I have been looking forward to The Immortal Rules ever since it was announced and was lucky to be given a copy of it before the release date from HarlequinTeen. I have to admit that while I enjoyed Kagawa's The Iron Fey series, it wasn't all I thought it could be. So I was looking forward to seeing Julie's writing mature and her tackle a meatier, more vigorous type of book. The Immortal Rules does not disappoint! It's gritty and dark (which I loved) and has a much stronger cast of characters who do not fail to amaze.My favourite aspect of the book has to be the setting - a dark future world in which vampires have taken over and treat humans like walking blood bags, where a deadly plague has killed off much of the human population anyway and survivors live in squalor in the vampire cities. The protagonist, Allison, lives in the Fringes of one of these cities and refuses to be Registered (and be forced to give blood twice a month) - so she is forced to scavenge and hunt for food. While there are dangers inside the cities, there is a far greater threat outside: rabid people who carry the plague and have been turned into vampiristic animals that prey on humans. It's such a vivid world, full of tangible horrors, that I couldn't help but be completely hooked!Meghan in The Iron Fey series came across to me as a weak character for much of the series - always relying on others to help her and whining about everything constantly. Allie is none of those things - she didn't even whine when she was turned into a vampire! Here is a character who stoically accepts that she made a decision to continue living as a vampire instead of dying, and then gets on with it and learns to be a creature of the night. She, reasonably, wants to protect humans and her humanity, but never complains or plays a hapless victim.The storyline is much tighter than I had expected, which a fast pace that continues until about halfway through the book. There is a section that is so slow and boring I found myself wanting to give up, but the action picked up and the end was explosive and left me wanting more.This book has gone straight to being one of my favourites for 2012 - lovers of paranormal fiction and the young adult genre will enjoy The Immortal Rules, but it has something awesome for those who haven't tried Kagawa's work as well. If you're tired of reading vampire fiction then have a go at this book. It will blow your mind!You can read more of my reviews at Speculating on SpecFic.