Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Review: Pretty When She Dies

Pretty When She Dies
Pretty When She Dies by Rhiannon Frater

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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.

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