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Crescent Blues Book ViewsBerkley (Hardcover), ISBN 0425191788

Rae Seddon, nicknamed "Sunshine," earns a living baking cinnamon buns in her stepfather's coffeehouse. The Voodoo Wars -- fought between humans and vampires -- scarred the land years before. But these terrors seem very remote from Sunshine's flour-and-spices life…until the night a gang of vampires led by the vicious master-vampire Bo takes her captive.

Book: robin mcklinley, sunshine
Forced into a dress as red as blood and chained to the wall in the dining room of an abandoned house, Sunshine understands she is the main course for dinner. It takes longer for her to realize that not only is the vampire left in the room with her as much a captive as she, but he doesn't want to eat her. Instead Constantine would sooner succumb to the madness brought on by the light of day than concede the victory to Bo by taking human blood.

So begins a rather dubious friendship between a human and a vampire. But Sunshine and Constantine must learn to trust each other if they want, first, to escape the abandoned house and, second, to destroy Bo.

Sunshine offers a change of pace for Robin McKinley, best known for retellings of fairy tales and fantasy of the sword and heroine variety. Instead McKinley shapes a more adult world of vampires, half-blood demons, and a special police force established to control these wilder elements of society.

The exposition used to explain the workings of this world becomes tedious at times and the conclusion stretches overly long, as if McKinley couldn't bring herself to leave this new setting of hers. Still, I understand her reluctance. Sunshine endears herself as another remarkable and memorable McKinley heroine, and the carefully interwoven plot leaves the reader hoping for an ending that just can't be. Those both new to and familiar with McKinley's work will find the resulting novel an entertaining read.

Kathryn Yelinek

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