Guest Post: Zombies in the Pretty When She Dies Trilogy by Rhiannon Frater

August 16, 2013 Author Feature, Event, Guest Post 21

Hey everyone! We hope you’re having a blast with our Vamps vs Zombie Event! Today we have Rhiannon Frater with us sharing her insights into the zombies features in her Pretty When She Dies trilogy.


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At some point while writing about established monsters, magical beings, and the whatnot, every writer faces a moment where they have to decide what legendary traits do, or do not work for their particular story.  While writing Pretty When She Dies and the two sequels (Pretty When She Kills, and the soon-to-be released Pretty When She Destroys), I had to decide not only the abilities and limitations of my vampires, but also what it meant to be a necromancer in that universe. I had already made the choice to adhere to a very traditional, old school vampire, so my take on necromancers would take a distinctly modern turn.

Historically, necromancers resemble what we now consider to be a medium. They were able to summon and speak to the spirits of the dead. Sometimes they acted more as oracles by coercing the dead to reveal the future. Though this idea was interesting, I had to take into consideration how novels, television shows, films, and comics have altered the idea of necromancers. Recent incarnations have taken on a more threatening and ominous appearance. Instead of just being able to summon spirits to predict the future they’ve been imbued with the ability to raise the dead (aka zombies).  Since this has become the established new canon for necromancers, I decided to embrace this new norm, but add a few twists.

In Pretty When She Dies, both The Summoner and Amaliya are vampires with necromantic powers. The Summoner’s necromancy works differently from Amaliya even though he created her, and it takes nearly the entire book for Amaliya to finally understand how to raise and control the dead.

They also have a decidedly different relationship with the zombies they raise.

The Summoner in the first book is cruel and likes to play games with the fledgling vampires he creates. He torments them, stalks them, and makes their lives into living hells.  His cruelty extends to his victims and the dead.  He can force a victim to hover on the edge of death and be his slave.  He can also chop up dead bodies and make terrible constructs out of them. He regards the dead as his playthings.

Amaliya, meanwhile, slowly embraces her affinity with the dead and creates a much more compassionate relationship with the zombies she raises. Flickers of memories give her glimpses of the people the zombies once were and the lives they lived. Though she does raise the dead to help defend herself and those she loves, she actually does revere them and their service to her.

In Pretty When She Kills, another vampire necromancer comes into play.  Again, her necromancy takes on a different form. Bianca Leduc is much more in tune with the spirit world than Amaliya and The Summoner were in the first book.  She’s able to use the spirit realm to her advantage when reaching out to Amaliya’s grandmother, who is a medium, for help.

Innocente, Amaliya’s grandmother, and Samantha, a mortal member of Amaliya’s cabal, both take on a more traditional necromancer role in Pretty When She Kills. Though it was previously established that Innocente was a medium, Samantha ends up with some pretty intense side effects from drinking Amaliya’s blood in the first book.  Of the two, Innocente is closer to the traditional necromancer in her capabilities. For Samantha, I had fun creating some new abilities that she has to explore and learn to use.  I also created the title phasmagus for her.

In Pretty When She Destroys there are many types of necromancy and death magic on display. One of the big challenges was evolving the powers of Amaliya and Samantha in a way that made sense. I didn’t just want them to power-up randomly. Also, Amaliya had to deal with the fact that the villain of the piece can use her necromancy against her, so she resorts to her vampire abilities more and more. Amaliya’s zombies do make dramatic appearances, but not in the same way as the previous two books. Through Samantha’s eyes the reader gets glimpses of the spirit realm and her ghosts come into play several times.

Since vampires are undead and bringers of death, necromancy fits easily into their world. The necromancers definitely shake things up.  I also enjoyed writing about a different sort of zombie that is much more sympathetic than the flesh eaters in the As The World Dies trilogy.

Pretty When She Dies Trilogy

1. Pretty When She Dies | Goodread

2. Pretty When She Kills | Goodreads

3. Pretty When She Destroys | Goodreads

Pretty When She Destroys comes out August 27, 2013.

Ready to dive into Rhiannon Frater’s world? Well hop on board the Frater-Fest Read-a-Thon hosted by Kimberly @ Kimba The Caffienated Reviewer

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Tabitha (Pabkins)

When I'm in the zone I can flip book pages faster than the eye can see - screaming "More Input!" I'm a book, yarn, & art supply hoarding goblin who loves to draw, make toys and craft all sorts of creepy cute things. My current habit is to listen to audio books while I'm arting it up!
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21 Responses to “Guest Post: Zombies in the Pretty When She Dies Trilogy by Rhiannon Frater”

  1. Donna

    I loved Pretty When She Dies & thought it was one of the best vampire books I’ve read. I still need to read the sequel and now the third (The Fraterfest Read-a-Thon will be the perfect opportunity to do that!) ! I love getting a glimpse into how Rhiannon’s characters and their abilities evolve from book to book. She is definitely one of the first authors I think of for Vampires or Zombies.
    Donna recently posted…A-Z Booksie SurveyMy Profile

  2. Melissa C

    These sound like books I would enjoy. Thank you so much for the interview.


  3. Denise Z

    I picked up Pretty When She Dies and have to get reading it. Thank you for sharing, I love having this extra tidbit and background going into a read 🙂

  4. Jaime Lester

    I have heard fabulous things about this series. Haven’t read it yet, but I am looking forward to it. I love that Rhiannon took into consideration how and why and what she was going to make her characters. That right there is one of the reasons she has so many fans. Myself included, soon!

          • Jaime Lester

            So, I know you read my semi-sorta-kinda review of Burn Bright. Take a chance on it. Very interesting. Definitely a unique concept. Try it out! I think you may like it!