Review: Blessed by Cynthia Leitich Smith
Series: Tantalize #3
Author: Cynthia Leitich Smith
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Published: January 2011
My Copy: Won from P.J. Hoover
Quincie P. Morris, teen restaurateuse and neophyte vampire, is in the fight of her life — or undeath. Even as she adjusts to her new appetites, she must clear her best friend and true love, the hybrid werewolf Kieren, of murder charges; thwart the apocalyptic ambitions of Bradley Sanguini, the seductive vampire-chef who “blessed” her; and keep her dead parents’ restaurant up and running. She hires a more homespun chef and adds the preternaturally beautiful Zachary to her wait staff. But with hundreds of new vampires on the rise and Bradley off assuming the powers of Dracula Prime, Zachary soon reveals his true nature — and a flaming sword — and they hit the road to staunch the bloodshed before it’s too late. Even if they save the world, will there be time left to salvage Quincie’s soul?
I thought about reading the first two books in the Tantalize series prior to this one but I already had a free copy of Blessed sitting on my shelf. So… I cheated and started with book 3! Lucky for me, this novel stands well enough on its own and the story is so good that I’ll be checking out the first two installments sometime soon. There’s not much werewolf action in this tale but from what bits there were I gather that I missed out by skipping ahead! Another reason for me to revisit this series.
The restaurant side of the story line really appealed to me. I enjoyed the way that despite all of the turmoil in Quincie’s life, the center of her universe is Sanguini’s. To outsiders her passion may seem a little odd. I mean what teenager likes working other than for the benefits of spending money? But, for Morris it’s more than just a restaurant; it’s her family business. I grew up in a similar environment but in a different industry. Regardless, I could easily relate to Quincie’s dedication and entrepreneurial spirit. The only thing that perplexed me a bit was the amount of time that she spends at Sanguini’s vs school. Apparently Morris is a full-time high school student but her trips to the classroom seem to be few and far between.
There are quite a few little extras scattered throughout the book that give it a personal touch. The snippets include: the restaurant’s menu offerings, correspondence letters and even a summary of the Dracula novel. These elements weren’t crucial to the story development but I appreciated that they were there.
It’s rare that I’ll find myself in tears while reading a book and I most certainly didn’t expect to shed any over this tale but surprise, surprise! There was one particular scene that just got to me. Fortunately for me I was home alone at the time so I was saved from the embarrassment of having to admit that a Young Adult book made me cry! That one chapter aside, there were some very uplifting moments as well. I like a novel that plays on my emotions and Blessed definitely achieves that in spades.
The third installment in Cynthia Leitich Smith’s Tantalize series is intoxicating, expressive and has multi-layered meanings. Quincie, the main character, stands out in the sea of supernaturals which is a rare feat in a Twilight-esque novel. The links made between Blessed and Bram Stoker’s Dracula are inspired and add a modern day twist to a classic tale. I can’t vouch for the other two books of this series (yet) but if they’re anything like this one; they deserve to be read!
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I review Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance books with a focus all things werewolf. Based out of Ottawa, Canada