for human as she joins a ragged group of pilgrims seeking a legend — a place that might have a cure for the disease that killed off most of civilization and created the rabids, the bloodthirsty creatures who threaten human and vampire alike. And soon Allie will have to decide what – and who – is worth dying for…again.

(This is the first book in the Blood of Eden series.)

After reading Kagawa’s Iron Fey series, I wanted to read other books she had written. I waited quite a while in the library holds list for this one, and then devoured the book within a day or so.

The Immortal Rules is not the usual kind of vampire book. First of all, Allison – the narrator – doesn’t start out as a vampire, and actually rather hates them. She becomes a vampire, but is filled with self-loathing for much of the first half of the book. There isn’t the romanticism towards vampires in this book that there is in so many other series. They’re not seen as something to aspire to, or something seductive. They’re just plain old scary.

There’s also the element of the rabids – a mix of zombies and vampires, created decades earlier while trying to find a cure for the Red Lung virus that wiped out so much of the human population. And that right there is how this book ends up being a dystopian vampire series. Seriously. Two of my favourite things wrapped up into one.

I loved the world-building that Kagawa has done in preparation for this series. There’s so much there, it’s not just a superficial story like so many other YA books. It’s meaty and intriguing and thoughtful. Plus, the other characters – particularly Kanin and Zeke – are nuanced and realistic, with their own secrets that they’re trying to hide.

There’s just so much going on in The Immortal Rules that it’s impossible for me to say more without giving plot details away. Go ahead and pick up a copy for yourself and you’ll see what I mean.

Rating:

The Ruby Circle (Review)

Title: The Ruby Circle

Author: Richelle Mead

Publication Year: 2015

Pages: 368

Genre: Fiction, Young Adult, Fantasy

Source: Read entirely at Amy‘s house

From the cover:

After their secret romance is exposed, Sydney and Adrian find themselves facing the wrath of both the Alchemists and the Moroi in this electrifying conclusion to Richelle Mead’s New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series. When the life of someone they both love is put on the line, Sydney risks everything to hunt down a deadly former nemesis.Meanwhile, Adrian becomes enmeshed in a puzzle that could hold the key to a shocking secret about spirit magic, a secret that could shake the entire Moroi world.

(This is the sixth and final book in the Bloodlines series, after Bloodlines, The Golden LilyThe Indigo SpellThe Fiery Heart, and Silver Shadows.)

I was really looking forward to reading this book and seeing how everything worked out in the end, but at the same time, I didn’t want it to end. Pretty much the way I felt at the end of the original Vampire Academy series as well. But I’m still holding out hope that perhaps there will be more stories in the future.

In the meantime, I settled down one afternoon at Amy’s place to read her new copy of The Ruby Circle. It did answer pretty much all the burning questions I had about how things were going to sort themselves out, but it also just … felt like a tying-things-up book. It was very obvious right from the beginning that really it was going to be a series of loose ends being sorted out, with a character being brought back from a few books ago as a sort of surprise (?!?), but otherwise nothing really all that unpredictable. I was kind of disappointed, though not so much that I think it was a bad book. I just didn’t love it as much as I wanted to.

If you’ve read the rest of the series, definitely read this one to finish it off. But don’t be expecting anything as spectacular as in some of the earlier books. It’s just not there.

Rating:

Sunday Salon: Armchair Audies, 2015 Edition

sundaysalon

armchairaudiesThis will be my third year participating in the Armchair Audies. In 2012, I read and predicted the HumorNarration by the Author/Authors, and Audiobook of the Year categories. In 2013, I read and predicted the Non-Fiction and Short Stories/Collections categories. Last year, I kinda dropped the ball and still haven’t gotten around to reading most of the books I was supposed to. But I’m trying to get back in on things!

But first, what’s the Armchair Audies all about? I loved Overreader‘s description so much that I’m mostly stealing it. Here ya go:

It’s Armchair Audies time! What’s that? Never heard of them? Well, they’re new. The Audies are annual “awards recognizing distinction in audiobooks and spoken word entertainment” and are awarded in June. [Over a hundred audiobooks are nominated in more than twenty different categories.] Rather more than even an audiobook maniac like myself can handle, so to get a handle on them all, blogger Literate Housewife spearheaded the Armchair Audies. Interested bloggers will listen to everything from one (or more) categories and give their opinions.

