Synopsis: From Amazon
Classified Ads: wanted personal assistant to Her Royal Highness. Duties: whatever is asked, without hesitation, including but not limited to secretarial/administrative, household, defense, blood donation, driving, companionship, prey disposal, and love slavery. 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, demoted to human guise as the princess' personal assistant, has his work cut out for him with the Master's Death Day gala fast approaching. Can Zachary save his girl's soul and redeem himself before all hell arrives, quite literally, on their castle's doorstep? In alternating points of view, vampire Miranda and angel Zachary navigate a cut-throat eternal aristocracy as they play out a dangerous-and often darkly hilarious-love story for the ages.
Written in first person narrative (which I adore) with alternating perspectives of the male & female protagonists, gives an excellent (and often very funny) insight into their thoughts, feelings and actions. Often completely at odds with what the other person is thinking/doing. Lovely references to the classics - eg Dickens and Shakespeare - for some reason I love references to classics in books, I think it reinforces the story and shows how well read these authors are. I like to think that I am becoming better educated in the classics due to these references, it inspires me to read the classics (admit it you read Wuthering Heights after reading the Twilight Saga - I did). Or even that I can become better educated by simply reading these references (wishful thinking - better educated by process of osmosis).
Terrific story line containing Vampires and Angels (what more could you ask for). Very fast paced action, sometimes I had to re-read a page just to clarify the intricacies of the plot. There was only one thing that spoilt it for me, and that was the amount of gory imagery used; being of the squeamish variety (I faint at the sight of blood) plus I have a vivid technicolor imagination, this aspect just did not work for me but it did not detract from the plot either.
The book contains one of the best quotes I have ever heard:
"I'm almost positive that no-one has ever actually died from humiliation"
So, in conclusion a good, fast paced, action filled read. I am looking forward to reading Tantalize and then seeing how the protagonists from these books cross over in Blessed . Also looking forward to less disturbing descriptions ;)
I hadn't read Tantalize by Cynthia before or anything else by her, so I was a bit weary before starting this, unsure that I would like it. The plot was ah-mazing, I don't think I've read anything else that was like this, or maybe I have..I can't remember. A guardian angel risking his wings to save her life - unbelievably sweet!
Zachary is Miranda's guardian angel. He has always been there to protect Miranda, ever since she was a young child. He's always there, forbidden to reveal his divineness to her, yet always there, helping, guiding and steering her towards the right direction for her actions.
It was all going perfectly, until one night Zach has crossed worlds to save her, but instead causes Miranda to get pushed into the arms of the eternal. He has been stripped of his wings and heavenly powers, and is forced to accept a mission to gain access to this new and cruel world, and save Miranda. He may not have been able to save Miranda from a vampire, but there may be a chance of saving her soul from the clutches of hell. And falling head over heels for the vampire princess.
I really enjoyed how Smith alternated the narrative between Zachary and Miranda. It was uplifting to hear the perspectives of both characters. There were parts of classics including those by Dickens' and Shakespeare that were cleverly weaved into the story. It is nice to see modern day authors embracing more traditional works of literature.
Eternal was full of danger, passion, deception, humor, and anticipation. The ending was most surprising, I was actually quite sad to see what happened between Zach and Miranda, but also quite hopeful to see what will happen when the characters of Smith's Tantalize (which I should really read first!) and Eternal cross together in a final (installment?), Blessed.
Having just finished this book, I have it fresh in my mind. Needless to say I didn't but it and instead borrowed it from my local library, this is probably what I would recommend anyone else to do if they have the opportunity. The back quote states "Watch out Twilight fans, you are gonna LOVE Eternal," and whilst this may in certain circumstances be the case I can foresee many Twilight fans being disappointed.
The plot is relatively uncomplicated; Guardian angel messes up, girl ends up a vampire, kills people, guardian angel tries to fix mess up. Okay well maybe it's a little more complex than that, but for a one line plot synopsis there you go. It's a bit forbidden love, but somehow not as much as you expect from the front cover, it doesn't quite give you Romeo and Juliet, or Edward and Bella for that matter, there's a little bit of action, some horror and some teen angst mixed amongst the attempts at romance too. Mostly though it doesn't quite achieve a stellar reading in any particular genre.
As urban fantasy is on the rise with the dawning of Twilight (excuse the pun), a lot of authors are trying to cash in on the vampire love fest and Smith is no different. The biggest problem though, I didn't feel the book was overall particularly entertaining, and here's why. Firstly character, it started well Miranda looked like she was going to be shy down to earth, and the sort of teen fellow teens could relate to. Unfortunately we get about ten pages of this Miranda before she becomes self confessed "vixen vampire-princess," the whole process is sort of glossed over, in favour of an attempt to get in Miranda's psyche, but this fails. Miranda isn't a particularly interesting character as far as I'm concerned, she was to begin with but vixen vampire-princesses just don't led themselves to three dimensional plots.
