Monday, February 8, 2016
Women in Horror: Pretty When She Kills
It seemed as though Amaliya Vezorak's happy ending was just beginning when she harnessed her necromantic powers, killed her creator the Summoner, and started her life with Cian, her lover and the vampire master of Austin. Their happiness comes crashing down when the master of San Antonio decides his area is just too small and he needs to branch out into Austin. The threat of this supernatural war makes the pair wish they had more supernatural allies than they do. Meanwhile, Samantha, Cian's ex, is seeing ghosts and a mysterious man is trying to convince Amaliya's family that he can make her human again. On top of all this, Rachon, the Summoner's favorite creation, is out for revenge. Can Amaliya, Cian, and their untested vampire hunter friends survive this onslaught?
Pretty When She Kills is the second book in the Rhiannon Frater's vampire series. I greatly enjoyed the first and its predecessor is not quite as good, but still formidable. Amaliya is back, a little more weathered, but also more mature and powerful. Her old self is so used to running away when things get tough and that version of her is still in there, screaming at her sometimes. There's still room for her to continue to grow. She's still figuring out her powers that seem to include a lot more than she initially realized and doesn't really have any guidance in this area. Her relationship with Cian is as sweet as ever and I love reading about them. It just warms my heart to see their relationship with caring, heat, trust, and a true partnership. Cian isn't controlling or gross even though he is a supernatural creature. This trope is seen way too much in supernatural works and it doesn't excuse abusive behavior.
My biggest grievance of the last book was the horrible character Samantha, Cian's ex. After being ousted by Amaliya, Samantha would just spew obscenities at Amaliya and didn't really have too much else going for her. I felt it was pretty bad writing honestly because she felt so one dimensional, grating, and incredibly childish. She starts out that way here, equally insufferable. Then she finds that she received residual power from Amaliya's life saving blood from the last book and now she can see ghosts. at first, she reacts in typical Samantha fashion, whining and blaming "that whore" Amaliya for all of her problems. Then, when they actually sit down and talk about it, Samantha completely changes. She realizes that being completely insufferable to both Cian and Amaliya isn't productive and they don't deserve it. Sam sees and accepts the reality of her situation instead of how she wishes it would be and starts being an actual person. Suddenly she isn't so bad. I understand her and I see her as a person instead of a cartoonish shade of one. Amaliya and Samantha actually have a friendship now and can relate to each other. I'm looking forward to more development with her in the next book of the series.
Pretty When She Kills is a fun, exciting read, but it has some flaws. Shortening the basic plot points to the above paragraph was kind of difficult because so many things are happening all at once. During my read, it wasn't hard to keep track of, but afterwards it's a lot to look back on. I think the many plot lines detract from character development and there are a lot of characters to keep track of. Usually, I don't have much of a problem with this, but if they aren't very present or there isn't something to set them apart from each other, they start to blend together. In this case, it's with the vampire hunters and some of the new characters. My other problem was that Amaliya's family wanted to turn her back to human without even asking her if she wanted to be human again. It's a pretty big violation of trust and shows that they think they know what's best for her. It turns out getting them in big trouble, which is satisfying. The novel has a lot going for it, but it suffers as many second books in trilogies do. I will definitely finish the series and I plan to pick up Frater's Vampire Bride series as well.
My rating: 4/5 fishmuffins