Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Ninja Reviews...Eternal by Cynthia Leitich Smith

If you haven't read Cynthia Leitich Smith's first book, Tantalize, that's okay. Even though her upcoming book is set in the same world, you don't need to read the first one to understand what is going on. There is a brand new set of characters, and an even better description of the universe that Smith has created.

Eternal begins in Texas (yay!). Miranda is a shy, somewhat awkward, but beautiful teenage girl who just wants to be noticed by someone other than her best friend. She would like to be an actress, but only manages to embarrass herself during tryouts for a play at school. The one person who does notice Miranda, and is in love with her, is the one person she can't even see: her guardian angel, Zachary.

After attempting to save Miranda's life, Zachary inadvertently allows a vampire to turn Miranda into one of the undead. For Miranda, this means becoming royalty among the vampire elite. She's more beautiful, more popular, and more powerful than she could have ever imagined. Zachary loses his wings and is left to dwell the earth as mostly human. But things aren't quite as hopeless for Zachary (or Miranda) as it seems. Redemption just might be possible.

I love that Smith writes from both Zachary's and Miranda's points of view. We meet Miranda when she is human and then find out what life is like as a vampire (one who lives like a princess). And what's life like for a guardian angel? In Smith's world, there are different levels an angel can reach, and guardian angel is bottom of the rung.

The romance between Zachary and Miranda is sweet and really leaves the reader wanting just a little bit more.

I do have one or two minor complaints. One is that there were a couple extremely brief scenes that might be a bit gorey for some readers. I read a lot of horror novels and short stories, but I was still surprised by one or two lines describing vampire eating habits. The other complaint is that when Miranda is turned into a vampire, she is sucked (no pun intended) into that world full force. When Zachary comes back into her life and tries (without her knowledge) to help Miranda, it was a little bit difficult for me to forgive Miranda for some of the things she had done as a vampire. Later in the book, though, the author mentions a detail about Miranda that I felt she should have mentioned sooner because it would have made forgiving Miranda a little bit easier.

Overall, I really did like this book and would encourage fans of the House of night series by P.C. and Kristin Cast, Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause, and The Morganville Vampires series by Rachel Caine to give it a try. Cynthia Leitich Smith is already working on a sequel, Blessed, in which we get to see characters from both Tantalize and Eternal.

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