Title: Eternal (Tantalize #2)
Author: Cynthia Leitich Smith
Published: December, 2009 by Walker Books
Purchase: The Book Depository
At last, Miranda is the life of the party: all she had to do was die. Elevated and adopted by none other than the reigning King of the Mantle of Dracul, Miranda goes from high-school theater wannabe to glamorous royal fiend overnight. Meanwhile, her reckless and adoring guardian angel, Zachary, demoted to human guise as the princess’s personal assistant, has his work cut out for him trying to save his girl’s soul and plan the Master’s fast-approaching Death Day gala. In alternating points of view, Miranda and Zachary navigate a cut-throat eternal aristocracy as they play out a dangerous and darkly hilarious love story for the ages.
Apparently this book is set before Tantalize, and so, the entire restaurant-operating ensemble is nowhere to be seen. It reads more like a companion, set in the same world, but in a different city. Unlike the previous book, which focussed on the workings of a restaurant, Eternal delves right into the paranormal. A vampire kingdom full of aristocracy, human servants and dungeons gave this book an entirely different feel. While this one still suffered from some of the same problems as the last one, I found the alternating perspectives gave a better insight into the characters. Plus mixing vampires and angels, how could I resist.
I didn’t particularly take to Miranda as the main character. Becoming a vampire, she takes to the new life, the royalty, leaving her high school self behind. I suppose the way it was done brought the reader into the story quicker, but the one year time slip at the beginning removed a lot of character building potential. With most of the page time spent introducing the kingdom, its rules and the vampiric way of thinking that Miranda adopted after her change, the first third of the book lacked something for me.
It was interesting to find a sect of vampires living within a castle in a metropolitan area. I think it adds to the world building where shifters are common knowledge. I was confused though, in the respect that vampires had been considered a myth or at least unseen for decades among the general public, yet most people seemed to know about—and avoid—the part of the city that housed them. The vampires—who refer to themselves as eternals—were very set in their customs, and especially relentless towards failure and betrayals. I liked these traits, but found myself hoping to find goodness among at least some of them.
With alternating POV’s, Zachary took on the second main character role. Older than Miranda, he is, or was, her guardian angel. His chapters were the better of the two. I enjoyed his take on the world, having been incorporeal for so long before finally taking part in it. Being an angel, I suppose that brought a sort of goodness with him, but because of Miranda’s vampire state, an accompanying weight within him. I appreciated the way he was handled with regards to the romance. Although he’s looked over her for the duration of her life and developed feelings, she’s been oblivious to his existence. So we have a one-sided relationship, but from the guy’s perspective.
I’m not quite sure how this book is going to tie into the first one, but according to the blurb of Blessed, the characters of the two will be meeting each other. I’m hoping the infusion of Zachary into Quincie’s restaurant will somehow reignite my interest. Plus with Kieren there as well, things should be interesting.
Those interested in light fantasy and overprotective angels should enjoy this. For those that haven’t read Tantalize yet, it won’t matter what order you read the first two books in.
Great review Brett! I imagine there are a good many reader out there interested in overprotective angels *cough* I hadn’t heard of this series before so I might give it a try.