Literature: The Immortal Rules
"Sometime in your life, Allison Sekemoto, you will kill a human being. It is not a question of if it will happen, but when."
The Immortal Rules is a Young Adult
book by Julie Kagawa
and the first in her Blood of Eden Series. Sixty years
into the future, a devastating plague has wiped out most of humanity, utterly gutting civilization as we know it. Those descended from the survivors live in cities controlled by vampires and are used as "Blood Cattle", their blood donated every so often the the rulers of these cities. Pets—human servants of the vampires—live a pampered life within the inner circle of their vampiric masters while most ordinary citizens scrape by with barely enough to survive. This however is far preferable to life outside the city walls in the ruins of the old world, populated by the vicious rabids
. There are also Unregistereds, those who, in defiance of the vampire government, do not submit to their bloodletting and exist as outcasts on the fringes of the meager society, and their very existence is an automatic death sentence if captured.
Allison Sekemoto is one such person, living on the streets of the vampire city of New Covington since the death of her mother. Scrounging for a living with her friends, and hating the vampire-run government that is responsible for her mother's death, Allison is changed into the very thing she despises by the vampire Kanin after a near-fatal accident
. Now a vampire and on the run, she must survive in the world outside of the city she has known all her life, while wrestling with the monstrous urges
that come with her new condition.
The Blood of Eden series has three books:
- The Immortal Rules (2012)
- The Eternity Cure (2013)
- The Forever Song (2014)
The Immortal Rules contains examples of:
- Abandoned Hospital: Kanin takes Allison there after Turning her and it is there that he teaches her how to survive as a vampire. It is also the place where the experiments to find a cure for the Red Lung Disease were performed, which further screwed mankind.
- Absurdly Sharp Blade: Allison's katana is either this or her vampiric speed and strength are sufficient to overcome the natural dulling that would be caused by such hard use (beheading zombified wild boars, disassembling entire mobs of Rabids)... especially given that this is a museum piece that had been sitting in a basement for decades.
- While it is at least possible that the sword was in the museum as a masterwork example of the swordmaker's art, even the most magnificent (non-magical) blade needs occasional tending and sharpening, and the most Allison is ever shown to do is wipe off the blood before sheathing it.
- Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Played with. The tunnels beneath New Covington can be traveled with ease by those who know what they are doing, but they are low-ceiling and Mole Men—those that live constantly within the tunnels—are described as being permenently hunchbacked from continuous bad posture.
- Abusive Surrogate Father: Jebediah is this to his adopted son Zeke, constantly putting the boy down and refusing to be anything other than cold and heartless, to the point of whipping him with an old car antenna as punishment for fighting.
- Abusive Precursors: Jebediah Crosse beleives this of the people that existed before the plague that wiped out most of mankind, going as far as to openly state that God has abandoned the world and left humans to exist in a living hell due to being disgusted with their wickedness.
- After the End: Mankind is mostly gone, wild animals roam through the decaying ruins of what was once a thriving civilization and those few humans who do not live within the "safety'' of vampire cities are hunted relentlessly by the rapids that stalk the outside world.
- Alone with the Psycho: Allison while being hunted through the hospital by the clearly unhinged vampire Sarren. Recently it appears that Kanin is in a similar situation, with the same madman.
- Always a Bigger Fish: Allison's first victims are the members of a street gang who are very much enjoying brutally beating a defenseless man. When Allison appears, they assume, incorrectly, that she will be just as helpless.
- Carried through in the other direction as well, since even as a powerful supernatural predator, newborn Vampire Allison is far weaker and less skilled in combat than most of the other Vampires she meets.
- Asshole Victim: After trying and failing to exist on animal blood, Allison decides to subsist on these, as she feels less guilty for feeding on people who harm others. This doesn't mean that she isn't forced to take an innocent life, however.
- Bad Ass: Kanin, Jebediah, Zeke, Darren, and Allison herself is this by the end of the book.
- Bad Ass Normal: Zeke, full stop. He manages to hold his own against the bandits sent by Jackal, helps take down an infected boar without being bitten, and at the climax of the book holds out against a veritable army of rabids by himself while Allison cuts a path for the rest of the group to get to Eden's checkpoint.
- Big Bad: Jackal serves this role during the course of the book; his plans are the main obstacle to the group's goal of surviving to find the city of Eden and survive. Considering that he survived Jebidiah's Heroic Sacrifice and is now extremely pissed at loosing the key to his plans, he might be a major factor in the next book.
- Sarren serves as this for the series as a whole.
- Bittersweet Ending: Jackal is temporarily defeated, his gang has been scattered or killed, and the survivors have managed to find the city of Eden...but Allison, being a vampire is not allowed to enter, for obvious reasons which she accepts without making a scene as she wants Zeke and the others to have their happy ending, and she has to rescue Kanin.
