Pretty When She Dies by Rhiannon Frater
Reading level: Adult
Genre: Horror / Urban fantasy
Hardcover: 238 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing
Release date: November 24, 2008
Series: Pretty When She Dies #1
Source: Personal e-Shelf
Reviewed by: Stéphanie
Amaliya wakes under the forest floor, disoriented, famished and confused. She digs out of the shallow grave and realizes she is hungry...
... in a new, horrific, unimaginable way...
Sating her great hunger, she discovers that she is now a vampire, the bloodthirsty creature of legend. She has no choice but to flee from her old life and travels across Texas. Her new hunger spurs her to leave a wake of death and blood behind her as she struggles with her new nature.
All the while, her creator is watching. He is ancient, he is powerful, and what's worse is that he's a necromancer. He has the power to force the dead to do his bidding. Amaliya realizes she is but a pawn in a twisted game, and her only hope for survival is to seek out one of her own kind.
But if Amaliya finds another vampire, will it mean her salvation... or her death?
I didn't expect to like this book as much as I did. Truthfully, I haven't read many vampire book lately because I find them all so similar and I thought I needed a break. However, since Rhiannon Frater amazed me with her zombie novel, The First Days, I had to give this book a try. In PRETTY WHEN SHE DIES, her vampires are exactly how I would picture them, if they were real. Some of her vampires are a bit crazy with their blood lust, while others are just trying to live out their unlife, one bloody feeding at a time.
I think Frater is a genius at writing opening scenes. This is only my second book of hers, but like in The First Days, her opening scene in PRETTY AS SHE DIES is really captivating. The scene follows Amaliya as she rises from the dead, after being buried by her vampire maker. Of course, everything is a blur and she has trouble recalling how she got there. I could really feel and understand her confusion. I think the author made the right choice in the way she introduced us to her vampire world. Amaliya’s confusion lets the readers learn every little detail through the eyes of a newly risen vampire and it makes it so much more interesting to see her reactions to all these new situations.
Of course, since Amaliya is from the south, you more or less have to expected the dead beat dad and step-mother from hell to make an appearance, but what compensated this horrible cliché is Amaliya’s Grandma. As a minor character, she didn’t play a huge role in the story but their relationship did play a major part in Amaliya’s desire to remain as human as possible, in order to remain close physically and emotionally to her grandmother. Of course, one other notable character is Cian. You have to love a great romance story and they’re more or less a must in vampire novels. Amaliya and Cian’s relationship doesn’t feel forced and you have to admit, the two characters couldn’t have found better matches. Amaliya’s quirkiness is compensated by Cian’s serious and meticulous behavior. Overall, Rhiannon Frater knows how to create wonderful characters, and I think many of the personalities she created for this novel shine throughout the book.
Readers who love vampires have to add this book to their shelves, if they haven’t already. Frater has fascinated me with this original take on vampires and has me desperately wanting more. Frater is efficient in writing serious scenes and the ones in this book are gripping and entertaining. However, she has a great way of sneaking humour and sarcastic comments at every turn in the book.
Make sure to stop by the blog on September 18, 2012 when author Rhiannon Frater tells us what she does when she’s not writing. Her “When I’m Not Writing” post will be part of her blog tour for PRETTY WHEN SHE DIES, the sequel to this awesome book!