Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Review: Tantalize


Tantalize by Cynthia Leitich Smith
3 stars



Reasons for reading: the cover and the title; vampire theme for Triple 8 and Themed Challenges

Book description: "Quincie Morris has never felt more alone. Her parents are dead, and her hybrid-werewolf first love is threatening to embark on a rite of passage that will separate them forever. Then, as she and her uncle are about to unveil their hot vampire-themed restaurant, a brutal murder leaves them scrambling for a chef. Can Quincie transform their new hire into a culinary Dark Lord before opening night? Can he wow the crowd in his fake fangs, cheap cape, and red contact lenses — or is there more to this earnest face than meets the eye? As human and preternatural forces clash, a deadly love triangle forms, and the line between predator and prey begins to blur."

My thoughts: I don't quite know how I feel about this one. I liked the vampire restaurant aspect, but a lot of the book felt a bit odd to me. It's set in what appears to be present-day Austin, TX but vampires and "were-people" seem to be facts of daily life, though they're certainly not popular. And apparently there are all kinds of were-creatures, including were-armadillos, which I thought was an utter hoot.

Throughout the book, I wanted to scream at Quincie, "He's a vampire!!!" (It' s not a spoiler, it's completely obvious.) Overall, though, she's a pretty cool character, with her dedication to the family restaurant, her red cowboy boots and her dependence on her datebook, which she's named Frank. And there are a few suprises along the way and the take on vampirism (it seems to be transmitted like a virus) is interesting. But, like the sweetbreads and other alarming things the chef serves up, it went down fine but left me feeling a bit off. But I'd say if you like YA vampire lit, give it a go, it's a fairly quick read and definitely has something to offer.

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