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Sunshine by Robin McKinley
Review by Antony Wagman
Bantam Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 0553815830
Date: October 1, 2004 List Price ?6.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

Sunshine is a likable and down to earth girl, with flour smudges on her pinafore ? who work in her stepfather?s coffee shop as head baker. So much is made throughout the novel of Sunshine?s culinary skills that inevitably the reader arrives at the point where they begin to salivate over the thought of her cinnamon rolls! This is not a book to read on an empty stomach! At the same time, this is no cookbook either.

Once all the appetizing niceties have been introduced to us, the meat of the book concerns Sunshine?s capture by a gang of Vampires run by one Bo. She is left chained up for the night and day along with another prisoner, the mysterious Con, a Vampire who happens to be Bo?s mortal (?) enemy. It?s a potentially nasty situation for the two detainees. Sunshine knows that Con?s nature is bound to get the better of him and Con knows that come sunrise ? he?s toast.

The results of their initial encounter aside, Sunshine follows Rae and Con?s quest to exterminate Bo and his nest ? and she is aided through her trails and tribulations by her understanding landlady (a Magicia!), several of the coffee shop?s customers (undercover cops) and a dear old lady from down the road (some sort of werebeast) ? all pretty normal stuff for Old Town. Sunshine learns that the Vampires are only several years away from controlling the entire world ? making her all the more determined to see to Bo!

In this strange combination of Buffy meets Beauty and the Beast, McKinley has created a powerful heroine ? who just wants to remain the girl next door. She kills Vampires (and nearly makes love to one), she is the scion of a major Magical family, she is brave, strong and loyal and above all ? she bakes a killer cinnamon roll! Sunshine is not one for the kids on two counts ? firstly because although vastly entertaining, this is very much a high-brow read and secondly due to the unexpected flurry of four letter words with explicit genital status reports, unnecessary and gratuitous in my opinion, but really the only reason to grumble that I could find with Sunshine.

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