“Book Info: Genre: Dark Urban Fantasy (per me); Horror (per author)
Didn’t Like It2 of 2 members found this review helpful
“It takes a lot to inspire me to review a book. After finishing this, i could not simply file it away and refrain from commenting. Quite frankly, it is astounding how big of a train wreck this entire novel is (i don't even know where to begin).
“Though this is technically my second Rhiannon Frater novel, it's my first pure experience, since the first novel I read she coauthored with Kody Boye. Though The Midnight Spell was a cute, fun read, I was looking forward to the dark, creepy novels Giselle of Xpresso Reads made me so curious about when she fangirled all over them. With Pretty When She Dies, I got just what I was hoping for: a dark, sexy, creepy, comic read.
Pretty When She Dies opens with a bang as Amaliya digs herself out of her grave. Covered in dirt and weirdly hungry, she stumbles into her dorm room to take a shower. Once clean, she heads out in search of food, passing up a lone student for something more that she senses. More turns out to be a secret frat house orgy, where Amaliya proceeds to murder thirteen students, after which she has sex with her maker. Whoa, right?
Amaliya, though, isn't really like that usually. She sort of is, in that she does love sex and she's not opposed to killing as a vampire. However, she actually loathes her maker, who raped and killed her, but she didn't remember that in the haze of being newly awoken. She hardly knew who she was at that point. In case the circumstances of her transition to vampirehood were not enough of a clue, turns out that her maker, Professer Sumner, is actually one of the most powerful vampires ever and a freaking sadist. This girl has fantastic luck.
While not really breaking any new ground with vampire lore, Frater does what she does well. The vampires aren't sweet and innocent, though they can love. They murder. They're violent and powerful. Pretty When She Dies is gory and has plenty of sexual content. Actually, it's got a fairly similar vibe to True Blood, what with being set in the south (Texas, rather than Louisiana) and about intense, sexy vamps.
Of course, there's a romance, which, for me, was the weak part. It was pretty hot, actually, but the infidelity and the fact that the couple "falls in love" in less than a week is disappointing. Now, I'm going to be totally honest and say that the infidelity didn't bother me as much as it should have, because Cian's fiancée Samantha is really annoying. She's basically like Sookie, convinced she's made the vampire Bill or Eric into a sweet fluffy human, when along comes Amaliya to prove that's not true. However, Cian and Amaliya thinking they're in love so fast? Blergh. Seems like they've both lived enough to know the difference between lust and love.
The supporting cast is delightful and brings a lot of humor into Pretty When She Dies. Though I hated Samantha when she was with Cian, she starts to be hilarious when she teams up with local vampire hunter, Jeff; she makes all sorts of Buffy comparisons, which amused me greatly. Plus, I freaking adore Amaliya's cousin, Sergio, and grandmother, Innocente. As Amaliya says, "you shouldn't fuck with little Mexican grandmas," and boy is she right. Innocente is fantastic, and totally my favorite character. Not only is Amaliya a powerful female character, but Innocente is as well, and Samantha even shows some promise.
Rhiannon Frater's vampires harken back to the classic vampire lore. Dark, comic and sexy, I highly recommend Pretty When She Dies to anyone looking for a quick, fun read that's still not tired of vampire stories.”
“Book Info: Genre: Dark Urban Fantasy (per me); Horror (per author)
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: fans of dark urban fantasy with tolerance for occasional typos and weird sentence structure
Trigger Warnings: Implied rape, sexual assault
Disclosure: I picked this book up for myself from Amazon. When the author later saw it on my shelves at Goodreads, she asked me to provide her an honest review when I read it. All opinions are my own.
Synopsis: 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?
My Thoughts: I really found myself enjoying this book. It’s been awhile since I read a more “traditional” vampire novel, and I had forgotten how amusing they could be, if they were done right. The editing isn’t perfect—among other things I found “heal” for the back part of the foot (heel)—but the pace is fast, and I was able to ignore it for the most part. I loved that Amaliya’s grandmother was so calm about the whole thing (in fact, I just adored that woman in general—she was awesome), and I laughed like crazy when Amaliya went to a Goth club to try to find a vampire and ran across a total poseur.
That’s not to say the entire book was fangs and roses. There were plenty of problems, and I think this one sentence will give you a good idea of the sorts of things you will run up against when reading it. “Approximately, four rosaries rested around her neck.” Let’s break that down, shall we? First of all, what is that comma all about? There is no need for a comma there. Then, the use of first “approximately” followed by a ridiculous number like “four.” How hard is it to be precise about whether or not four rosaries are around a person’s neck? I would think it would be fairly easy to tell whether or not there were four. But, just to be fair, let’s say that these are particularly intricate rosaries, and there are beads all over the place, and extra crucifixes or whatever, and it’s therefore hard to tell how many are there in total. Why throw out the number “four”? I submit that it would be better to say either, “Four rosaries were around her neck,” or alternately, “There were several rosaries around her neck; it was hard to tell with all the beads, but he would guess approximately four.” Anyway, while I said above the pace is fast, the story is good, and the characters are enjoyable, if these sorts of conundrums will drive you insane while you’re trying to read, maybe it’d be better to move on to the next book instead.
