Seventeen-year-old Miranda has no idea that she's being watched—and followed and loved—by a guardian angel. Zachary has known Miranda since the moment of her birth, watching and protecting her—and falling in love with her as she grows into a beautiful, if a bit awkward and insecure, young woman. But when Miranda's life is threatened by a rogue band of vampires, Zachary falls down on the job.
He's been disgraced in the sight of "the Big Boss," and he's lost track of Miranda, who has become the gothic Princess to the reigning Dracula, head of a worldwide underground vampire network. So when Zachary is given a second chance to redeem himself, he jumps at the chance to help Miranda find her own brand of redemption. But there's one little problem. As a human, Miranda was sometimes unhappy, sometimes ridiculed, sometimes disappointed over her parents' divorce. Life as an eternal, where she has a horde of servants, a killer wardrobe and a tricked-out SUV, is something completely different: "I'm finally the life of the party. All I had to do was die."
Peopled with vampires, werefolk, angels and other eternals, Cynthia Leitich Smith's book continues to explore the mythology she developed in her first gothic novel, Tantalize. Riddled with references to popular culture and classic literature, filled with dozens of clever one-liners ("With each button, I feel more like a refugee from the prom of the damned."), Eternal introduces serious ideas—about loyalty, love, faith and salvation—in a lighthearted guise. Fans of Tantalize and Eternal—especially those frustrated by the cliff-hanger endings of both novels—will be pleased to learn that these parallel story lines will unite in a future series installment. Smith has built on centuries of vampire lore to create a spooky, snarky, supernatural world all her own. Copyright 2009 BookPage Reviews.
Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2009 #2
Teen readers have lapped up the steady outpouring of vampire books, most of which feature a forbidden mortal/immortal romance. Here Smith creatively revamps the star-crossed pair as a "newly risen" eternal (read vampire), adolescent Miranda, and her fallen guardian angel, Zachary. Chosen by the current Dracula himself to be his princess and heir, Miranda spends her nights receiving visitors, performing bloody executions, and dressing up for "Father." To earn back his wings, Zachary applies for the job of Miranda's personal assistant. The kitsch factor is high: Miranda notes of her high-end sleeping coffin, "We saved seventy percent by ordering online." But, like the author's delectably demonic Tantalize (rev. 3/07), Eternal is not for the squeamish: Miranda accepts the gruesome practices of castle life (draining blood from semi-starved teens in chains) as wholly as she takes to her new designer clothes and maid service. The suspenseful and entertaining story plays out in a parallel Chicago mingling mortal and immortal, damned and blessed. When the beautiful Zachary awakens the vestiges of Miranda's humanity, together they raise a full-scale supernatural battle against the increasingly unstable Master. Redemption does not come easily, however, and happily-ever-after eludes the couple -- at least for now. An author's note promises a union of the casts of both Tantalize and Eternal in a forthcoming book. This thirsty reader awaits the refill. Copyright 2009 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.
Kirkus Reviews 2009 January #2
Plain Miranda ascends to the rank of vampire princess in this imaginative but somewhat underdeveloped horror-comedy. Revisiting the same world in which bloodsuckers and animal shape-shifters exist alongside and in full view of mortals that was the setting of Smith's 2007 novel Tantalize, the locale has changed from Austin to Chicago. Additionally, guardian angels become part of the cast, providing a rather sardonic love interest for this offering's protagonist in the form of Zachary, who falls from grace while attempting to rescue Miranda from a vampire attacker. In order to save her and himself, he infiltrates the house of Dracul, where Miranda now lives as an unwitting accomplice to the head vampire's grisly schemes. Focusing on the aesthetics of the castle and on the A-list monster world that Miranda now inhabits, Smith falters a bit as she increasingly relies on descriptions of the setting and campy dialogue instead of fleshing out her characters. Still, the pace of this entertaining romp is quick and the action plentiful--a painless, if not particularly memorable, read. (Horror. 14 & up) Copyright Kirkus 2009 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
Library Media Connection Reviews 2009 August/September
As with her recent book, Tantalize (Candlewick Press, 2007), Cynthia Leitich Smith has set this title in a world where vampires and other nocturnal beasties not only exist, but also are acknowledged by humans. In this novel, Miranda, a wallflower turned vampire princess, and her former guardian angel, Zachary, fall in love, but are kept apart by several obstacles. He?s been sent to save her soul and kill Dracula. She is struggling with the morality of vampirism. Their relationship is fairly chaste, with a few kisses and a near-miss at a sexual encounter. What sets this book apart from the other vampire novels is its sly humor, more akin to Buffy the Vampire Slayer than Twilight (Little, Brown & Company, 2005). Told from both Miranda?s and Zachary?s perspectives, the storyline doesn?t offer too many surprises, and the teen-speak occasionally feels forced. However, Zachary and Miranda are likable and surrounded by a great supporting cast. Short chapters send the narrative along at a brisk pace. It?s a fun read sure to please the legions of vampire fans. Reading Tantalize is not necessary, but teens may want to, as characters from both books are promised to meet up in a future title. Recommended. Megan Blakemore, Librarian, Westbrook (Maine) High School Â¬ 2009 Linworth Publishing, Inc.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2009 March #3
Smith's latest revisits the dark alternate world of Tantalize (2007) with a new set of characters. Despite the efforts of Zachary, her guardian angel, Dallas teenager Miranda joins the ranks of the undead as an "eternal" (vampire), courtesy of the current Dracula, their aristocratic ruler. A year passes, and as Dracula's pursuit of power begins to affect his sanity, Miranda struggles to acclimate to her new regal life in Dracula's castle (in Chicago). Meanwhile, Zachary has been cast from heaven for revealing his angelic nature while trying to save Miranda, so he poses as a human--and Miranda's personal assistant--trying to save her. Smith balances the story's bloody details with frequent touches of humor (when Zachary is taken aback by Miranda's enormous SUV, she replies, "We're eternals.... We are evil. We are not fuel efficient"). The confessional style, alternating between Miranda and Zachary's points of view, is intriguing as a diary--readers should be hooked by this fully formed world, up through the action-packed finale. Ages 14-up. (Feb.)[Page 63]. Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
Gr 9 Up-This dark romance is told in alternating chapters from the perspectives of 17-year-old Miranda and her guardian angel, Zachary, in an alternate America in which vampires and werewolves exist. Early in the novel, Zachary falls from grace as punishment for materializing in his full radiance in a failed attempt to save Miranda from being bitten by a vampire. The tale resumes a year later with the now-vampire Miranda a revered princess living among vampire royalty and feasting regularly on humans. Zachary, meanwhile, has sunk into a life of aimless debauchery and is resigned to never regaining his wings when an archangel suddenly gives him the opportunity to become Miranda's personal assistant. Determined to save his former ward, with whom he has fallen in love, Zachary takes the job. Miranda finds herself drawn to him, and the murders she has carelessly committed begin to weigh on her conscience. With his help, she is determined to find a way to redeem herself and help him return to grace. The plot is occasionally choppy and frequently grisly, and the dialogue seems forced in places. Neither Miranda nor Zachary is particularly likable, and the ending, while logical, is not one that romance fans will favor. The story lacks the elegance of Stephenie Meyer's hugely popular novels, but serious vampire buffs will undoubtedly add the novel to their must-read list.-Leah J. Sparks, formerly at Bowie Public Library, MD[Page 92]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.