Tantalize Series

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The Tantalize series features YA Gothic fantasy novels in both prose and graphic formats.

These stories, set in the Tantalize-Feral universe, are suspenseful with high action and include romantic elements as well as some humor.

New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Leitich Smith began working on first book, which had a working title of "Brad: The Impaler" in 2000.

The original concept behind the books is that the events in Bram Stoker's classic Dracula (1897) are loosely based on truth and the new stories take a look at how that legacy manifests in present day.

They're set in an international multi-monster verse, populated with vampires, a variety of shapeshifters, angels, ghosts, demons, faerie, and more.

The series is originally published in the U.S./Canada by Candlewick Press and in the U.K. by Walker. Various foreign editions also are available.  

The Feral trilogy is a spin-off of the Tantalize series. The books are set in the same universe and feature many overlapping characters and settings. The Tantalize heroes appear and/or are mentioned in Feral Pride, which caps all nine books.

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"Cynthia Leitich Smith is the Anne Rice for teen readers."
–The Bloomsbury Review

#1 Tantalize


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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. Who’s playing whom? And how long can Quincie play along before she loses everything?

Tantalize marks Cynthia Leitich Smith’s delicious debut as a preeminent author of dark fantasy.

Are you predator or prey?

"intoxicating romantic thriller"
–The Horn Book Magazine

"...will appeal to fans—both teens and adults—of Buffy the Vampire Slayer."
 –Book Page

Tantalize was named a YALSA Popular Paperback, New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age, Borders Original Voices Nominee in March 2007 and Chapters (Canadian bookstore chain) Junior Advisory Board Pick. It also was featured on the Texas Library Association’s Tayshas List. In addition, the novel was chosen for the 2007 Texas Book Festival and the 2007 National Book Festival.

#2 Eternal

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At last, Miranda is the life of the party: all she had to do was die.

Elevated and adopted by none other than the reigning King of the Mantle of Dracul, Miranda goes from high-school theater wannabe to glamorous royal fiend overnight.

Meanwhile, her reckless and adoring guardian angel, Zachary, demoted to human guise as the princess’s personal assistant, has his work cut out for him trying to save his girl’s soul and plan the Master’s fast-approaching Death Day gala.

In alternating points of view, Miranda and Zachary navigate a cut-throat eternal aristocracy as they play out a dangerous and darkly hilarious love story for the ages.

With diabolical wit, the author of Tantalize revisits a deliciously dark world.

“Miranda and Zachary are complex, sympathetic characters, and their hopeful ending is well earned.”

"The ending to the love story (because it does become one, though a twisted one)
is moving and hopeful in a way you don't expect."
–The Dallas Morning News

"The offer of redemption sets this tale apart from others that feed upon the current fascination
with vampires and the occult that possesses preteens and teens."
–The San Antonio Express

The novel debuted at #5 on the New York Times best-seller list, #13 on the Publishers Weekly best-seller list, and was a YALSA Teens Top Ten nominee.

#3 Blessed

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"You’ll try to fight it. But you’ll only be fighting your true self. It’s done. It’s destined. In time, you’ll come to accept it." He pulled back his sleeve to reveal two dress watches. "In time, you’ll come to me."

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?

With a wink and a nod to Bram Stoker, New York Times best-selling author Cynthia Leitich Smith unites the casts of Tantalize and Eternal in a delicious dark fantasy her fans will devour.

Blessed was a YALSA Teens Top Ten nominee.
"Off-handed humor, clever wordplay, and a host of supernatural beings
will delight fans of Smith's Tantalize and Eternal, the two novels that precede this one,
though Blessed can certainly be enjoyed as a stand-alone novel."
–School Library Journal

"Wild and ultimately fascinating…
"..the pages fairly smolder in describing their [Quincie and Kieren] attraction...." 
–Kirkus Reviews

“Quincie is a capable, independent and appealing heroine
who has matured considerably since her debut in Tantalize.
...Blessed raises expectations for a complex (and thrilling) conclusion.” 
–The Austin American-Statesman

#4 Diabolical (January 2012)

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When "slipped" angel Zachary and his werewolf pal, Kieren, are summoned 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 decor, 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.

Note: the book is told from the alternating points of view of Zachary, Kieren, and Miranda. Quincie is not a point of view character, but she is a main character in the story.

"It’s a considerable challenge for a series not to lose steam by the fourth book, 
but this one runs full force on the fires of hell 
and the sword power of heaven."
—The Horn Book

"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."
—Kirkus Reviews

See excerpt and media kit.

Graphic Novels

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#1 Tantalize: Kieren's Story, illustrated by Ming Doyle (Candlewick, 2011)

Tantaize as you've never seen it before —from a Wolf's-eye view!

As a hybrid werewolf, Kieren is destined to join an urban Wolf pack and learn to master his shift. Soon, he'll leave everything behind home, school, his family, and Quincie, his human best friend…who's beginning to be a whole lot more than a friend.

For years, Kieren has managed to keep his desires—and his Wolf—at bay. But when the chef at Quincie's family restaurant is brutally murdered, Kieren resolves to be there for her, even if it means being framed and even if it means watching Quincie's beloved restaurant morph into a vampire lair.

But when the new chef begins wooing Quincie, how long can Kieren control his claws? How long can he protect her—and himself?

In an elegant graphic edition featuring cinematic sequential art by debut artist Ming Doyle and a lush, romantic cover by Sam Weber, best-selling author Cynthia Leitich Smith re-envisions her delicious dark fantasy through Wolfish eyes.

"This format-and genre-blending story delivers on several counts 
as a vampire-werewolf adventure, a mystery, a romance with teeth and claws, 
an authentic look at diversity (both ethnic and species), and a darn good read."

"...a face-paced, twisty, enjoyable ride and 
compelling characters who develop as the story unfolds. 
Kieren's sidekicks, a were-armadillo and a were-possum,
provide some welcome perspective on the hero's obsession..."
—Publishers Weekly

"...both the art and the text come together 
in some touching moments, 
particularly between Kieren and his younger sister."
—School Library Journal

See more reviews, interviews and blog buzz and an interior art spread.

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#2 Eternal: Zachary's Story, illustrated by Ming Doyle (Candlewick, 2013)

Reckless guardian angel Zachary has an unusual assignment. He’s meant to save the soul of Miranda, high-school theater wannabe turned glamorous royal vampire.

Completely devoted to Miranda, Zachary takes his demotion to human form in stride, taking a job as the princess’s personal assistant.

Of course, this means he has to balance his soul-saving efforts with planning the Master’s fast-approaching Deathday gala.

Vivid illustrations by Ming Doyle elevate this darkly funny love story to a new dramatic level with bold black-and-white panels.

Cynthia Leitich Smith’s New York Times bestseller is reimagined as a graphic novel seen through the eyes of Zachary, teenage guardian angel.

Short Stories

Cynthia has published two short stories, set in the Tantalize-Feral series universe. Both feature new characters, and both are available for free download from U.S. and U.K. e-booksellers.

"Cat Calls" first appeared in Sideshow: Ten Original Tales of Freaks, Illusionists, and Other Matters Odd and Magical, edited by Deborah Noyes. It is now also available as a free e-book.

"Haunted Love" appears in in Immortal: Love Stories with Bite, edited by P.C. Cast (BenBella, 2008).

Cynthia also has written "Cupid's Beaux," for Things I'll Never Say: Stories of Our Secret Selves, edited by Ann Angel (Candlewick, 2015), which features Tantalize-Feral series characters Joshua and Quincie.

Walker Covers (U.K.)

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