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?
Thanks to one of my BBF’s (Best Blogger Friend), Giselle @ XpressoReads, I gave this vampire novel a try. Giselle is always singing Rhiannon Frater’s praises, although Rhi is more known for her books on zombies, including the As The World Dies Trilogy. While I am convinced that zombie books are not really my “thing” I do love a good vampire story, and this one promised to be exciting and sexy. Thankfully, Pretty When She Dies did not disappoint.
The story starts off with a bang! We meet the main character, Amaliya, as she frantically claws her way out of a shallow grave in the middle of a forest. She is covered in blood, weak with hunger and confusion, and no longer alive. How’s that for an attention-grabbing opening scene?
Amaliya -pierced, tattooed, and rebellious- was a pretty kick-ass character. You just can’t help but admire her tenacity. She was pretty freaked out when she realized that she had been re-created into a vampire, but she knew she had to get her butt in gear and find some answers quick! With no shortage of street smarts, she navigated across Texas, bringing many familiar landscapes and settings to mind. (Can I just say that I love that this book is set in Texas? Texas Love FTW!)
Amaliya’s first instinct was to go home, but her trashy, vile family was not very accepting of her changes. Thankfully, she had other family in Dallas, namely her Grandmama and cousin Sergio, who accepted her for what she was and did not turn her away. Amaliya’s Grandmama is one of the best characters that has ever been created! She’s loyal, fiesty, smart, and unintentionally hilarious. She and Sergio make a great family unit, and I caught myself wishing that I could stop by for a good chat and some fresh tortillas “in real life”. Wanting to help Amaliya find the answers she was seeking, they sent her off to Austin with a car, cellphone, and money. Once there, she was soon taken in by Cian, Master Vampire.
This is where it really starts getting good!
Cian is centuries old and struggling to live a normal life, as close to “mortal” as possible. He’s even engaged to a mortal and has a semi-mortal assistant. When he takes Amaliya in, remembering what it was like to be a fledgling vampire, he is once again tuned in to that dark, primal side of his being. There is some serious chemisty in the air when Amaliya and Cian are around each other, and with each scene, I flipped the pages with increasing fervor. Rhiannon Frater knows how to create some spine-tingling sexual tension.
Samantha and Roberto, Cian’s fiancee and assistant respectively, were entertaining characters. The banter between them was fun, relatively light-hearted, and real. Samantha was a bit annoying at first, but as things become more dangerous for the cast of characters throughout the story, her armor of steel began to shine through.
And boy, did things get dangerous! As it turns out, Amaliya and Cian were created by the same immortal – The Summoner – who is not only a vampire, but also a powerful necromancer. This guy is truly an evil villain! The things he did to people, both living and dead, is enough to make your flesh crawl. Mine certainly did! However, in creating Amaliya, The Summoner had unintentionally met and created his match. In the final scenes of Pretty When She Dies, there is so much suspense and drama, you can cut the tension with a butter knife. I didn’t know who would live or who would die, and I was surprised quite a few times by the actions of each character as their true intentions unfolded.
Of course, I am skipping quite a bit as I don’t want to spoil the entire book, but Pretty When She Dies is full of suspense, action, and yes, sexytimesI The actual writing was not always perfect, but the storyline and characters that Rhiannon Frater created more than made up for any issues there were. I went into this book not really sure what to expect, but I was very pleased at the end and am eager to read the next book, Pretty When She Kills, which is set to come out at the end of this summer.
I recommend this book to those who love traditional vampire lore, suspense, action, horror, and fabulous vampy romance. I guarantee, you’ll be flipping pages long past the time you should be sleeping, just to find out what happens next!