This year, I’ve decided to read in the Short Stories/Collections category, along with a few other random books that piqued my fancy. We’ll see in a few weeks what the nominations for Audiobook of the Year are. Until then, here are the books that I’ll be tackling in the category I’ve already chosen:

Short Stories/Collections

  • The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher: Stories by Hilary Mantel (read by Jane Carr)
  • Dangerous Women edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois (read by Scott Brick, Jonathan Frakes, Janis Ian, Stana Katic, Lee Meriwether, Emily Rankin, Harriet Walter, and Jake Weber)
  • FaceOff edited by David Baldacci (read by Dylan Baker, Jeremy Bobb, Dennis Boutsikaris, Daniel Gerroll, January LaVoy, and David Baldacci)
  • Heroes, Gods and Monsters of the Greek Myths by Bernard Evslin (read by Todd Haberkorn)
  • The Legend of Drizzt: The Collected Stories by R. A. Salvatore (read by Felicia Day, Dan Harmon, Greg Grunberg, Tom Felton, Danny Pudi, Sean Astin, Melissa Rauch, Ice-T, Wil Wheaton, Al Yankovic, Michael Chiklis, and David Duchovny)
  • The Wily O’Reilly: Irish Country Stories by Patrick Taylor (read by John Keating)

Classic

  • Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote (read by Michael C. Hall)

Non-Fiction

  • Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande (read by Robert Petkoff)

Autiobiography/Memoir and Narration by Author

  • Not My Father’s Son: A Memoir by Alan Cumming (read by Alan Cumming)

A Caress of Twilight (Review)

Title: A Caress of Twilight

Author: Laurell K. Hamilton

Publication Year: 2002

Pages: 368

Genre: Fiction, Fantasy

Source: E-book version borrowed from the public library

From the cover:

After eluding relentless assassination attempts by Prince Cel, her cousin and rival for the Faerie crown, Meredith Gentry, Los Angeles private eye, has a whole new set of problems. To become queen, she must bear a child before Cel can father one of his own. But havoc lies on the horizon: people are dying in mysterious, frightening ways, and suddenly the very existence of the place known as Faerie is at grave risk. So now, while she enjoys the greatest pleasures of her life attempting to conceive a baby with the warriors of her royal guard, she must fend off an ancient evil that could destroy the very fabric of reality. And that’s just her day job. . . .

(This is the second book in the Merry Gentry series, after A Kiss of Shadows.)

One thing that’s done really well in this book is the character development. We really get to know Meredith and her guards/lovers a lot better, particularly Rhys, Frost, and Doyle. I felt like it was getting into more of the meat of the story, rather than the last book that needed to include a lot more world-building.

Having said that, I feel like the “ancient evil” storyline wasn’t fleshed out very well. It kind of came up a bit late in the book, and then it was mostly ignored until the end. And even then, it just seemed like it was over a bit too quickly and easily. Most of the book dealt, instead, with faerie court intrigue and Meredith’s romances, which were interesting, but could have been interesting and interwoven with more details about the other subplot.

Overall, though, A Caress of Twilight was another good book in the series, and I’m really starting to get into the characters. If you liked the first book, you’ll definitely like this one as well.

Rating:

A Kiss of Shadows (Review)

Title: A Kiss of Shadows

Author: Laurell K. Hamilton

Publication Year: 2000

Pages: 480

Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Erotica

Source: E-book version borrowed from the public library

From the cover:

Merry Gentry, princess of the high court of Faerie, is posing as a human in Los Angeles, working as a private investigator specializing in supernatural crime. But now the queen’s assassin has been dispatched to fetch her — whether she likes it or not. Suddenly Merry finds herself a pawn in her dreaded aunt’s plans. The job that awaits her: enjoy the constant company of the most beautiful immortal men in the world. The reward: the crown — and the opportunity to continue to live. The penalty for failure: death.

(This is the first book in the Merry Gentry series.)

I decided to read this series after going through all of the books in Hamilton’s Anita Blake series. I knew going into the series that this one would have more sex in it than the early Anita Blake books, and I’m going to reiterate that to anyone who reads this. This isn’t the series for you if you don’t like reading erotica Seriously.

A Kiss of Shadows lays out the premise for the rest of the series, and introduces the major characters. Some of them I like, some of them not so much, but I liked the world-building and the way that Hamilton incorporated the fey into the modern world. I also liked that the main focus of the series – at least in this book – is the Unseelie court, the dark fey, and that she doesn’t shy away from their more … violent … nature. Some of the scenes in the book are not for the faint of heart.

I’m looking forward to continuing to read the series after this one. It’s a good setup book: not too much downtime, lots of action and intrigue. Definitely worth a try.

Rating:

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