Blurb:

“Her feet are already bleeding – if you like feet…”

There are places in the world where darkness rules, where it’s unwise to walk. Sunshine knew that. But there hadn’t been any trouble out at the lake for years, and she needed a place to be alone for a while.

Unfortunately, she wasn’t alone. She never heard them coming. Of course you don’t, when they’re vampires.

They took her clothes and sneakers. They dressed her in a long red gown. And they shackled her to the wall of an abandoned mansion – within easy reach of a figure stirring in the moonlight.

She knows that he is a vampire. She knows that she’s to be his dinner, and that when he is finished with her, she will be dead. Yet, as dawn breaks, she finds that he has not attempted to harm her. And now it is he who needs her to help him survive the day…

Quote:

“What was new was the fact that, despite my heart doing its fight-or-flight, help-we’re-prey-and-HEY-STUPID-THAT’S-A-VAMPIRE number, I was glad to see him. Ridiculous but true. Scary but true.”

Review:

Um. Sunshine is awesome. And every one of my so-called friends should have beat me silly with this book until I read it years ago. Jerks. I just don’t understand how I missed this for so long. I’m so mad.

Sunshine starts off with a woman

Sunshine – human and baker of the best cinnamon rolls. Very human. But with magic powers, super powerful magic powers, though she half forgot she had them. She has to take time to remember she even had them, time that she probably shouldn’t have needed to take since her life was in danger. And really this book is about Sunshine’s discovery of herself in the world of the supernaturals as much as it is about what happens to her.

And also vampires. The book starts with Sunshine being kidnapped by vampires. Who aren’t really known for doing anything but killing whoever is unlucky enough to be captured by them in the most vicious ways possible. And being able to have everlasting erections. They’re evil, pure evil. And she has been kidnapped by them and chained in a room with another vampire who is trying not to kill her because that would mean he gives in to the vampires who have captured and chained him up, as well.

And this vampire, Constantine, is the most human vampire. He changes through this ordeal and through his exposure to Sunshine, though I think he has always been a bit odd. He and Sunshine help each other escape. And then they are intrinsically tied together based on their experience and his debt to her for saving his life. And he is awesome and I love him and his weirdo self.

The world is…dark. I described this book to my friend as Fallout meets vampires. The world is just not in a good place. There were some wars, the Voodoo Wars, mostly due some witches fighting, destroying the land in such a way people still can’t live on it, and a lot of people died. The landscape has been changed by this war, with places where no one can or will go to due to the nature of the area being changed. Magically changed. Then there is the evil that exists and everyone just lives with. Especially the vampires – they’re #1 on the hit list. Because they kidnap people and kill them heinously. Like they were planning on doing with Sunshine. Too bad Constantine is stronger than that, suckers!

However this entire book isn’t just Sunshine and Constantine escaping from kidnapping. That’s just the first part of the book. Sunshine has been changed by this too. She goes back to being a baker, just with a bit of PTSD in the mix. Her family and the town treats her as if she is fragile and she just wants everything to go back to the way it was before. Only it can’t go back. And she can’t tell anyone what happened because she’ll end up incarcerated for helping a vampire. Or worse.

And then there is the anti-monster search and kill unit whose name I forgot and can’t look up because I listened to this on audio (it was a good audiobook, by the way). They’re sniffing around Sunshine because they know who her father is (and they don’t like him and his family), and her story about what happened when she disappeared for a few days doesn’t add up.  And she refuses to tell anyone the real story. This group are zealots against anything nonhuman. And Sunshine has very good reason to fear them. Yet they might not all be as they appear at first.

I thought at first that this might be slice-of-life urban fantasy. At first, it was Sunshine talking about being a baker and escaping out of a terrible situation. Yet it didn’t stay slice-of-life. Sunshine is too powerful. The anti-monster unit plays too much of a part in the later part of the book. Things are just too much. Which is a bit disappointing but overall not a deal breaker for me.

This entire book is just so good. I love the story, I love the characters. The only thing I didn’t really care for was the writing itself. There was a marked tendency to go off on a tangent with a giant infodump that would go on for long enough I sometimes forgot where it started. However everything else made that not matter. I loved this book. And now I can only despair because there is only one book and I have now finished it.

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