Books, Review

Review: Eternal by Cynthia Leitich Smith

August 11, 2010

Prior to reading Cynthia Leitich Smith’s Eternal, I hadn’t heard great things about her other novel, Tantalize. But then a good friend of mine (and aspiring author) recommended Eternal to me, saying that she thought I would like it. So, I the next time I went to Schuler Books, I picked up a copy of it.

The complaints I heard about Tantalize were mostly about the writing. I found the writing in Eternal to be pretty good. Ms. Smith tells the story through two points of view: Miranda’s and Zachary’s. Both narrations are enjoyable and distinct enough to remind the reader who is narrating without having to look at the chapter heading. The descriptions are good, nothing too vivid or flowery, but solid enough to paint a picture, and the dialogue is fluid.

Miranda’s shift from being human to becoming a vampire, or an “eternal”, happens rather quickly and, in my opinion, is too quick. I would have liked to have seen more of Miranda’s human life in order to get a feel for her character before she transformed. It was hard for me to sympathize with her eternal self because she didn’t really seem to care about her old life, her friends, or family.

The romantic elements of the story were also enjoyable. Miranda and Zachary’s relationship is more friend-ly than lover-ly, but it’s still romantic—just in a subtle way. Even though I always look for a strong romance, I didn’t mind the subtle nature of their relationship.

The ending was one I was not expecting, but I really liked it for some reason. That’s all I can say without spoiling it.

Overall, I liked Eternal. I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it by any means. Despite Miranda’s quick transformation, the pacing is good and makes the story a quick and engaging read. The angels vs. vampires aspect makes the story fresh and was an aspect I really enjoyed. Eternal might be more of a library check-out than a purchase, but it’s still a quick and enjoyable read.

(cover image taken from Barnes and Nobles’ website)

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3 Comments

  • Reply anjohnston August 11, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    I had a similar reaction to you. I was really excited to see the transformation but I also wish I saw more and it was really hard for me to connect with Miranda because of it. It was good but it just wasn’t amazing.

  • Reply Kayla + Cyna August 17, 2010 at 8:46 am

    Interesting review. I agree, it was a bit abrupt to not get to see any of Miranda’s transition from human to vamp, but I think that was done so that we could focus on her transition back from cold vampire into someone with human emotions.

    I think what I enjoyed most about Eternal, though, were the morally ambiguous side characters (like the mansion’s servants). It takes a lot of talent, I think, to create believable and likable characters who do terrible things, but have sympathetic motives, so that was a huge plus for me. Also, I thought the lack of focus on the romance was nice. It was a nice break from the lovey-dovey norm, lol.

    Good review!

    Also, shameless plug: our Eternal review.

  • Reply Kayla + Cyna August 17, 2010 at 8:49 am

    Interesting review. I agree, it was a bit abrupt to not get to see any of Miranda’s transition from human to vamp, but I think that was done so that we could focus on her transition back from cold vampire into someone with human emotions.

    I think what I enjoyed most about Eternal, though, were the morally ambiguous side characters (like the mansion’s servants). It takes a lot of talent, I think, to create believable and likable characters who do terrible things, but have sympathetic motives, so that was a huge plus for me. Also, I thought the lack of focus on the romance was nice. It was a nice break from the lovey-dovey norm, lol.

    Good review!

    Also, shameless plug: our Eternal review.

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