In the dark days since the insidious Red Lung virus decimated the human population, vampires have risen to rule the crumbling cities and suburbs. Uncontested Princes hold sway over diminished ranks of humans: their "pets." In exchange for their labor, loyalty and of course, their blood, these pets are registered, given food and shelter, permitted to survive.
Unregistered humans cling to fringes, scavenging for survival. Allison Sekemoto and her fellow Unregistereds are hunted, not only by vampires, but by rabids, the unholy result of Red Lung-infected vampires feeding on unwary humans. One night, Allie is attacked by a pack of rabids, saved by an unlikely hero...and turned vampire.
Uncomfortable in her undead skin, Allie falls in with a ragtag crew of humans seeking a cure, or cures: for Rabidism and for Vampirism. She's passing for human...for now. But the hunger is growing and will not be denied. Not for friendship—not even for love.
Rabid pseudo zombies--check
Potential Star Crossed Lovers theme--check
One Immortal Kick Butt Teenage Girl--check
With all those things how could this not be a great book???
For the most part this was a great read...once it got going. Honestly its biggest downfall is the slow as molasses pacing. Once Allie is turned into a vampire one would expect the story to take off but it doesn't. We readers endure pages and pages of her walking through trees and fields and highways with little to absolutely nothing happening except for her internal fight on to drink blood or not to drink blood.
The beginning was interesting as we learned how Fringers survived and once she is turned, Allie's training was also interesting. What isn't interesting, however is Allie herself (she's rather annoying) or pretty much any of the other characters in this book. Allie is set up to be a survivalist but continues to do ignorant things that make me wonder how she survived being an "unregistered" at all.
The only interesting character is her vampire sire who, unfortunately, is only in a small part of this book. I'm hoping he is in the next book more than he was in this one.
Despite the pacing and the unlikable characters, Julie Kagawa does have a way of making me want to find out what happens next. Did the group find Eden? Who is this mysterious Jackal who claims to be the Vampire King? Where did Kanin, Allie's sire, go? Kagawa gave me just enough information in this book to be satisfied with the ending but left out just enough for me to want to continue on with the series. In addition the world building is good, her writing flows well (even when the story's pace is staggeringly slow) and it's easy to read which overall made me happy.
A word of warning to younger readers: there are some gory scenes, quite a few fighting scenes and many deaths. Please keep this in mind if you decide to read this book.