June 7, 2012

Review: Diabolical

Book Cover Book Four of the Tantalize series
By Cynthia Leitich Smith
Available now from Candlewick Press
Read my reviews of ETERNAL and GEEKTASTIC
Read my interview with Cynthia and a write-up of a signing

TANTALIZE introduced Quincie Morris, now the only vampire who has ever resisted killing a human.  ETERNAL introduced Zachary, the angel who slipped when trying to rescue his charge Miranda.  In BLESSED they joined forces to destroy Quincie's maker and rescue the residents of Austin with questionable taste in dessert.  Their actions proved to Zach that neophyte vampires can be saved and he takes that as his mission in order to regain his full heavenly status.  But there are those who don't appreciate what Quincie, Zach, and their allies have accomplished.

DIABOLICAL is told through three points of view.  Kieran, for the first time, gets a voice.  (Well, for the first time in the main series.  There is a graphic novel through his point of view.)  He's separated from Quincie for most of the novel, so those hoping for mushy stuff might be disappointed.  Zach once more takes up narrating duties, as does Miranda, who is now in the Penultimate.  The Penultimate is a sort of purgatory, the dead work through their last ties to the human world before ascending to Heaven.  Miranda is able to observe those left behind on a monitor-com, which both kicks the plot into action and allows her to comment on what is happening outside of Kieran and Zach's purview.

BLESSED brought one story arc to a close.  DIABOLICAL can almost stand alone.  (It does deal with the consequences of ETERNAL.  Miranda killed people.  God forgave her, but that doesn't mean she's forgiven herself.  Zach is grounded and thus separated from her.  And separated love interests must always reunite.) It's a twist on a horror plot, the one where a group of people are brought to one location and must play a game or risk death.  (And, well, still risk death if they play the game.)  It's a trap for our intrepid heroes, one laid by Satan himself, and baited with the souls of innocents.

Unfortunately, there isn't much time to bond with those innocents.  They all seem like fairly interesting people (aside from Andrew), but they were in peril more than our heroes but it was hard to care as much about them.  But Cynthia Leitich Smith has been building her cast throughout the series and people tend to show up again.  Perhaps more time will be spent with the survivors in future books.

And no, the angelic memos with attached Yahoo! maps will never not be funny.

If you enjoyed the first three books in the Tantalize series, then there's no reason to stop now.  If you haven't, DIABOLICAL is still pretty accessible.  It will appeal to fans of supernatural adventure and horror.


  1. Sounds like a worthwhile read. I haven't read any in this series yet, but I do think it's something I'll eventually try out. Thanks for your thoughts though!


  2. Wonderful review. I haven't picked up this series yet, but I do want to. Thanks for sharing! :)
    New to your blog!
    Stephanie @ Stepping Out of the Page


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