Author: Julie Kagawa
Published: 24th April 2012
Source: Owned paperback
As far as vampire books go, this was one felt very original and as soon as I read the first few pages I felt like I was going on a whole new adventure. Perhaps it's the dystopian setting - Allie lives in the outskirts of a designated vampire city years after a plague wiped out civilisation as we know it now and created a certain type of vampire called a 'rabid' (think zombie vampire!). This definitely upped the creepy factor for me, as Allie was not only contending with vampires and rabids, but she also had to figure out life as an 'Unregistered', meaning she never knew where her next meal was coming from or if she would even survive the night.
One night, Allie gets caught by rabids who near enough kill her only to then be given a choice by a vampire on-looker - be put out of her misery and be killed, or carry on 'living' as a vampire. She's grown up her entire life detesting vampires and everything they have turned the world into, but I really like that she took the choice to carry on living and become one, even with her morals. From then on, we watch as Allie learns this new way of life and see her join a group living out in the wild. I found that the plot slowed down a bit for me during this middle section, however, I still really enjoyed what I was reading. It became more of a survival story at the point - scavenging for food, travelling and finding places to camp - but with a very 'The Walking Dead' feel to it due to the rabids roaming around.
Then came the fantastic ending and I was thrown back into a whirlwind of action, terror and secrets coming to light. You're left wanting the second book, but the cliffhanger isn't so horrible that it makes you want to tear your hair out!
Allie is one of my new favourite female characters - she was such a fighter and a survivor. She looked after herself, was kickass and sassy and struggled daily with her inner demons. I think I fell in love with her most when she was living as a vampire with the group of humans out in the wild - she wanted to keep her humanity and not turn into the vampires like she'd been surrounded by in the city, but her animal instincts for blood swayed her morals and dedication on a daily basis. She soon found out she couldn't survive on animal blood (like a lot of other fictional vampires) and then had the make the decision of who to feed off of - and then deal with the consequences of that. I found this fascinating and it added such a great twist onto vampire stories I've read before.
I also really liked all the characters of the group living in the wild - they all had flaws and ways of dealing with their situation that made each one feel very real to me. I don't want to go too much into them as I think it's best not knowing much about them before reading the book, but I loved that you never quite knew where you stood with them, or what they were really thinking.
I loved Julie Kagawa's writing - I've never read her Iron Fey series so I wasn't too sure what to expect, but I was totally captured by the way she weaved the story. Her descriptions were brilliant - she made building up the world in my head feel so seamless that I was never dragged out of the story because of something jarred, and the whole novel felt very atmospheric.
I also really liked how she could put me on the edge of my seat but then take me somewhere totally unexpected, or have a character react in a way that I just didn't see coming. Her writing is definitely what made this a 5 star book for me, and I'm so excited to jump into the second book and back into this world she has created.