Tantalize Series

The Tantalize series features YA Gothic fantasy novels in both prose and graphic formats. The stories are suspenseful with high action and include romantic elements as well as some humor.

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. Tantalize heroes reappear in Feral Pride.

Order children's-YA books by Cynthia Leitich Smith.

#1 Tantalize

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From the Tantalize launch party
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?
  • Top Ten Pick, Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) list of 2011 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults in the “What’s Cooking?” category (“tasty reads to fill your belly and warm your soul”) 
  • New York Public Library Book for the Teenage 
  • Borders Original Voices Nominee, March 2007 
  • Featured Title, National Book Festival 2007-2008 
  • Texas Library Association Tayshas List 
  • Chapters (Canada) Junior Advisory Board (JAB) Pick Featured Title
From the Tantalize launch party
“Cynthia Leitich Smith is the Anne Rice for teen readers. Smith has a vivid imagination, her intricate plot keeps readers guessing until the very end.” 
— The Bloomsbury Review  
 “Tantalize is a thinking reader’s horror novel and an entertaining, empowering ride.” 
— The International Reading Association’s Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy  
 “Quincie must make a terrifying choice in a heart pounding climax that will have teen readers weeping with both lust and sorrow.” 
— Kirkus Reviews  
 “Readers will be rewarded with an impeccably paced suspense story, a sexy romance, and a tough and witty heroine.” 
— The Bulletin of the Center of Children’s Books
CYN NOTE: In the interests of space, please click the titles below for reviews and resources.

#2 Eternal (The New York Times and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists)

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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.

#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.

#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.

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.

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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 short stories set in the Tantalize-Feral series universe.

"Cat Calls" appears in Sideshow: Ten Original Tales of Freaks, Illusionists, and Other Matters Odd and Magical, edited by Deborah Noyes (Candlewick, 2009). It is available as a free e-book.

"Haunted Love" appears in in Immortal: Love Stories with Bite, edited by P.C. Cast (BenBella, 2008). It is also available as a free e-book.

"Cupid's Beaux" appears in Things I'll Never Say: Stories of Our Secret Selves, edited by Ann Angel (Candlewick, 2015).

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