Monday, September 29, 2014

Series Review: Blood of Eden by Julie Kagawa (The Immortal Rules, The Eternity Cure, The Forever Song)

By: Julie Kagawa
Genre: Sci-Fi/Dystopian
First Published: April 24th 2012
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
POV: First Person

Description:
To survive in a ruined world, she must embrace the darkness…
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.
Enter Julie Kagawa's dark and twisted world as an unforgettable journey begins
Main Character: Allison "Allie" Sekemoto - Allie is a great diverse MC. She grew up in the Fringe (human slums in the big vampire cities). She witnessed her mother die because of the vampires' cruelty and she hates them, this gives her a lot of conflicting emotions when she becomes one. She has to constantly fight the blood-thirsty demon inside of herself and she believes that she is just a monster and can never be anything more.

Love Connection: Ezekial "Zeke" Crosse - One of the nomadic humans Allie comes across on the road. He has a quiet strength that draws people to him, he is also kind and believes in people. He is a great foil to Allie's cynical harsh personality.

Allies and Enemies: Jebediah "Jeb" Crosse - is the leader of the nomadic humans. He wants to bring them to Eden (a safe haven for humans, free of vampires). He is also Zeke's adopted father, used to be a pastor, and leads with a strict, iron hand. 

Caleb - Allie gains many of the humans' trust when she finds a lost Caleb. This also makes Caleb grow attached to her. Since he is so young she worries that she might feed off of him, but he proves to be a resilient little boy.

Ruth - one of the human nomads Allie encounters. She takes an instant disliking to Allie. This might be because Ruth probably has a crush on Zeke or because Ruth's little brother, Caleb, always wants to hang out with Allie.

Jackal - The Raider Kind of Old Chicago. He has his minions kidnap the humans and Allie must fight him to get them back. He's a good example of the type of "monster" that Allie is afraid she'll turn into.

Setting: Futuristic post-apocolyptic waste-land (So...not a place you'd want to vacation) > New Covington > Wasteland > Old Chicago

Quote:
“You are a monster.” Kanin’s deep voice droned in my head again, as I forced myself to move, to walk away. “You will always be a monster, there is no turning back from it. But what type of monster you become is entirely up to you.” 
Review: This book is a vampire book, but I will argue that it is not a "typical" vampire book. It combines a dystopian future with paranormal romance and adds a little bit of diversity to boot. So it takes a lot of the best of what we love about YA and combines them all in a yummy book.

It provides a few new interpretations of what a vampire is and how they survive. It gives them power, but not too much power. There is the Red Lung that makes it almost impossible for them to create new vampires (I really liked that detail). And even though humans are subjugated to living as second-class citizens, there are still some who refuse and live how they choose, and have hope. I think that's the biggest theme of this book, having hope.

I liked the love story too, I like when the boy is sweet and has faith in the MC so she realizes she's a good person (that's why I loved Peeta/Katniss). Zeke is that person, he has a strength too though. Everyone in the small band of humans looks at him as a kind of unspoken leader (second in command after his father). And he doesn't disappoint them. He's just a deep-down good person, and he makes Allie believe that there is still goodness out there. (also he's hot).



By: Julie Kagawa
Genre: Sci-Fi/Dystopian
First Published: April 30th 2013 
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
POV: First Person
Rating: 3 out of 5


Description:
In Allison Sekemoto's world, there is one rule left: Blood calls to blood 
She has done the unthinkable: died so that she might continue to live. Cast out of Eden and separated from the boy she dared to love, Allie will follow the call of blood to save her creator, Kanin, from the psychotic vampire Sarren. But when the trail leads to Allie's birthplace in New Covington, what Allie finds there will change the world forever—and possibly end human and vampire existence. 
There's a new plague on the rise, a strain of the Red Lung virus that wiped out most of humanity generations ago—and this strain is deadly to humans and vampires alike. The only hope for a cure lies in the secrets Kanin carries, if Allie can get to him in time. 
Allison thought that immortality was forever. But now, with eternity itself hanging in the balance, the lines between human and monster will blur even further, and Allie must face another choice she could never have imagined having to make.
Main Character: Allison "Allie" Sekemoto

Love Connection: Ezekial "Zeke" Cross

Allies and Enemies: Jackal - The Raider King of Old Chicago shows up again. He is no longer the Raider King and he is no longer purely evil. (I love these kinds of characters).

