College student Amaliya awakens in a shallow grave a newly turned vampire. As she stumbles through the remains of her life, the line between good and evil blurs replaced instead by thoughts of survival and death. Pursued by her evil maker, Amaliya flees across the Texas plains, leaving corpses in her wake.
The first half of this novel is outstanding. There are few easy choices for Amaliya. Even paying her family a visit is a deadly proposition. Frater treats the initial days of a vampire’s life with brutal realism. There is blood and sex, but death outweighs everything else. I plowed through the first ten chapters online at the author’s website, and then ordered a hard copy.
The story changes in the second half. Amaliya meets other vampires and prepares for the arrival of her maker. Action still dominates, but the other characters are less three-dimensional than the protagonist. The ending ties up all loose ends, but feels a little forced.
Overall, Pretty When She Dies is a very enjoyable work of dark fiction. It also has one of my favorite book covers of all time.
According to the author’s blog, Pretty When She Dies has been optioned for a movie by Tripod Entertainment. Not bad for a self-published book!