Allison's Reviews > Sunshine

Sunshine by Robin McKinley
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's review
Nov 30, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: fantasy, strong-female-lead, adult, vampires, undying-love

First off, let me say that I didn't really realize this was a "vampire" book when I picked it up. I mean, I know I read the description at one point a while back, and I must have seen vampire at that point. But all I really knew was that I liked The Blue Sword, and Neil Gaiman's review for Sunshine calls it "almost perfect" (or something like that, I can't remember the exact quote). So I thought: Why not?! So I'm NOT one of those vampire-happy tweenie boppers.

..... Nevertheless, I do enjoy a good vampire story.....

And I really enjoyed this one! The good thing about Sunshine the novel is that it's a good, fast-paced, interesting story with both strong fantasy and realistic threads running through it. The best thing about Sunshine the novel is that it's about Sunshine the character.

Now, I can see how Sunshine, or Rae as she's also known as, might conceivably get on some readers' nerves. She's a pretty strong personality. But I liked her the minute I started reading. She's so honest and fiesty and quirky. And she's human in a realistically human way. In other words, she has her weaknesses and at moments doesn't think she's up to the task of saving the world. However, she is NOT "clumsy" or otherwise damsal-in-distress-y weak. THANK GOODNESS. And she's torn about her new "powers" when she discovers them - or rather, is forced to use them. She wants to be normal: ie. a messy, somewhat-bitchy, high school drop out, pastry chef at the local coffee shop. Oh, also, she has one very honest, very open confession on her feelings about sex. Probably why this book isn't shelved in the YA section. But I have to say, I was extremely RELEAVED to read that section.

And, yes, there is a male vampire character whom she teams up with to save....well, not the world, more like each other. BUT he does not sparkle and he is not swooningly handsom. Rather, he is a vampire. He is completely and supremely other. And that freaks Sunshine out. A lot. Moreover, his skin is a kind of mushroom color. And while his eyes are deep green and bewitching, that's more because of his freaky vampire glamour than his natural good looks. While there are one or two steamy moments, they're short and they serve a purpose. Because above all, this book is about differances and alliances and loyalties. It's about what makes me human and you monster. The relationship - well, a better word would be "hesitant partnership" or "reluctant friendship" - between Sunshine and Con expresses their ability to accept the other as a being that deserves respect, even friendship, more than it is about desire - unrequited or otherwise.

So, all in all a very good story. I wanted a sequal, but I don't think one exists yet and I don't know if there is going to be one.
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Reading Progress

01/04/2010 page 364
89.88% "I'm starting to love McKinley. This book and the heroine is so very different from The Blue Sword, and I love when an author can do that."

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