Mild-mannered vampire fantasy from Britisher McKinley, author of whimsical, rather talky rewrites of classic fairytales for young adults.
The lurid copy and cover art of this American edition of McKinley’s first for grownups (inaccurately described as “A Mesmerizing Novel of Supernatural Desire”) are wildly at odds with the story itself: Sunshine, a cheerful chatterbox with a touch of magic in her soul, is very much at home in a near-future that’s as cozy as can be, though inhabited by various Other Folk, including werewolves, Supergreens (ecology-minded supernatural beings of ordinary mien), assorted demons, sprites, and fallen angels. It’s considered pretty cool to be a fallen angel, but the global council has decreed that Weres must take drugs to control their more beastly behavior, and being a vampire is technically illegal. Yet, after the Voodoo Wars, they all seem to get along well enough. Sunshine makes cinnamon buns for Charlie’s Coffeehouse, and her mother (married to Charlie after a difficult divorce from Sunshine’s dad) handles the administrative side of things. (Yes, Mum is Mom, and they serve coffee, not tea, but most of the details are recognizably British.) Sunshine is both intrigued and repelled by vampires, so when one abducts her and chains her up in a spooky mansion, she doesn’t know what to think. But her vampire, Con, seems not too terribly bloodthirsty and even genuinely interested in a Creature of the Daylight, so Sunshine explains the coffeehouse routine once more, then tells him a fairytale, and, lo and behold, by morning she’s escaped her shackles and lived to tell the story—several times (though McKinley has a light touch, everything seems to get repeated, to all and sundry). Will this mortal but magical girl betray the vampire she’s befriended to government agents?
An intriguing mix of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Harry Potter–ish characterization. Mostly for teenagers who don’t trip over words like “eschatology,” and maybe some older fantasy devotees as well.