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 ofthem—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 was the first vampire book that I’ve read since New Moon, and I was a little leery of diving into this one because of my feelings for that series. Luckily there are NO similarities between the aforementioned vampire series and The Immortal Rules, for which I am eternally grateful.
“In this world, you are either strong, or you were dead.” (10%)
I really and truly enjoyed Allison. I liked her struggles to survive, and her inner strength, and her stubbornness and unwillingness to give up. Even when she becomes a vampire, she decides early on that she will be a different sort of “monster” and not hunt humans for sport; she is determined to hold on to what’s left of her soul and her humanity. She is a wonderfully strong heroine, and I loved that the author wasn’t afraid to show her faults; they made her a more real character, and someone that I was really rooting for the entire time. I really appreciated that we got to see Allison’s struggles with her vampirism; this is so often overlooked or glossed over in vampire books nowadays that it was just nice to get a bit of realism (or, at least, as much realism as you can get when dealing with fantastical characters).
As for the love story, I was a bit torn. Zeke is a very determined character, who will stop at nothing to get those he loves to safety, but he’s sort of an anomaly because he has such faith that things will work out. In a world like the one they’re living in, I can’t imagine that having such faith is a very easy thing. You also have the whole “human and vampire in love with each other” trope, but it was handled in a very interesting way here. Allison really struggles around Zeke; her Vampire nature can’t help but view him as prey, but she cares so much about him that she doesn’t allow herself to give in to her desires. I can’t help but wonder what’s going to come of their love affair, because it seems so impossible; Allison is immortal, Zeke is not, and I can’t see Allison ever doing anything to bridge that difference. They just honestly belong in two separate worlds, and it will be interesting to see what happens.
I also want to take a second to bring up Kanin, Allison’s sire and Vampire mentor. I think he was my favorite character in the book (aside from the MC). He was such a contradiction, warning Allison that she was a monster and never to forget that, but then having his own motivations and desire to make things right. I know we got a bit of his back story in this installment, but I really hope we get to learn more about him (for instance, how old he really is to know so much of the world “before”). I just really hope we haven’t seen the last of him; that would be really disappointing.
This isn’t just a vampire novel, though; it’s also a dystopia, which I tend to have a lot of trouble with simply because of the overwhelming depression that’s prevalent in many of these post-apocalyptic stories. And while that’s certainly there – a disease known as Red Lung has decimated humanity, creating horrifying creatures called Rabids, which are a cross between vampires and zombies and are truly quite terrifying – I think the fantasy element helped me get through this more easily than some other dystopian titles I’ve read. The overwhelming arch of this story is the search for a cure, some way to rid the world of the Rabids and overthrow the Vampire rulers who control everything from food to who gets to live where. There’s a lot going on in this book, and I am definitely looking forward to how everything is going to come together in the following installments.
“We must protect our knowledge and pass it on whenever we can. If we are ever to become a society again, we must teach others how to remain human.” (9%)
“Because within the pages of every book, there was information of another world — a world before this one, where humans didn’t live in fear … A world where we were free.” (2%)
“I wanted them to learn, to better themselves, because that was just one more thing the vampires had taken from us.” (2%)
Also? I loved the little shout-out to The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. <3
All in all this was a really solid first book in a new series. I am definitely looking forward to seeing what Allison does next, and where her journey takes her. If you’re looking for a new twist to the vampire genre, definitely check this one out.
An e-galley was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.