Review: Diabolical

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: DiabolicalDiabolical by Cynthia Leitich Smith
Series: Tantalize #4
Published by Candlewick on January 24, 2012
Genres: Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 368
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley

Prepare for a hell of a ride as Cynthia Leitich Smith calls on characters from her previous novels - and conjures up new ones - for a climactic showdown.

When "slipped" angel Zachary and his werewolf pal, Kieren, arrive under suspicious circumstances to a mysterious New England boarding school, they quickly find themselves in a hellish lockdown with an intriguing assortment of secretive, hand-picked students. Plagued by demon dogs, hallucinatory wall d├ęcor, a sadistic instructor, and a legendary fire-breathing monster, will they somehow manage to escape? Or will the devil have his due? Best-selling author Cynthia Leitich Smith unites heroes from the previous three novels in the Tantalize Series - including Zachary's girl, Miranda, and Kieren's love, Quincie - along with a fascinating cast of all-new characters for a suspenseful, action-packed clash between the forces of heaven and hell.

Installment four in Cynthia Leitich Smith’s gothic series returns the reader to the format of book two, which, for those who haven’t read it, means that the story is told from multiple points of view. For the first time, Kieren gets to ‘speak,’ along with Miranda, Zachary and Quincie. Yes, that’s right. Miranda, my superfav (hint: this is sarcasm) is back.

The story is just as readable and fantastical as the previous ones. If you enjoyed them, I imagine you’ll like this one too, especially since you’ll actually get a happy ending. Unfortunately, the story is marred by numerous plot holes. Honestly, I think this would have been better had she ixnayed the happy ending.

So much of what happened here is not believable within the context of her own universe. For example, why is Miranda in heaven? This of course, I knew before, and was not entirely cool with, but mostly accepted. Now, though, she’s sitting in the Penultimate, a sort of purgatory for Heaven which I’ll talk about more later, surrounded by all of these people she killed. What really made me question Smith’s decision here was not so much the evidence that Quincie was a completely freaking awful person/eternal, but the fact that not one of her victims is really mad at her. In every case, she saved them from a terrible fate one way or another. Bull.

Along a similar vein, how does Harrison end up in Heaven? This seems like the equivalent of the belief that, no matter what you’ve done previously, if you’re killed after confessing your sins, you get heaven. Umm, why? The one plus of more Harrison in the book was finding out that he is super gay, which was kind of amusing.

The frame story, where they’re going into the school to save Lucy, also continually seemed fabricated. Lucy’s a plot point and that’s all there is to it. The parts that really didn’t make sense were at the end, which means I can’t be especially specific. I just want to state for the record that what happened to Kieren and Zachary at the end was completely absurd. Especially Zachary. In what way does that make sense? Argh!

Okay, I want to end my review with something more positive, so I’ll go back to the beginning of the book again. As I’ve already mentioned, Miranda’s chilling in the Penultimate, where she can watch over whoever she wants to via a device called the monitor-com until she’s ready to pass on to Heaven. (For those who are interested, this is very similar to a vision of the afterlife I wrote about in a short story. Funny that.) The setup is pretty cool, and I do love theories of life after death.

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