- Blank White Eyes: The rabids, as well as anything infected by them possess these. It isn't specified as to whether or not this actually affects their sight, though they are extremely good at finding their prey due to their heightened senses.
- Boy Meets Ghoul: Allison and Zeke's relationship, though he didn't know she was a vampire for most of the book, and doesn't take it very well when she is finally revealed. He gets over it though, and by the end seems to have moved on to something like acceptance.
- Being Tortured Makes You Evil: This seems to be Sarren's Freudian Excuse for why he wants Kanin and any other vampire Kanin has made dead. Though how much of a stable and well-adjusted vampire he was before suffering cruel and unusual experiments in hopes that vampire blood held the key to saving the human race, is up for debate.
- Church Militant: Jebediah, the shotgun-wielding former preacher who leads the group looking for the legendary city of Eden is this. Played with however, in that he believes that God has abandoned mankind to its demise. Despite this, he seems deeply religious and condemns vampires and rabids as unholy demons to be killed on sight. His adopted son Zeke qualifies for this, though without as much fervor or at least until he meets Allison and she changes his mind.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: Sarren threatens Allison with this, hinting very strongly that he killed another vampire that his archenemy Kanin turned, by skinning him or her alive. More recently he seems to be doing this to Kanin, breaking his arms before tying them above his head, starving him of blood, and running him through with a red hot poker.
- Sarren is a master of this trope, to the extent that it is essentially impossible to hide any kind of information from him (just ask Zeke)
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Jackal vs Allison, due to the fact that he is a far older and more experianced vampire. Within moments of their clash, he already has her on the verge of being killed again, and it is only the timely intervention of Jebediah that saves her life and allows her to escape.
- Combat Pragmatist: Most of the characters, but Zeke most of all. After he discovers that Allison is a vampire he aims a gun at her, to which she responds that shooting her in the heart won't be enough to kill her. He simply deadpans that it will slow her down enough for him to remove her head with the machete he has on him.
- Crapsack World: Humanity is seemingly on its last legs, the only safe place to live is in dystopian vampire cities where humans are required to give several pints of blood in exchange for living within the walls. And even this isn't "safe", as everyone knows to be in by dark, because the vampires have a habit of kidnapping humans into their sanctum for food, entertainment, or strongly implied rape. Outside the walls is even worse; murderous bandit clans and wild animals will pick off anyone who doesn't get eaten by the murderous rabids.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Anyone killed by the rabids would be better off committing suicide first, and not merely because of the infection they spread. During the attack that killed Allison's gang and resulted in her undeath, she watches from the other side of a fence as a boy she has a slight crush on is literally shredded by the teeth and claws of a horde of the monsters. All while helpless to get to him before he dies.
- Sarren dishes this out left and right. While Zeke is apparently killed in a single blow, the torture immediately preceding his death puts it in this category. He also does this to dozens of people with the misfortune to cross his path, especially those he uses for the truck surprise he left for a Turned Zeke.
- Cynicism Catalyst: Allison's mother was so sick that she could not submit to the 'bloodletting', so the human servants of the vampires dragged the already clearly ailing woman out of her house and forcibly took the blood from her, which resulted in her death and the loss of the only parent she had ever known. This is what inspired Allison's (rightful) hatred of the vampires.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Played around with in terms of Allison; while her past in New Convington—which ended with her becoming one of the feared and despised undead—is truly awful, she pretends to be traumatized by her life there so that she will not be asked any questions for fear of saying anything that will draw suspicion towards herself. Zeke along with all the members of Jebediah's group are a much more clear cut example, having left their town after it was destroyed by a pack of rabids, and then suffering a rabid raid against them which wiped out most of the members some time before Allison encountered them.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Allison herself. Being a homeless teenager on the streets of a vampire-controlled city made her cold and pretty much self-serving, though she did care deeply about the few friends she had. Becoming a vampire increased this, though she slowly began to find her way into caring for others with the arrival of Zeke and Jebediah's group, to the point that she took on an entire city full of bandits to save them.
- Disney Villain Death: Jebediah tackles Jackal from behind, knocking him through the windows so that he falls from the top floor of the skyscraper that serves as his lair, causing both of them to fall to their apparent deaths. Unfortunately Jackal seems to have survived this and is more than a little mad...
- Evil Counterpart: Jackal to Allison, as he was changed into a vampire because the only other option was death of exposure and crippling wounds. They even have the same creator, Kanin, who apparently promised not to make any new vampires afterwards.
- Fantastic Racism: Vampires are feared and despised, called out as soulless demons that are without mercy or conscience and are sent from Hell to torment humanity in God's absence, according to Jebediah. While the latter part of this philosophy isn't spoken of within vampire cities, the part about them being soulless demons is, and thus vampires are greatly feared.
- Oddly enough, some of it is implied to be true, as Kanin—-himself an experianced vampire—outright says to Allison that their kind are demonic and exist without souls, implying that some sort of other entity has replaced their life-force and animates them, amplifying cruel or otherwise unpleasant human traits and certainly driving them to seek blood.
