So angel books are turning into the Big New Thing in YA – when will patupaiarehe and taniwha books be the big new thing, that’s what I want to know – and I read one of the forerunners yesterday, Cynthia Leitich Smith’s Eternal, which is about a fallen guardian angel and the girl he was supposed to be guarding who becomes… a VAMPIRE.

Oh my lord I loved it. I am about to spoil the heck out of this book, so if you absolutely cannot stand knowing anything about a book turn away, and if you want to be spoiled a little bit but don’t want to know the end, I will white that out so you can risk it.

Okay, so pervy guardian angel Zachary is invisibly guarding Miranda Shen McAllister – hi, protag of colour! – who both narrate the book through alternate first person, and when I say pervy, I mean he starts the book by talking about how he’s always watched her dress, undress, shower and bathe. IT IS HIS JOB, OKAY.

Not his self-appointed Edward-esque job. Appointed by the big guys Upstairs. Apparently every human has a guardian angel (regardless of their particular religious faith or lack thereof, which creeps me out, but that’s probably my hangup) and presumably they all totally watch bathtime.

Anyway! He sees her come under the shadow of death! The next night, she visits a graveyard with her best friend, and is just about to topple into an open grave and break her neck when he breaks the rules and reveals himself to her in all his angelic radiance. She starts backwards, doesn’t fall into the pit, and then, oh my god, it’s so great, as she runs towards the sound of her best friend’s scream, she is attacked by a master vampire.

Then the archangel Michael turns up.

ZACHARY: Oh dude.
ZACHARY: I am SO sorry! At least I saved the best friend?
MICHAEL: I am taking your wings! And your powers! YOU ARE ON PROBATION, YOUNG MAN.

Zachary spends the next two months on a huge sex and food bender. Miranda spends them on learning how to be a vampire princess and eating lots of people. I highly approve of this. Get your bad self on, kids!

Eventually they hook up again when Zachary applies to be Miranda’s personal assistant, and then a thing happens that I usually dislike, which is where the dude is rude and snarky to the girl, and she would normally object, but he is just so good looking that she doesn’t want to in case he doesn’t like her. But in THIS case, he is rude and snarky about the fact that she KILLS PEOPLE AND DRINKS THEIR BLOOD, which is totally awesome. Also, there are delightful teen misunderstandings, that go a bit like this:

Miranda: *kills vampire dude for planning to kill a human girl outside the approved targets*
ZACHARY: She killed him because he was going to kill a human girl! THAT’S SO NOBLE.
ME: Ahahahahahaha beautiful.

Anyway, they join forces, save some helpless humans and face off Miranda’s vampire father, who is a very Bad Dad. I am now about to totally spoil the ending.

ZACHARY: My powers are back! But it’s all my fault you got vamped! If I hadn’t scared you-
Miranda: He would have vamped my best friend instead. I LOVE my best friend. THANK YOU SO MUCH.
ZACHARY: Wow, you are so noble! Hey, so I think you can overcome your vampire nature and we can be together forever, what do you say?
Miranda: AHAHAHAHAHA no, dark hunger still rages within me. I need you to kill me with your angel radiance before I snap and kill again.
Miranda: I WAS going to plunge into this pool of holy water, but some idiot drained it.
ZACHARY: … But you might go to HELL.
Miranda: Yeah, but come on, don’t I sort of deserve to? Three month killing spree, yo! Get your glow on.

Break for your eyes!

Okay, more spoiling: It turns out that in making that choice Miranda a) redeemed her soul b) proved that vampires can be saved and c) is now in heaven. Zach can join her once he saves all the vampires that CAN be redeemed and then they will be totally cute together for all eternity.

And it was my favourite book about a pervy guardian angel trying to save his vampire girlfriend’s soul and then she totally saved it her own self I ever did read, THE END.

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