Book Reviews, Books, Reviews

The Blood of Eden series by Julie Kagawa is excellent vampire YA with urban fantasy & dystopian twists

Reviewing a series is not always easy. It’s hard to give opinions on all the books without giving too much away, for those who haven’t read the series. But I’m going to give it my best, because Julie Kagawa’s Blood of Eden is one of the best series I’ve read in a really long time, and I want to spread the word about the awesomeness.

I had never read any of Julie’s works before, even though I have her Fey books on my shelves (too many books, not enough time). But this series sounded interesting to me, and I thought I could at least give the first 100 pages of book one a chance. Nights of falling asleep with the book on my chest because I couldn’t stop reading followed, it was so good. And so followed book two. I’m so excited Lytherus is featuring these books, because if you’re a YA urban fantasy lover, they are definitely worth a read. Here are my thoughts on the books, one at a time.

First up is book one, The Immortal Rules. Here’s the summary of the book from Amazon:

immortal rulesTo 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.

There are two things that really grabbed me about this story, and they are the things that should captivate any reader- an interesting world and characters I wanted to know more about. Immediately the world that Julie set up with vampire cities, terrible viruses, monster people, and Allison’s life in the midst of these things was really fun to read. I definitely felt some serious tension multiple times throughout this book, and she managed to write a world that felt fresh and new, and characters that, even in this unfamiliar landscape, still struggled with relatable emotions. Do we have the choice to change into vampires? Sadly, no. But Allie’s struggles with wanting to fit in and be human, and with her choice to turn, were still something familiar. The characters were great, diverse, and interesting, and I loved reading their story. Plus the unexpected romance developing between Allie and Zeke was a pleasure to read. I couldn’t put this book down and jumped immediately to book two.

BOOK TWO- DON’T READ IF YOU DON’T WANT ANY SPOILERS!

Book two, The Eternity Cure was as great as book one. The story continued smoothly. The stakes were higher, and the villain was something to be feared, for sure. Here’s the summary of book two:

51ZvKsoEUXLIn 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.

This is where I really fell in love with the secondary characters, especially Allie’s creator Kanin, and her blood brother Jackal. Their dynamics of stoic leader and sarcastic ass were a wonderful balance to Allie’s struggles and personality. I really think the story grew some depth in this book. The roots we were exposed to in book one grew deeper in this story, and the stakes were higher — and I felt them too. There was a whole new level of fear added for; her and her kind, and it definitely brought new, scary things to the table.  Plus, of course, the awesome love story between human Zeke and vamp Allie. It was really nicely done, and it made me happy to see how they progressed. And wow, the ending was a killer cliffhanger. We are left with knowledge that Allie doesn’t have, and I was dying to see how Julie was going to resolve these story lines in book three.

BOOK THREE- DON’T READ IF YOU DON’T WANT ANY SPOILERS!

I have a few mixed emotions about book three, The Forever Song. I liked it, and I’m glad I read it, but it didn’t surprise me as much as the other two books did. I’m happy the plot went the direction it did, but I saw it coming, which didn’t happen nearly as much in the first two books. But I was invested in these characters thanks two the first two books, and I was really happy to see how their story played out. Overall, I think it was an excellent end to the series.

Here’s the description of book three:

forever songVENGEANCE 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, triumph is short-lived in the face of surviving forever alone.

Like I said above, it was a great end to the series. The villain Sarren was a serious freak, and definitely written well. What he put the main characters through was definitely emotionally stressful. Though I saw some of it coming, mainly the whole plotline with Zeke, it was the direction I wanted the story to go, so I was happy to tag along for the journey. A lot of this book involved traveling, so there was time to get introspective with the characters. Allie’s and Zeke’s personal struggles were fantastically done, and I think we can all relate to the choices they made, in our own way. How do we want to be as people? How do we let the good in us win out over evil? And of course the ending was very satisfying. I don’t want to say too much and give anything away, but I’m really glad I read these books all the way to the end, and I’ll definitely be recommending this series to my YA-loving friends. Be sure to check it out if you haven’t yet!

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