RELEASE DATE: 4th November 2008
FORMAT: Kindle, 227 pages
GENRE: Paranormal, Horror
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? (Goodreads)
I was excited to read a book by Rhiannon Frater after reading so many good reviews about her As The World Dies series. I was quickly engaged with PRETTY WHEN SHE DIES as twenty four year old student Amaliya wakes up to find herself buried alive. Confused, scared and escaping her shallow grave, having no memory of where or who she is, Amaliya follows her instincts. Her instincts lead her back to her dorm room, obeying her body’s needs in a haze. Amaliya showers, removing caked on dirt, blood and twigs, trying to piece together the preceding events in her mind, vaguely noticing a lack of reflection.
Amaliya’s mind is still unfocused, but feeling hungry she goes out to find food. She’s inexplicably drawn to a frat house, she enters and finds a secret room and discovers a private party where an orgy is taking place. Using her charm, Amaliya gets invited in and her new nature takes over as she suddenly slays everyone in the room, drinking their blood. In the chaos someone blocks the door making sure no-one can escape.
Satiated, Amaliya realises what has happened and that the someone preventing her victims escaping was her creator, and her university lecturer, Professor Sumner. Sumner is a very old, extremely powerful vampire who tells Amaliya he will be watching, but she won’t receive any help from him. Sumner is known in the supernatural world as The Summoner and all vampires and vampire hunters fear him as he possesses the ability to control the dead and uses this power ruthlessly to do his bidding.
Amaliya is confused, needing to escape her university, and goes back home where she gets chased away by her detached family. Leaving a trail of victims and requiring guidance, Amaliya visits her grandmother, Innocente, and cousin, Sergio. Innocente is a medium and senses that Amaliya is dead, so tries to help Amaliya cross over. But Amaliya explains…
“You think I’m dead. Well, I am. I’m not a ghost. I’m something else and it’s not any fun! I hate it! …I think I’m a vampire.”
Innocente is a great quirky character who I instantly loved. She quickly realises she can trust Amaliya not to harm her so she helps her granddaughter by giving her a car and mobile phone. Innocente instructs Amaliya to keep in touch and encourages her in her search to try and find other vampires.
Not knowing vampire laws, Amaliya quickly finds herself trespassing on another vampire’s territory. Attacked and kidnapped Amaliya finds herself at the mercy of the head vampire of Austin, Cian.
Amaliya and Cian both have the same creator, Cian knowing the mind games The Summoner likes to play with his children, takes pity on Amaliya and helps her understand more about being a vampire, teaching her how to feed without killing, giving her the knowledge to aid her in her future encounter with The Summoner.
Cian has a human girlfriend Samantha and a servant Roberto who both become jealous of the growing relationship between Amaliya and Cian. I enjoyed the interaction of these key characters and how Roberto and Samantha’s decisions could have dire consequences for Amaliya and ultimately Cian. Although through these challenges Amaliya finds a menacing power that could be the answer for The Summoner’s demise.
Amaliya’s character progresses from a confused, scared individual into a strong and powerful vampire who accepts and understands what her new life offers.
For the first time in my life, I know who I am and what I am capable of and it’s the most amazing feeling in the whole damn world.
Amaliya finds strength in Cian and together they make a formidable team bringing the best out of each other.
As the tormenting from The Summoner gets to the finale, it becomes impossible to stop reading. Frater creates a gruesome, inventive ultimate battle in which all the main characters are involved. I love how gutsy the little grandmother is and her stunning involvement at the end.
The only downside to this book are the names. However, Frater includes a pronunciation table at the front of the book to help with this.
PRETTY WHEN SHE DIES is a vampire horror with a few zombies added, full of blood, gore and sex, a strong heroine, a feisty Grandma, and one hell of a villain, which made for an entertaining read. I’m looking forward to reading more in this series.
BOOKS IN SERIES ORDER
1. Pretty When She Dies
2. Pretty When She Kills
3. Pretty When She Destroys
BUY THE BOOK