Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Blessed by Cynthia Leitich Smith

Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 480 pages
Publisher: Candlewick (January 25, 2011)

Book summary: 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?

My review: I liked Tantalize but found myself not caring much for the main character, Quincie.  In Blessed my opinion of Quincie drastically changed. I really liked her. Now that she’s one of the undead, created (technically, it's called "blessed") by her former cook, Brad, her life has gotten even more interesting. And frustrating. Kieren, her werewolf boyfriend had to leave to find his pack. Much of her time revolves around her mom’s restaurant, Sanguini’s,  and its workers, who have become her family. Except bad vamp Brad doesn’t want to let Quincie go so easily. She learns strange things will happen to the restaurant patrons who ate any of Brad’s signature dishes (they were tainted by his blood). 

Quincie has to deal with way too many things for a seventeen year old, even if she’s a vamp: hold on to her soul, keep her new undead status a secret from the Morales’ (Kieren’s parents, who have become her guardians); staff and re-open Sanguini’s restaurant; discover Brad’s apocalyptic-sized plans; and, um, pass her classes, especially Chem. 

Suspend any disbeliefs, settle down in a comfy chair and let Leitich Smith take over. Blessed is a fun, intoxicating read. Quincie’s sense of humor is spot on at times and had me laughing at loud. There were many humorous moments and yet there were some poignant gems sprinkled throughout (one is my favorite excerpt below) which shows Quincie as a maturing young woman at odds with what she has become. The cast of zany characters Smith has created are enjoyable. The angel Zachary (from Eternal) is still a bit stiff but charming, along with new chef Nora, werepossum Clyde, and twins Freddy and Harrison, and a bevy of others, will keep any reader entertained. The author’s story pays homage to Bram Stoker’s Dracula, but still keeps this novel contemporary and refreshingly unique.

Rating: ++++

Favorite excerpt: (From pages 266-267, ARC.)

“I swung the blade until, finally, the frame was nothing but scrap metal, and then I sank to my knees on the cold, gray floor. Crying.

I didn’t know how to be what I was now. Brad’s fault, and in some dark corner of my mind, I blamed him even more for leaving me to deal with it alone. But then again, I wasn’t alone, was I?

Zachary reached for the axe, and I let him have it. He set it aside and knelt, wrapping me into a hug. For a second, I stiffened, not wanting to be touched. But it was such a safe and comforting embrace, like I’d skinned my knee and he was the doting big brother. Like Kieren was to Meghan.

“I hate Brad,” I whispered, hiccupping. “I hate him. I hate losing. I lost myself.”

“You’re not lost, Quincie,” the angel insisted. “You’re still here.”

“I’m dead. Mama and Daddy are dead. Vaggio’s dead. Uncle D. And I’m a dead, dead thing. A dead, dead ruined thing.”

Cover comment: I find this cover to be the best in this series. The dress, which plays a significant role in the story) is pretty and the rose petals could symbolize a plethora of things. I'm not sure of the typeface, though.

Book source: Star Book Tours

3 comments:

  1. Oh I cannot wait to read this. I really enjoyed the first two in the series!
    Great review

    Kristen
    My Bloody Fairy Tale

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  2. This sounds like an excellent addition to the series. I'll be checking it out. Thank for the review!

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