However, if you’re fairly tolerant of the occasional misspelling or weird phrasing, and enjoy a fast-paced vampire book where the vampires are vampires but not necessarily evil creatures simply because they are vampires, then you might enjoy this book. I would list it as dark urban fantasy, based upon the ending, rather than horror, and recommend it to folks who enjoy such.”
“I received this audiobook from the author in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any compensation for my review, and the views expressed herein are my own.
Frater brings the darkness back to vampires! The story is a bit gory at times, which serves to remind us that vampires are lethal beasts.
Amaliya Vezorak, a 24 year old woman, is a bit of a loner and social outcast. She dyed her blonde hair black, and she is covered in tattoos and piercings. She feels like she has never really fit in anywhere, and her appearance only adds to the problem. Her mom was stricken with cancer when Amaliya was a young girl, and her father started an affair with Amaliya’s 18 year old cousin before her mom had even passed away! Amaliya’s cousin eventually became her step-mother. All Amaliya wanted to do was to go away to college and get away from her family. However, when she received the shocking news that her younger sister, Rachel, was terminally ill, Amaliya left college to return home to take care of her.
After her sister dies, Amaliya returns to college and enrolls in a psychology class that is being taught by a prestigious professor from England. Unbeknownst to Amaliya, the Professor is not just a vampire but also a necromancer: He can control the dead. He bites Amaliya but, just before she dies, he gives her some of his own blood and then buries her in the woods. After she awakens, she is mad with the hunger. She crashes a dorm party and slaughters them all, and she realizes that she cannot stay. She sets out to try to find others of her kind and to learn to survive. She eventually meets up with Cian, who was also created by the Professor, and he agrees to help Amaliya learn some survival skills.
Underneath her tough persona, Amaliya is just like anyone else and wants to fit in. She longs for that acceptance of self and peace in her life. I liked her character, and I was amused by her cheekiness. I wanted Amaliya to find that happiness that she was seeking. My favourite character was Amaliya’s grandmother, Innocente: Who wouldn’t want a kick-ass grandmother like that?! She is tough as nails, and I love her unconditional acceptance of Amaliya. I enjoyed the ending of the book, and I can’t wait to read more about Amaliya and Cian in the next book in the series, Pretty When She Kills.
I really enjoyed Kristin Allison’s narration. I thought she did a great job of capturing the essence of Amaliya, with just the right amount of attitude. Her pace is excellent, and her subtle characterizations worked well. ”
“Miss Frater, you rocked this one hardcore!!! If you have read anything Miss Frater writes, you know firsthand how epic her writing skills are! She grips you into her story like a vice and doesn't release her grip until you've finished every last word she writes. If you haven't read any of Miss Frater's work, than WTH are you waiting for???
Pretty When She Dies, was a dark, gritty at times, urban read. It had me by page 3 and I tore thru this book in the matter of a day.
Amaliya, the main character of this book wakes from a grave, not knowing what has happened to her or where she is at first. A college student, she lives on campus and hears a voice in her head to go home, and shower. Confused and mentally unable to realize what has happened to her, she sets off to her dorm room, showers, and feels a need, a hunger. The voice in her head tells her to feed. She leaves her room to try to eat, but feels an unexplainable pull towards another dorm, and a secret room where there is a group of naked college students getting their freak on. Amaliya, is not like these students, she is more reserved, and quiet, although it seems she hides behind her mask of piercings, tats, and black dyed hair. Entering the room, she has an uncontrollable need to feed, and feed she does!! As she wipes out the group within minutes, what is left shocks her and she is left wondering what the hell she just did, and what the hell she is?
As, the story continues, Amal finds herself trying to figure out what she is, what has happened to her, and what purpose she serves. She journey's to find answers of what she is and tries to find others like her kind, to help her.
Amal, is a character you can feel for, she has been thru alot not only now, but in her past life. Naive at times, she slowly journey's to becoming bad-ass and every step she takes it seems, is steps in the right direction. I love the way she takes down, a nasty, truck driver who feels he can use any young girl he comes across, Amal teaches him the hard way he picked the wrong girl to screw with.
Amal's story and journey is of course, being tracked by the powerful necromancer/summoner/vampire as he is the reason she is in the peril she's in now. He follows her, and watches her every decision, as he realizes she may be more than what he first bargained for. The ending is great, and I really don't want to spoil anymore for you.
Did I love this book? Hell yes, I did. It was a great story. Like I said before, Miss Frater can take the best or worst characters and have you feel for them. She has a way of making her heroine's the good guy, even though the way she does it is gritty and raw.
“Three and a half stars: A dark, gritty and thrilling vampire book!
