Jove, 2004 (2003)
Read an Excerpt
Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
obin McKinley has long been on my
fantasy list for her unique re-tellings of stories like
Beauty and the Beast
The Outlaws of Sherwood
). I especially like her
The Blue Sword
The Hero and the Crown
- and wish for more of them! McKinley typically gives us heroines who doubt their own abilities and self worth, but grow in understanding and confidence through the story. There's usually a subtle romance in there too.
he gives us the same sort of decent and sensible heroine in
, but has branched out in fantasy world and storyline. The result has the feel of a cross between
Buffy The Vampire Slayer
and Fannie Flagg's
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café
, with maybe a tinge of Anne McCaffrey's
and Terry Brooks'
Knight of the Word
. It's a world in which humans live alongside, and are steadily (since the Voodoo Wars) losing ground to, '
'. These monsters range from fallen angels, sprites, demons and '
' to the '
', that is vampires (commonly called '
Seddons' life centers on Charlie's Coffeehouse, her co-workers there (who include her stepfather Charlie, her mother, and her ex-biker boyfriend Mel) and restaurant regulars. Sunshine gets up most mornings at 4 a.m. to bake cinnamon rolls and other goodies (which all sound delicious!) Of her mother she says '
If my mom is the lightning bolt, I'm the tallest tree on the plain.
' One day, Sunshine heads to her mysterious father's cabin at the lake. She's captured by vampires, and shackled beside one of their fellows, Constantine, who is also a captive - staked out by his '
' enemy to tempt him to break his principles.
fter days of fear and suffering, Sunshine remembers her grandmother's teaching, and manages to invoke her own undeveloped talents. Compassion prompts her to help her fellow prisoner, who ends up saving her. A bond develops between them, one she must keep secret from her friends, especially the SOF ('
Special Other Forces
') gang who eat at Charlie's. As Sunshine develops her own talents she fears that she has a
which might take over. She also discovers that her abilities are badly needed to save the world, starting with the immediate threat of Constantine's enemy Bo.
long the way to the major showdown (which she doesn't expect to survive), Sunshine collects a few important talismans, and additional unlikely supporters. She goes to battle warded in '
', with a vampire at her side.
is a dark and mesmerizing fantasy, grounded in community and caring - and I hunger for a sequel!
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