Author: Rhiannon Frater
Pretty When She.. #1
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Horror
Age Group: Adult
Publisher: Self-published
Pages: 384
Published: 2008
Source: Personal Kindle copy
Goodreads | Amazon (UK/US) | Book Depository

First sentence:

When she began to stir from her deep slumber, she had no idea she was buried under several feet of moist, dark earth.

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?


Pretty When She Dies follows the protagonist, Amaliya, as she fumbles her way around after being crudely thrust into the world of vampires and left to fend for herself and work out exactly what is happening to her and how to control it. You have most likely seen me blogging about this book on recent Fridays as I was taking part in the read along for it and it was a lot of fun. Not only was it an opportunity to discuss your thoughts on a book with likeminded people but it also meant that I was able to read it slowly, savouring every moment of the story. Sometimes that’s a nice way to read. This is my non-spoilery review for those of you who might be curious.

Rhiannon paints a vivid picture of Amaliya’s life and surroundings. It is a tense and dark horror, with just a sprinkling of subtle humour, and nothing particularly scary so I wouldn’t be too alarmed. I managed to read it and I’m scared of the dark so you’ll be fine. What makes it a horror is how the vampires are portrayed as the predators, though I feel inclined to call it an urban fantasy, it is a bit of both really. And the sex, as odd as it comes across, is pretty hot, if a little… weird. You’ll just have to see for yourself on that one. All I shall say without spoiling it is that I wasn’t as freaked out as I felt like I should have been.

I liked the use of different character perspectives throughout the story. They not only provided a better overview, but made us as the reader feel more in tune with characters that we otherwise might not whilst remaining most sympathetic towards Amaliya who really just needs to catch a break. The best thing about her is how real she feels. The emotions she goes through are so very human and so not, and she is also flawed which if anything gets her into more trouble than she is already in which only livens the book up further for us, but she is also resourceful, so she has her own unique way of getting out of sticky situations.

I personally felt that towards the end it dropped off a little and I had to really push to finish, but I was damn glad I did. There are some things towards the end that were just too awesome to miss. Those of you who have read Pretty When She Dies will definitely know what I mean. And though sometimes the writing feels a little clunky, it didn’t bother me so much because usually it was amazing.

All in all, Pretty When She Dies is a fantastic read which I found myself really able to get into. If you’re a fan of the more traditional vampire, the vicious predator rather than the unpopular-human lover, and also of urban fantasies, then seriously, Pretty When She Dies is a must read. It is both compelling and dark. And the Kindle version is only £1.99! And $2.99 in US, I believe? Get it!

The Pretty When She.. series:

0.5. Pretty When They Collide
1. Pretty When She Dies
2. Pretty When She Kills
3. Pretty When She Destroys