She wakes in the cold dark earth....pushing and crawling her way to freedom. The girl stands covered in dirt and mud, wrenching it out of her lungs. Shakily, she takes in her surroundings. She was buried alive, but why? Who is she? She can't even remember her own name? Terrified, she heads to the lights below and slowly finds her way back to her dorm room. Her fuzzy memory is beginning to recall bits and pieces of her former life. Then a loud, dark beat of music pulsates to her hears. One minute she is standing outside the dorm room where a party is raging, the next she is covered in blood form her kills. A vile laugh rings in her ears. She looks up and sees her former professor laughing at her. He is the reason for her current condition. Her took advantage of her, killed and buried her after he changed her into a vampire. Now he mocks her and tells her she won't survive. Amaliya must find her way and acclimate to her life as a vampire, or die, but it certainly won't be easy! Will she rise up and fight back?
What I Liked:
*I loved that this starts out with the terrifying scene where Amaliya claws her way out of the grave, choking on dirt, terrified and unable to remember anything. It is a chilling beginning and the book keeps coming with some dark, gritty scenes. I cut my teeth on Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles so I would thrilled to see that Rhiannon hearkens back to the vamps that I was first introduced to. They are dark monsters of the night, terrifying and scaring with a few shreds of humanity. There are no sparkly vamps in this one! It was obvious that Ms. Frater was influenced by Rice as well since there is even a reference to Lestat in this book.
*I enjoyed the characters and admired the depth. I especially loved the Spanish speaking, tortilla making, God fearing Grandma who isn't afraid to take on the monsters. Innocente is a kick butt grandma for sure. I hope to god when I am seventy I can be as cool as she is!
*This book has lots of story lines as well as a scary vamps, necromancers, animated corpses and more. There is a lot going on in this one. It is action packed and thrilling.
*I loved how Amaliya transformed in this one. She, of course, undergoes her vampiric change but we also see how she spent the majority of her life getting kicked around. She certainly has the worst luck. By the end, though she is a vamp who takes charge and one who will be a force to be reckoned with, and I cannot way to see how she progresses.
And The Not So Much:
*This book has a lot of steamy sex scenes that got to be a little much for my taste. I am not prudish, but it seemed that every time I turned around there was more sexy time (cue in the cheesy porno music). I began to feel like a dirty peeping Tom. If you love vampire books with lots of sex scenes then you will enjoy this, if you are like me and they grow tiresome after awhile, just gloss over them and get to the good stuff, like vampires kicking the Necromancer's butt and taking on an army of undead corpses.
*I liked how fleshed out all the characters were except for the villain, The Summoner. For some reason, he just never got to me and made me feel anxiety and hate. He was just an average villain. I wanted him scare the pants off me, but he didn't. Perhaps adding in a few scary scenes strictly from his view point showing how he took corpses, sewed them together and created his monsters would have done the trick.
Pretty When She Dies was my first introduction to Ms. Frater's work, and it won't be my last. She crafts a dark vampire story that will keep you on the edge of your seat. She also adds in a cast of memorable characters who I will be excited to follow in subsequent books. If you are bored with all the pretty not so scary vampires and you want to get back to something a bit more menacing give this series a try.
"As she trudged along, her bag swinging against her back, she sighed. It was freaking hard to be a poor-ass Texan vampire. Nothing about it was easy or fun."
"The one thing about being a vampire is that you become immensely terrified of death," he said finally."
"At first he thought her unremarkable, but she was one of those people who slowly emerged from the shadows the more you learned about them. The dimmest of all the lights had grown to blind him and he had to take her."
"They were so terrible for each other and they both knew it. This never should have happened."
"I knew you were special when I took you. You were so pretty when you died. Exquisite in death. More lovely than you had been in life."”
“ This book was intense, it is not for someone who can't handle hearing about blood, gore, and other intense situations. This book kept me focused the whole time, and I kept wanting to read more. This book is dark, but there is also humor in it. This book was easy to read it jumps from different characters points of veiw, if the reader pays attention then you will have an easy time reading this book. A person that would enjoy reading this book is someone who enjoys intense thrillers, and you have to have paintence because it keeps the reader guessing.
This book keeps you on your toes, and it can be gruesome. I think the target audience is meant for young adults to adults, I dont think young kids should read it. I know because of the adult situations and how it relates to adults in the book. My overall opinion of this book is that, it was a great book, and i hope to read the other books to come after it. It was a great book because vampires is something I'm intrested in, and I enjoy books that are thrilling and intense.”
“An amazing book written by a great author. This book has a great mix of lust vampires and a few zombies. This is a great read and its for sure something you have to pick up. More for this review check out my book blog kzbookblog.blogspot.com”Cherry Luxe wrote this review Wednesday, December 28, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“It would have been four but one thing annoyed me- How stupid the heroine was not to realize how she summoned the dead? Ridiculous. There were a few other things - like how amazingly power full the Summoner was supposed to have been then how he died in the end was such an anticlimax. It promised a lot, but the end just didn't deliver. ”shahw1 wrote this review Wednesday, July 6, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“There were some things about the main character that annoyed me. Despite that, I enjoyed the book and it kept me reading. I finished it in only 2 days.”Lisa W wrote this review Saturday, May 25, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Amal is just one heck of a character. She does these horrible things, yet as a reader i never blame or resent her for it, and she also sleeps around without ever seeming like a bad person. it is so interesting. The book totally rocks. ”ERA wrote this review Friday, December 10, 2010. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No