Remember that mini-interview I did? Read mine with My Favorite Author and Sophie of Mrs. Magoo Reads.
By Cynthia Leitich Smith
Zachary's pretty new to the guardian angel gig, but he's doing well enough. Sure, he's fallen in love with his current charge, but what's the worst that could happen? He could save her from a broken neck only to usher her into the arms of a fate worse than death. Not that Miranda sees it that way - she's now beautiful, powerful, and respected. All she has to do is deal with her periodically abusive "father."
I remember TANTALIZE coming out because users on a forum I frequent (Sheroes Central) kept talking about it. As the forum is filled with nothing but sharp cookies, I paid attention and finally got my chance to read and love the book. I wondered how ETERNAL would compare, but I quickly fell into the story. I knew it I would absolutely love it by page 63 of the ARC, wherein the archangel Michael directs an underling to Yahoo! Maps.
Those little touches of humor keep ETERNAL from getting too dark. Cynthia Leitich Smith does not shy away from making her vampires monstrous. (Or, as Father calls them, eternals.) Miranda's maker is the current Dracula, complete with a basement full of caged food. Miranda possesses a large appetite after her change and cuts a swath through certain sectors of society. Tongues are cut out. Miranda must exchange her Cowboys jersey for a lesser team.
Like TANTALIZE, bits of media are inserted between the chapters and offer glimpses outside of the characters' POV. There's a girl who misses her friend as well as angelic beauracracy. There's also an ad, this time for a personal assisstant - the perfect chance for Zachary to reenter Miranda's life and try to redeem both of them.
I enjoyed getting inside the head of both of these characters. In Miranda's, I wondered how Smith could redeem her giving her initial embrace of the vampire lifestyle. With Zachary, I admired his devotion and his desire to do right by everyone in the mansion - workers, prisoners, and Miranda. I enjoyed the blossoming of their relationship and the fact Smith didn't offer them an easy way out. Both of them learn, forcefully, that their actions have consequences even if they aren't always the ones to pay them.
I loved how ETERNAL expanded on the world of TANTALIZE. Quincey was an outsider to vampire culture, but Miranda is in the center of things. ETERNAL isn't just one person's struggle with temptation. Miranda can affect the entire vampire society. We get to see how their hierarchy works and who the major players are. Media darlings Sabine and Philippe are especially intriguing. I cannot wait to see how the two casts come together.
ETERNAL came out on the tenth. TANTALIZE is available now in both paperback and hardcover. You can read my review or listen to my interview with Cynthia. And guess what? She'll be here in March and you won't want to miss what she has to say. You can find out more at her blog, MySpace, el jay, or website.