Tantalize by Cynthia Leitich Smith

Tantalize, Leitich SmithCandlewick Press, 2007
ISBN-13: 978-0763627911
Ages 14+

Quincie Morris, whose dead parents left her and her Uncle Davidson in charge of the family restaurant, is in love with her best friend Kieren, who happens to be a hybrid werewolf in a world where shifters and vampires exist and are frequently discriminated against.  When the chef at Quincie’s restaurant is brutally murdered, in werewolf fashion, Kieren becomes the subject of much scrutiny.  Quincie no longer knows what to think, and she begins seeking support from the new chef, and from a wine of a very rich, red color.

This book suffers from a very linear, straight-shot plot — it takes the reader through step-by-step without provoking much thought or giving much background on the world we have entered.  Some people prefer this type of writing; I do not.  I found it predictable and a bit tedious in places, but what really keeps this book afloat is the engaging and clever inclusion of “food-talk” (for lack of a better term).  The Italian restaurant owned by Quincie’s family is trying out a new vampire theme, and the creative recipes will in turn repulse you and make your mouth water.  Also unique was the division of the book into parts mimicking the courses of an Italian meal:  antipasto; primo; secondo; dolce; and conforno.

In conclusion, this book is what I would call a “fluff read” — there’s nothing terribly complex about it, but there are some original elements that one might call ‘delicious’.  A recommendation for this one is up in the air.  If it sounds like something you would enjoy, you probably will.  If not, you can pass it up without fear of missing much.

3/5 stars

— Reviewer Anonymous

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