Kathy's Reviews > Sunshine

Sunshine by Robin McKinley
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Jan 24, 11

bookshelves: fantasy, fantasy-other-world, mystery, thriller, wizard-witch, vampire
Read from January 22 to 24, 2011

Sunshine - she has many facets. Her father, and her father's family, are great sorcerers... but she has been cut off from them since her parent's divorce & the Voodoo Wars, and she assumes they are all dead as no one has contacted her... Her mother divorced her father (it seemed to be mostly because of his associates) when she was 7 years old... and created a normal life for her separate from the magic... her mother worked for than married Charlie, the local restaurantuer - in a very interesting neighborhood... and when Sunshine grew up, Charlie built her a bakery - and she happily made cinamon rolls & many other sweets .. she and Charlie shared an affinity for wanting to feed people (one side of her)...

and her grandmother spent time with her until she was 10 - and started to teach her a little bit of the magic she held inside - teaching her to transmute, to change one thing into another... and when Sunshine was kidnapped, she drew on her power to change her pocket knife into a key to unlock the shackles - and she felt her power inside as a tree reaching for the sunshine (another side of her)...

and she loved the sunshine - when deprived of sunshine as a child, living in a basement, she was sick... and only made well when they moved upstairs, and she would lie by the windows soaking up sunshine - something she still did whenever she could - sitting/laying in the sunshine - to relax & to reenergize herself... (another side of her)...

and she has a counter affinity to one specific vampire - Constantine - her fellow prisoner... and somehow, by her affinity she can protect him from the sun rays, and he is bound to her... and when he takes in the blood of a doe, and uses its pure blood to heal the blood poisoning done by another vampire, they are further tied together - to the point where she can see in the dark, and during the day she can see into the shadows... (another side of her)...

and she fears the dark side of her - one of power/demonic/magical/ vampiric and the story is just as much coming to terms with this as it is the framework of the story... it is suggested that her mother did well to raise her without training, because with training she might have put her own limits on what she could do, instead of simply doing...

So... we get a glimpse of her normal life - getting up at 4am, making cinamon rolls & creating other supreme goodies; about the restuarant, where they feed; about the neighborhood, strained before the wars, and even more so after the wars, but their food attracts so many; about a mother with whom she always disagrees with, but who keeps leaving her protection charms because she fears for her; about Charlie who acts as the buffer between her and mom, and who encourages her abilities; about her 2 normal, younger brothers who are acting as natural teens; about a boyfriend, Mel, with his mysterious tattoo charms, his accepting ways, his motorcycle buddies, and as their head cook... and one evening she is restless, tired, headachy, and without really planning to, she drives herself to the lake, where no one has lived since the wars, where she used to live with her mother and father, and where she used to meet her grandmother... and when evening falls, vampires take her...

The vampires in this book are basically not human, and for the most part anti human. Beauregard (Bo) is the master vampire of the gang who kidnapped her... we don't actually meet him until the end, but because of how he lived his 1000 years, taking and torturing his food from humans, he has no humanity left, no real body left (just ooze), and limited access to the world... and Constantine is his enemy - who explains that he was made differently than Bo, and lived differently than Bo (though he doesn't say how he takes sustinance, we know that he does not torture his food - does he drain humans? but nicely?, does he only take enough blood from humans to live, but leaves them alive? does he not take human blood at all, only animal blood? we don't know.)

And Bo has imprisoned Con for 2 weeks, shackling him with iron & wards to hold him prisoner, exposing him to daylight, where only shadows keep him from burning alive... Bo has Sunshine kidnapped and dressed in a gown and shackled next Con, with the intention of her being his food because he cannot stop himself (which suggests that con does not take human blood?).

And the author shows how different vampires are - graceful, speedy, voices different, no heartbeat, still...

there is a touching scene the first night, where Sunshine starts to cry, and Con wants to offer reassurance - and he captures her tears, and asks her permission to drink them - and somehow the tears offer him a small respite... during their 1st day time together, she shares her water, and talks to him at his request, as noon is his hardest time, and her speaking reminds him that she is a rational being... and she moves from window to window soaking up the sunshine, and recharging her energy, and the 2nd night, the vampire gang comes, and one cuts her chest - added enticement of the smell of blood for Con... and that night Sunshine dreams of her grandmother, and the changing of things... and the changing of her pocketknife to a key...

In the morning, she changes the knife into a key, and unlocks herself... and she unlocks Con (feeling she cannot leave a fellow prisoner)... and she wants him to leave with her, but the sun is a problem... and she touches him as she pulls on power (feeling like inside her is a tree unfurling its leaves), and she is able to put an 'umbrella of protection' to protect Con, as long as they are touching... and Con carries her around the lake (30 miles) as she has no shoes, and he can move more quickly, even in his reduce state... and then Con carries her home, caring for her in her exhaustion, feeding her milk & muffins... but he leaves her at daylight...

And for 2 months she tells everyone she does not remember what happened, and tries to convince herself that she does not remember -she cannot reconcile her strange friendship with a vampire, nor the terror of the other vampires... her family & friends are worried for her - the SOP (Other police) want to know what happened, and guess that she had a run in with vampires, and want to know how she escaped... and the cut on her chest will not heal - it keeps oozing... Mel is the only one who knows of the cut, and he keeps sending her back to the doctor...

and then one night she hears the giggling of one of the vampires who had kidnapped her, and by instinct, with little thought, she grabs a table knife (which by all rules should not be effective - it is not wood) and rushes to him, perfectly staking him in the heart, under the breast bone, and the vampire explodes around her... she is screaming and throwing up, and finally becomes aware of one of the SOP agents (who comes in regularly to the restaurant) is softly talking with her, reassuring her that she is ok, and takes her to his headquarters, where she showers and they talk... and she learns that many of the SOP are partblood Others as is she, (one hold his breath, until he literally turns blue, and gains another eye & additional fingers)... and she starts to trust them, and to agree to help them, though she still will not tell them much...

and she is always tired, having nightly nightmares, and she's scared - both of what happened, but also that the vampire must have been looking for her... and she stands on her balcony, and quietly calls for Con... and though she sleeps through it, she sleeps peacefully because Con comes... and he comes again the next night... and tells her that they are bound together, and that they need each other to have a chance of defeating Bo... and he returns to heal her cut (having consumed the blood of a doe to then 'bath' her in - cutting himself, etc)...

and she learns a little of their alternate plain - she enters it a couple of different ways... and when she doesn't hear from him, and is sure he is in trouble, she crosses the plain into his 'home', and awakens him - and they almost have sex, but he stops...

and then he comes for her, and as they stride through this plain, first he and then she joins him in killing the vampires in Bo's gang, and then they get to Bo, who tries mind games on her, but fails, and then she defeats Bo - and his body 'explodes' along with his dwelling...

and she and Con (who makes himself look human) are taken in by the SOP, and she continues to protect Con... and he goes home with her, and they care for one another... and she wakes up, knowing their friendship and bond will continue, and that she is good...
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