Now as far as her co-star Zachary is concerned, he has a similar problems. I don't understand him as a character, I don't really feel for him, I don't feel his emotions as he does, mostly I don't really care. He's sugary sweet for an angel, but not holier than thou, which is sort of nice, but still sort of dull. His apparent love for Miranda is backed up by the fact that he has known her forever, a clear founding for true love - or maybe not. As for Miranda's faux vampire...sorry 'eternal' father Radford, he's about as two dimensional as villains can be nowadays, and he's not even really scary enough to pull that off well.
Overall I felt characterisation was weak, and sacrificed to the supposed wonder of this angel vampire world. The plot was a little different in parts, having Miranda sometimes play the villain but she quickly devolved into the love sick I'll only drink pig's blood if that's what you want my love type of vampire.
The saving grace for me in this book was the ending. I wont ruin it, but whilst sort of predictable did set it apart from other books in a similar genre. Unfortunately even this somewhat predictable though enjoyable plot twist couldn't make up for the rather weak beginning, middle and characters.
If you're a fan of the genre you'll read it, you might even faintly enjoy it, but like me you'll take it back to the library with very little regret that you didn't buy it, and then promptly forget the character's names as you walk out the door.
Eternal is a companion book for Tantalize written by Cynthia Leitich Smith. Eternal was released on 7th December 2009 and is 320 pages long. Currently available on Amazon for £4.49.
Zachary is a guardian angel. Miranda's guardian angel to be exact. He has watched over her for her whole life, sharing every good and bad time with her although she doesn't know that. After all this time, Zachary knows that he loves her and would do anything to help her. He's having a bit of trouble watching the black cloud of death hover over her though and doesn't know what to do about it.
Miranda is in danger and Zachary knows he has got to do something to save Miranda. Showing himself in order to save her life is completely against the rules and even though he saves her once, Miranda is kidnapped. Archangel, Michael shows up and lets Zachary what wrong he has done. Now fallen, without his wings or powers, Zachary doesn't know what to do or where to go but a friend from Heaven soon shows up and gives him a new mission that may just give him his powers and the key to Heaven back. Zachary must wipe out the vampires.
When Miranda got kidnapped she was turned into a vampire princess. While her 'father', the current Dracula, is away, she must get herself a PA and run vampire land to prove herself worthy. Zachary doesn't know about any of this so when he turns up at the castle and bags himself the job, he is more than shocked to see who's PA he is about to become.
Will Zachary be able to fulfil his mission and get his girl back without compromising both of them?
After not completely loving Tantalize, I was unsure about reading this book but it was cheap so I thought I might as well give it a go. Luckily, it was much better than I had expected.
The story is told from two different point of views, both Miranda's and Zachary's. This is something I enjoy in a book of this genre because there is usually so much going on you never see the whole picture from only one person. Even though each chapter states who we are following, it would have been easy enough to distinguish each character and they talk and act in completely different ways. What I think made this work so well in this case, was that each character both have completely different journeys to get to being in the castle together. I would have hated to miss one side of the story.
Even though I read a fair amount of fantasy novels, none have been as gruesome as this one. Even when dealing with vampires, the act of drinking blood never seems that graphic but here we get to experience beheading and other different ways to kill people. I didn't think this would be something I would end up liking but it made the whole thing seem a lot more real instead of tip toeing around the fact that vampires do kill people and drink their blood.
One of the biggest problems with this book is character development. Neither Zachary or Miranda actually seem to get anywhere or change up until the very end and even that was rushed. While I liked Zachary a lot, I failed to feel the same for Miranda. The only characters that I could picture in my head were Zachary and his angel friend Josh. This is because the author doesn't really describe any of the others much and some not at all. I would have loved to picture Miranda's 'father' as he was in the book but instead, I had a cheesy picture of Dracula which wasn't the same.
Smith tends to put more effort into describing the surroundings of our main characters more than the characters themselves. As Eternal seems to be in a darker place than most books of this genre, I felt like the descriptions could have been much better and more detailed. Certain parts of the vampire castle are supposed to extremely luxurious and other dark, damp and scary but they just weren't described enough to give me chills and feel like I was there.
I think I am making this book sound extremely bad but really, it was OK. I wouldn't go as far as saying amazing like I have for some others I have read recently but it is certainly readable. Smith is showing more promise in each book and while I feel that this could have been amazing had someone else write it, I am looking forward to the next instalment because I think Smith is finally going to find her place by then.