From Goodreads: In a future world, Vampires reign. Humans are blood cattle. And one girl will search for the key to save humanity. Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire 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 is attacked—and given the ultimate choice. Die or become one of the monsters.
Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most. To survive, she must learn the rules of being immortal, including the most important: go long enough without human blood, and you will go mad. Then Allie is forced to flee into the unknown, outside her city walls. There she joins a ragged band of humans who are seeking a legend—a possible cure to the disease that killed off most of humankind and created the rabids, the mindless creatures who threaten humans and vampires alike.
But it isn’t easy to pass for human. Especially not around Zeke, who might see past the monster inside her. And Allie soon must decide what—and who—is worth dying for.
This was a very long book, but Kagawa is able to keep readers’ attention as she develops her characters, weaving an intricate plot line full of love and betrayal. Now, while I wouldn’t say this is a romantic love story, Allie’s relationships with those around her constitute love in every sense of the word, in one way or another, and yet, betrayal is just as prominent throughout the pages. I highly enjoyed this mixture, especially as it set me on edge, unsure of who to trust or what would happen next.
While I originally found the story to be a bit slow in the beginning, Kagawa does a phenomenal job setting the background for her novel, introducing the characters, their plights, and explaining how Allie becomes a vampire, torn between her retreating humanity and her vicious desires. I really liked seeing the before and after Allie; though, truth be told, the after Allie was much more exciting than the before one, and I found that the story really picked up once Allie left the “safety” of her city and began wandering the forest on her own.
I was surprised on many counts as I read, and livid on others, as the plot unfolds and Allie works diligently to hide her true nature and protect those around her from the real threats of rabids, ravenous vampires, and a band of travelers set on capturing them all. Their travels became extremely harrowing as the story continued, and I truly felt for all the characters, though I think Allie is my favorite, mainly because she’s the one the novel really fleshes out and focuses on. While Zeke was a great foil for Allie, and he ultimately changes for the better, some of his actions rubbed me the wrong way, even though I do understand where he is coming from. Overall, though, I really enjoyed all the characters, and am excited that Kagawa has set up her novel for a sequel, especially as this is one of those books that makes you feel like you’ve been on a long journey alongside the characters, and I really enjoyed this experience. Four stars.
Harlequin Teen has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read and ARC of this novel, via Netgalley, prior to its release on April 24, 2012.