- Fantasy Kitchen Sink: Already we have been introduced to vampires as well as zombies, and though other monsters have not yet made an appearence, Kanin implies that there are many other supernatural beings that exist within the world, choosing to stay out of the spectrum of human attention.
- Fully-Embraced Fiend: Jackal is a more typical example of this, having cast aside his humanity long ago and fully immersed himself in the cruelty and monstrous acts that vampires are stereotypically known for. Kanin is a slightly stranger example; he clearly has few problems with being a vampire and is even more vocal than Jackal about Allison's penchant for "clinging to her humanity". However he does not kill his prey, he stops Allison from ending the life of her first victim, and he leaves gifts for the poor that he feeds on to make up for the harm that he causes with his depredations. In light of that, it seems that he is perfectly at ease with being a vampire and feeding on humans, but also possesses his own code of morality.
- Hell Is That Noise: The rabids are known for letting out horrible screeches when attacking, or just generally calling out to one another. It is just one of many things that makes them walking Night Mare Fuel
- Horror Hunger: The urge for blood is this for Allison; she even names her desire for blood The Hunger and treats it as though it were a seperate, though not quite sentient entity from her. Whether this is true for all vampires, or just a way she has of distancing herself from what she has become is currently unknown, though the former is heavily implied as the two other vampires we get to know do not refer to it as such.
- I Am a Monster: Allison struggles with this, first theoretically after her transformation, more concretely after her only surviving friend screams and runs away from her in fear after she reveals that she is a vampire, and finally after killing two men in a frenzy of starvation, she becomes so depressed that she contemplates just sitting there and not bothering to find shelter before dawn.
- Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Sixty-plus years after the fall of civilization there is still plenty of ammunition for guns... and nearly every shot fired fails to hit anything. Understandable when the mooks are firing at Allie, a vampire with superspeed, but puzzling when (for example) someone fires at the center of their hostage's back, at point-blank range, twice... and only manages to hit him in the leg.
- Our Vampires Are 'Slightly' Different: They have no heartbeat or need to breathe and do not become tired no matter how hard they exert themselves. They possess the typical Vampire Super Speed, Super Strength, and heightened senses. Sunlight causes them to burst into flames, though indirect contact such as through the cloth walls of a tent is not fatal (Vamps trapped in the open at sunrise are able to quickly burrow into the soil and wait out the day). They cannot digest anything but blood—Normal food and drink may be ingested, but it will quickly come back up. Animal blood, though tasty, does nothing to satiate their hunger, making attempts at animal-only diets useless. If they are deprived of sustenance for too long, they go into a crazed frenzy which in some cases can be permanent. So far? Pretty standard vampire lore. The 'different' part is that in this version, staking or destroying the heart, while painful and debilitating, is not sufficient to kill (Kanin takes several bullets to the chest and is left shaken, but still standing). Wooden stake are dangerous, though not fatal, as being stabbed through the heart with one causes the vampire to fall into a stasis-like hibernation that can last for decades. Ending a vampire permanently requires burning, sun exposure, or beheading.
- Our Zombies Are Different: They're called rabids, and they are just as damaged by sunlight as vampires, possess no intellect at all except for vicious preadtory instincts and let out hideous inhuman screeches when attacking. They are emaciated and pale white with mouths full of razor sharp teeth that spread the infection by bite. Unlike the typical zombies, they are anything but slow, possessing superhuman speed and strength, at one point they are described as being able to rip through solid steel in order to get at their prey. The rabids also qualify for the above trope, as the original rabids are revealed to have been vampires that were experimented on by humans in an attempt to halt the spread of the plague and find a cure.
- Supernatural Elite: The vampires have a system of ranks, with each city beneath their control having a "Prince" (the title oddly bestowed regardless of gender). The prince then has vampires who serve as his or her enforcers and who have been sired by the ruler himself/herself. Beyond that are "mongrels" who are wandering vampires that enter into a city's service for its easy blood supply and are used for the most menial tasks barely above human servants. one of Jackal's goals seems to be a desire to either topple or rise above this system by creating his own army of vampires out of the men and women of his raider gang, who would then by loyal only to him.
- The Undead
- Visionary Villain: Jackal.
- We Can Rule Together: Jackal offers Allison a chance to be "The Queen to his King", ruling alongside him in the new world he has planned once he has used Jebediah's knowledge to cure the Rabid virus. The trope is played with however because he directly states that the only reason he hasn't simply killed her is because she is his "sister", both of them having been turned by Kanin.
- Zombie Apocalypse: The Red Lung Virus which was already wiping out most of humanity basically turned into this when Kanin had the bright idea that experimenting on vampires, namely by injecting them with the virus along with a myriad of other undoubtedly unethical experiments. The result was the creation of the rabids.