This book left me with so many mixed feelings about every plot twist and character met throughout. I have never been so conflicted with liking and disliking the same character before. It was a refreshing and very frustrating experience. And Julie Kagawa? I have no words for her, except these: genius, brilliant, talented story teller, evil, creative, evil and a little evil, too.
Reading next might spoil some plot twists - be warned:
The end of The Immortal Rules left us with Allie, turned away from entering Eden with her group of human friends. Using her blood bond with her sire, Kanin, she starts tracking him, while being plagued with his condition and his thoughts he is trying to communicate to her, in her dreams. Allie arrives in Old D.C. (that had me a little amused and giggly) where she finds herself face to face with no other than her blood brother, Jackal. Only then, she realizes she has been tracking him all along, as his bond was stronger than Kanin's; probably due to Kanin's bad physical condition.
Against her better judgement, she agrees to join force with Jackal in tracking Kanin and finding Sarren. She still hasn't forgiven Jackal for killing Zeke's family and friends, but she needs all the help she can get, and Jackal wanting to find the cure to Red Lung is a good enough excuse to have him "tag along."
"Come on, sister," Jackal implored. "Let's not have a repeat of last night. You know this is the best way to help Kanin. And, admit it, you're just as curious as I am."
They believe Sarren went for the rumored cure existing in a hidden, underground old lab in Old D.C., and set to get there, only to find the lab was found already by Sarren, who stole the vial most likely to hold the cure. When they realize Sarren will head to the only other lab known to research for a cure, they set to New Covington, Allie's old home and a vampire city, where both her and Kanin are hated.
Allie's constant fight with her inner demon is amazing, and it's the only way for her to not lose her humanity.
I snarled, baring my fangs. "The next human you kill in front of me, you'd better be ready for a fight, because I will come after you with everything I have."
"You're so boring." Jackal rolled his eyes, then faced me with a dangerous smile of his own. "And I'm getting a little tired of your holier-than-thou act, sister. You're not a saint. You're a demon. Own up to it."
When Allie and Jackal sneak in to New Covington, they find that the topsiders are now living in proximity to the cannibals who reside underground, Sarren has unleashed Red Lung in the outskirts of the city and humans die in masses.
Imagine my, and Allie's, surprise when she finds an old street rat she once knew and he leads them to his group leader - Zeke!
"Why are you here? Why aren't you back in Eden with everyone else? Why did you come to New Covington?" He gave a short, bitter laugh. "It's obvious, isn't it?" he snapped, sounding angry again. I blinked, hearing the veiled hurt in his voice, not knowing where it was coming from. He stopped and turned, blue eyes glittering, facing me down. "Because of you, Allie," he said, almost an accusation. "I came here looking for you."
And cue me swooooooooooooooooning. I love the slow burn romance with the few little bursts of passion. There are a several in this book, and they make the heart flutter. The way their romance is building is amazing. Even when there's a regression, I got the feeling it's for a reason. It seems that the only way these two will not end up together is if one of them dies. And seeing as Zeke had Allison promise him she won't turn him in order to save him, their chances aren't great.
Inside the palace on their way to meet Salazar, the vampire prince ruling the city, they are being introduced to his pet, his human right hand man, wait for it..... non other than Stick. Or, Mr. Stephen, as he'd like to be called now that he's all high and mighty.
"Well, he's a real charmer," Jackal muttered as the door closed. "You two must've been such great pals. I hope you don't mind when I say I'm going to rip his tongue out through his nose and make him eat it."
At that point, I was 100% with Jackal. Lol. Some surprising realizations came from Jackal's behavior: He seems to act very much like an older brother would. I think that explains whey you can't help but loving him, even though he is for lack of better term - a douche. I think he is one of the most complex characters in this series. Can't wait to see what his fate will be.
When they are faced with Salazar, they realize he is aiding Sarren in torturing Kanin and that Sarren has filled Salazar's mind with lies about the cure. The meeting doesn't go quite as they expected it to, and naturally, a bloodbath is unavoidable.
I love Jackal's dark humor. It strikes when you least expect it.
"Oh, don't mind me." came an extremely sarcastic voice near the wall. "You two go ahead and make out - I'll just sit here and bleed quietly."
They do rescue Kanin, but there's a price, and they are literally fighting time to stop Sarren's evil plan.
At this point I'm stopping with telling the tale. Because from here on out - things go even nuttier. The group is facing some real challenges, and find resolution from a surprising source.
I absolutely loved the loyalty and (I think also) love Allison has for Kanin. She values him and what he's done for her so much, that she is willing to risk her life for him. And when she does, he seems to feel and think the same of her. Their bond is very unique and different than the one he has with Jackal - if you could even call that a bond.
This book is a roller-coaster of twists, highs and lows, fun and humor, and a beautiful and struggling romance - and by extension, a roller-coaster of emotions.
I'm not going to reveal anything about the ending of this book. Just going to say it's surprising (and yet, I kind of expected it) and it is absolutely gut wrenching.
Thank you to Harlequin Teen for the advanced copy of this book.