Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Darkness and Sunshine Meet

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...

Title: Sunshine
Author: Robin McKinley
Start & Finished: 10/27/08- 11/2/08
Published: 2003
Publisher: Jove (Berkley Publishing)
Pages: 405 (paperback)
Genre: Paranormal

Robin McKinley’s fantasy novels have won many awards such as a Newbery, a Newbery Honor, and many more including the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature in 2004 for her novel Sunshine published the previous year. McKinley is mainly a writer of fairy tale retellings such as Beauty and the Beast (Beauty and Rose Daughter), Sleeping Beauty (Spindle's End), etc. Sunshine was her first and so far, only vampire story.

A girl is kidnapped and chained in a room with a vampire… but he refuses to make her his dinner was all I had to read in order to make me interested in this book. Unfortunately, I never took into consideration the fact that the author would want to present a different take on what is generally the vampires in fiction today. McKinley’s vampires aren’t beautiful (they’re actually somewhat icky) and all but Constantine are evil. Since the entire novel is told only from Sunshine’s viewpoint, you never learn exactly why he is different or hardly anything else about him for that matter.

My real problem however was I couldn’t figure out the setting. Sometimes I thought it could be set in the future or maybe in an alternate world but I never was sure which one and it was never clear as to how their world came to be that way. That doesn’t mean that the author doesn’t stop and explain certain things sometimes (like what blinks are but not why or how they exist), it’s just I was left feeling kind of confused even after I had finished. Like I was getting the cinnamon bun without the icing; yummy, but not as yummy as it could be.

If I gave ratings (which I don’t, I find them a hassle), Sunshine would probably rate somewhere around a 3.5/5 since I really did like it, I just had a few issues with it. Ms. McKinley claims that she doesn’t plan to write any sequels to Sunshine but since there are so many loose ends, I hope she changes her mind one day.

Links: Author Blog, Sunshine (Wikipedia), Author Info (Wikipedia), Fan Art

Picture Explanations
Cinnamon Rolls: Sunshine is the baker at her family’s cafĂ©
Sunlit woods: Sunshine uses the light to recharge herself and to do magic which is how she escapes the lake house.
Charms: Sunshine’s mother is a great believer in protection charms


  1. Sunshine is a personal favourite of mine (well actually pretty much everything McKinley writes is) but I really like her take. I don't think we are meant to grasp the world. True to her fairy tale roots I think she is telling this story in a mode like a dark Grimms Fairy tale.

  2. this does sound interesting, but if the setting isnt well written, I get lost and wont be able to enjoy the book.
    I just watched a film with 'icky' vamps...30 Days of Night. It was pretty good.

  3. I think I've only read one of her books, can't remember the title though and I had wanted to get this book some time back, but just didn't as I read mixed reviews about it. I'm still thinking about getting it though...

  4. I believe that I have this one on my TBR list. I still might have to check this one out :)

  5. Hmmm. I hadn't heard of this one. Of course up until someone sent me a copy of another McKinley book (The Hero and the Crown) I didn't know about her either.

    I'm going to have to check it out. even the cover looks pleasing to me!

  6. I've seen very mixed reviews of this book, but I think I want to read it at some point. I've enjoyed everything I've read by McKinley so far, and plus I'm a sucker for original vampire stories!

  7. SciFiGuy: That does make sense. I'm probably just spoiled when it comes to vampires and I've gotten used to the ones that are so popular lately.

    Naida: Oh the setting was very well-written, I just couldn't figure out where it was supposed to be!

    Melody: I really hope you like it if you do! I think I may have read her book Beauty when I was in middle school but I could be mistaken.

    Samatha: I hope you like it! Sunshine is a very good story and I enjoyed it a lot. I just had some problems with it.

    Cat: You'd probably like this one a lot. I haven't decided whether or not to pick up any of her others but I do have an idea of which one I'd like to read (or it could be re-read) if I do.

    Nymeth: I have a feeling you'd enjoy this one!

  8. I enjoyed this one very much. Although all the baking talk made me so hungry while I was reading it! I imagined the setting as a sort of post-apocalyptic version of our world, in the future, but not a very distant future.

  9. I have had this book since it pretty much came out and still haven't read it! I am such a slacker!

  10. I am actually just about to start this one. I have only read Bauty so far which I really enjoyed. I like the blurb inside the book that says it blends fairy tale elements with vampires and am looking forward to reading how it all comes together. I will bear your comments in mind when reading it, thanks for the warning.



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