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.
**ARC provided by NetGalley**
I was a vampire. I was the scariest thing out here.
Review: Allie Sakamoto is an unregistered teenager living in the Fringe, which is the outer area of a vampire city. Allie and her gang of friends have no access to food, other than what they can scrounge up on their own. If caught stealing food, the unregistered are executed. They live in rotting apartments, and have little to no access to what I would consider basic necessities. Allie lives with three other people in her "gang." Lucas is the leader of her group, and also an early love interest for Allie. Stick is her timid and spineless best friend. Rat is the fourth member of their group and has fun by bullying Stick.
One day, Allie goes out beyond the outer wall of the city. This is forbidden but she takes the risk anyways in order to find food. She comes across an old abandoned house that has a cellar loaded with tons of non-perishable foods. She has an accident and doesn't quite make it back to her apartment in the Fringe because darkness falls. When night approaches, so do the rabids, the crazy, mindless vampires that roam outside the city walls. Allie makes it back to her gang, but tragedy strikes when the teens make a return trip to secure all of the food. While leaving, all four friends are attacked by rabids. Allie is rescued by a vampire named Kanin and given the choice of dying a natural death, or becoming a vampire under the watchful eye of Kanin.
Kanin is not a "normal" vampire. He doesn't live with the other vampires, and is actually sought out by quite a few very powerful ones. Kanin was involved years before in the vaccination science that eventually lead to the creation of rabids. He has spent years trying to find research so that he can fix the mess he helped to make. I really liked Kanin. He was one of my favorite characters in this book. He took Allie under his wing and taught her how to be a vampire. He is a father-figure to her, and I was very upset to see his character leave the story fairly early on.
After Kanin is captured, Allie is on her own and runs into a group of humans looking for "Eden." A land where there is food and safety from vampires. This rag tag group led by a former religious leader has been taught to hate vampires and to kill on site. Here she meets the noble and attractive Zeke, the second-in-command to this group of humans. He is the son (not biological) of their leader, Jeb, and has been taught literally by the rod and steel. Allie tries to fit in as a human, despite her desire for blood and her strange sleeping habits. Allie proves herself to Zeke and the group time and time again. Yet, in the end, when her secret is revealed, she is treated like the monster she believes herself to be.
"Hunger makes it impossible not to crave human blood. We can't survive without it. Any maybe you were right to drive me off that night. But I can promise you that - I will keep fighting it. That's the best I can offer."
Allie battles herself throughout this entire novel. She thinks she's a monster, but doesn't want to be one. She does her best to help her friends, including saving them from certain death, even though they abandoned her. Allie has the type of moral compass that few characters have.
"You are a monster," Kanin's deep voice droned in my head again, as I forced myself to move, to walk away. "You will always be a monster - there is no turning back from it. But what type of monster you become is entirely up to you."
Zeke becomes the love interest in this book. As a character by himself, he's not my favorite type of male hero. This may be due to the YA nature of this book. He has been taught his entire life that all vampires are evil, yet he is able to come to terms with his lifelong beliefs to see that Allie is not. It takes Zeke some time to figure this out, and during this time, he puts Allie through a lot of pain. However, although Zeke tried to fight his attraction to Allie, it becomes impossible for him.
"What are you doing to me?" he whispered, as his hand moved down to my neck, tracing my collar bone. I couldn't answer even if I wanted to. "You make me question everything I've learned, everything I know. Truths I've believed since I was a kid, gone."
I liked the character of Allie very much. I can see how people can relate to her. She is trying to do her best in the circumstances she has been dealt. She doesn't want to be the monster that people and other vampires think that she is. However, I think some of the other characters, especially Zeke and Jeb, could have used more depth. Jeb to me was very one-dimensional. He has a one-track mind and you are either good or evil to him - there is no in between. I also hope that Zeke takes on more of a leadership role. I'd like to see some alpha in him yet.
The world building in this book was above average. I love the structure of the world - the vampires inside their city, the registereds, the unregistereds, and the rabids. The world Kagawa creates is unique and multi-layered. It was very easy to get lost in this world.
My only complaints are that this novel is slowly paced in some parts. There was a lot of information about the world in this book. I think some of the description bogged the pace down, and there were times that I felt like I was never going to finished this book. My other complaint is about the cover. Allie is an Asian teenager. The cover to this book is despicable.
The ending leaves this book wide open. There are still many unanswered questions that I think will be addressed in the next book in this series.