Sarren - The new big baddie. He is an insane vampire who has kidnapped Kanin, Allie's sire. He has a link to the original Red Lung outbreak.

Stick - He was Allie's human friend when she was a human living in the Fringe. He has become a servant of the vampires in New Covington. Allie's connections to him make her unwilling to give up on Stick as a person (even though I always saw him as a very sleazy character).

Setting: Futuristic post-apocolyptic waste-land > New Covington


Quote:

“I don’t believe in fate … but… I do believe everything happens for a reason. That there is some plan, some meaning to this darkness we live in … Maybe I’m wrong, but it’s gotten me this far. It’s the reason I fight, the reason I can keep going, despite everything. And it…it led me to you.” 

Review: This book is a middle book and it reads that way (I don't think that's a bad thing though, I love middle books/movies of trilogies). Allison thinks she has left behind the people she's grown to love in book 1, and she is following her sense of duty towards her sire. So at least she's stopped thinking she's a monster. This book sets up a bigger threat to humanity, vampires, and the world. So it makes the stakes bigger and badder (just like a middle book should do).

By: Julie Kagawa
Genre: Sci-Fi/Dystopian
First Published: April 15th 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
POV: First Person
Kat's Rating: 3 out of 5


Description:
Vengeance will be hers.
Allison Sekemoto once struggled with the question: human or monster? With the death of her love, Zeke, she has her answer.
Monster.
Allie will embrace her cold vampire side to hunt down and end Sarren, the psychopathic vampire who murdered Zeke. But the trail is bloody and long, and Sarren has left many surprises for Allie and her companions - her creator Kanin, and her blood brother, Jackal. The trail is leading straight to the one place they must protect at any cost - the last vampire-free zone on Earth, Eden. And Sarren has one final, brutal shock in store for Allie.
In a ruined world where no life is sacred and former allies can turn on you in one heartbeat, Allie will face her darkest days. And if she succeeds, her triumph will be short-lived in the face of surviving forever alone.
THE FINAL HUNT IS ON
Main Character: Allison "Allie" Sekemoto

Love Connection: Ezekial "Zeke" Cross

Allies and Enemies:  Jackal - He is one of my favorite characters because he's so snarky and almost refuses to be a good person, however, he still helps Allie so there must be something redeeming in him (other than his hilarious sense of humor).

Kanin - Allie's sire, he is a master vampire so he is very wise and strong. He gives a lot of sage advice to Allie and he is the defacto leader of the small band of vampires who are trying to save the world.

Sarren - Oh man this vampire is insane. He's pretty much trying to kill everyone in the world because he thinks the world needs a reboot. Yea...so that happens...

Setting: Futuristic post-apocolyptic waste-land > Old Chicago > Eden


Quote:

“I am proud of you, Allison Sekemoto,” he whispered as he drew back. “Whatever you decide, whatever path you choose to take, I hope that you will remain the same girl I met that night in the rain. The one decision for which I have no regrets.”

Review: I waited a while between reading the second book and this final book, so I have to admit I forgot a few world details in between. For a third book it did seem to move a little slowly. And while I liked that there were big stakes, I suppose I couldn't really feel the tension because the characters were mostly just walking across a dead, abandoned wasteland for like 70% of the book. We did get to finally see Eden, so that was cool. And we got to see some of the old human characters from other books.


Series Rating: 3.5 out of 5


This series combined dystopian and paranormal romance well. So, I was very entertained (and this is probably why it got optioned to be a film). I like that Allie is not a completely good or completely bad character (in a way she reminds me a little bit of Katniss because she's so harsh that she's almost unlikeable, but something in her always brings her back from the brink).
I think the series wound down a little bit by the end, and I was hoping for some high-action, kick-butt plot twists that I didn't really get. But regardless, it gave some great romantic scenes and I do love that in my YA. And even though I kind of predicted the ending, it didn't ruin the books for me. (Also, this could just be because I spend too much time dissecting convoluted sci-fi and fantasy stories).

Recommendations: The Iron King by Julie Kagawa, Defiance by C.J. Redwine

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