If I were to divide this book up and rate its individual Parts - capital P, very important - they would get very different ratings. Parts one and two? One star. They were a very poor introduction to both Kagawa as an author and this story, and quite honestly, if I were the type of person to just quit reading books in the middle, this probably would have been one of them.
But it does get better.
I don't quite know why, though. There was no improvement in the writing quality or characterization that I noticed, and yet parts three and four of this book would each ratchet the star-rating up a notch. Perhaps it's a shift in content - after all, Immortal Rules is essentially four different stories from four different (sub)genres smushed into book, so chances are you'll find something that interests you at some point.
I was so very turned off by the start of this book though. I've heard complaining about a lack of action, but it really wasn't that, for me. I thought the pacing was appropriate for what each section was trying to accomplish, and propelled the story along nicely from event to event without and excessive padding. No, what bugged me was the writing. Oh god, the writing.
Writing isn't usually something I complain about, because as awful as I'm sure it is, I'm not a prose-nazi. There has to be something really, really bad about the writing for me to even notice it, much less complain. And to be fair, Immortal Rules wasn't as much of a chore as any of the afore-linked books. But somewhere along the line, I'd gotten the impression that Kagawa's prose was something to write home about, and in that respect, Immortal Rules was a big disappointment.
The prose here is bland and flat. Easy enough to read without tripping over any awkward sentences, but there's no...spark. The setting descriptions were mechanical and lifeless, and the narration trite. I remember thinking as I waded through Part One that there wasn't a single sentiment here that wasn't some sort of cliche, that I hadn't read being expressed before in the exact same way.
But I mean, you can say that for any book, right? "Nothing's original", "everything's been done before", and you'd probably be right. But the difference is the spin, the unique perspective, the unique voice, the unique way the words are put together, that makes a book feel original and fresh. Exciting. Immortal Rules didn't have that for me. It felt absent of life and originality, like a transcript of events instead of a true story.
This issue goes beyond the text itself, though, and permeates through the overall story. Like I said earlier, Immortal Rules felt like a mash-up, not just of genres, but of tropes as well. It read as though four different genres had been distilled into a list of their most popular cliches, which were then cut and pasted together to form each individual "Part". Allison is the one constant, going through the story like a video game character navigating a myriad of themed levels.
Full review at You're Killing.Us