Kirkus Reviews QR Code
DIABOLICAL by Cynthia Leitich Smith


From the Tantalize series, volume 4

by Cynthia Leitich Smith

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Jan. 24th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-7636-5118-3
Publisher: Candlewick

A werewolf, a guardian angel and a former vampire princess take turns narrating the fourth in this smart, playful series that began with Tantalize (2007).

Miranda renounced her blood-sucking ways in 2009's Eternal and has since been stuck in limbo at a hotel called the Penultimate somewhere between Earth and Heaven. From there, she keeps tabs on her best friend, Lucy, and is dismayed to see her arrive at Scholomance Preparatory Academy, a boarding school in rural Vermont that may be a place of great evil. She sends word to her soul mate, the guardian angel Zachary, who sets out with werewolf/human hybrid Kieren and his girlfriend Quincie to investigate the matter. A blend of romance, action and horror, this distinguishes itself from the crowd of paranormal teen fare with the employ of plenty of camp and a healthy dose of dry humor, as in this passage where Zachary attempts to prove his angel status to Lucy: " 'Demons have scaly, dragonlike, clawed wings,' I counter. 'Not gleaming, white, eagle-like...pretty wings.' That sounded lame. Luminous is the word Quincie uses. I should have said that." However, the pacing of this installment drags in places, particularly in the sections narrated by Miranda, so far in remove from the main event.

This flaw aside, fans of the first three will thrill to this latest. (Paranormal romance. 14 & up)