Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sunshine by Robin McKinley

Sunshine by Robin McKinley


My first try at doing my own summary:

Rae Siddon is a young woman, about 19 or 20, who happily works as a baker in her step-father's coffeehouse. She lives a very mundane, ordinary life and aspires to no more. One night, she goes to her family's lake cabin and is kidnapped by a group of malicious vampires. Instead of being drained, she is locked up in a mansion with another vampire, who is also being held captive. A very unusual situation. By even more unusual circumstances, Rae and the vampire escape their captors together. This sets off an unprecedented partnership. Rae and Con (the vampire) have a mutual enemy and can only defeat him by working together. 


I picked up Sunshine, because Nancy Pearl said it was the best vampire romance out there for young adults. I don't know that I agree with that - it wasn't a normal romance novel and it also was more of an adult novel. But that being said, I really enjoyed Sunshine for what is was - an edgy, fun urban paranormal.

In the fantasty world of Sunshine, vampires are an accepted part of reality. So are werewolves, sorcerers, magic-handlers, demons, ghouls, trolls, and even were-pigeons. Collectively, they are known as "Others." Many humans are actually part-bloods. Apart from this, Rae lives in a normal small town, in a world that very much resembles reality. I love books that twist reality in just a tiny way - bending the normal world, with its culture and history, to include supernatural creatures - specifically where the twist is just slight enough that you could almost believe it's real. Sunshine felt very real, even though it was full of supernatural creatures, wars (the Voodoo Wars), police forces (SOF - Special Other Forces).

Sunshine was a fasincating tale, keeping you interested as Rae got herself into one situation after another, whether the enemy was a vampire or SOF. I loved seeing how the relationship between Con and Rae developed, although, as I said, it was never a conventional romance. There was still a tension, a sensuality that made the book a lot of fun to read. The book did drag a bit at times, but something interesting would always happen before I grew too bored.

My only real complaint is that McKinley is a horrible, chronic user of run-on sentences. There's nothing inherently wrong with a run-on sentence if it's done well, but this was ridiculous. Some sentences were as much as ten lines long! I had to read several of them numerous times before I understood what they said. Without commas, it was hard to tell where the natural pauses belonged in sentences (the commas weren't gramatically necessary, but the length of the sentences just made them hard to follow).

Although I don't think Sunshine is the best paranormal romance or really even a young adult book, I do think it's a fun romancey-ish novel that is appropriate for older teens.

What Robin McKinley book should I read next?

This was my first Robin McKinley book and despite our grammatical differences, I'd love to read more. It looks like her other books are of the high fantasy genre rather than urban paranormal. I'm disappointed that she hasn't written any more in the latter genre and that she doesn't plan a sequel to Sunshine. What is your favorite Robin McKinley book - which of her YA fantasies should I try next?

Rating: 4 / 5


  1. I find that her sentences can be rather long, too, and occasionally confusing. Sunshine does sound like an interesting book, though. Great review!

    I enjoyed reading Chalice, another of her books, and I would recommend it.

  2. I was underwhelmed by Sunshine when I read it a few years ago. I never really got the attraction Rae felt for Con, and there were lots of confusing, run-on sentences. I'd read McKinley before, but haven't read her since.

  3. I haven't heard of this one. How haven't I heard of a vampire YA - crazy! I thought you did a lovely job on your summary, I sometimes have a harder time writing those than the reviews themselves! I can definitely see how run on sentences would make things difficult at times and would detract from the story because you're trying to decipher them. Really nice review Alison:)

  4. I had a really hard time getting into this book. I think I got as far as pg. 50 and with the annoyance of the run-on sentences, I dropped it. I couldn't relate to any of the characters and therefore really didn't care how things happened. Glad you enjoyed it though.

  5. I have to say that I really couldn't see the romance between Con and Sunshine either. They just weren't really that great together in my opinion. I did enjoy the book for the most part too though! I loved the SOF agents, they were my favorites!

  6. I haven't read this one yet, but have been meaning to for some time. For sure, pick up The Blue Sword, which is my favorite McKinley. Love it!

  7. Oh no. I have a hard time with run-on sentences too. :(

  8. What about the baking though? I wanted to be a baker and went through a baking phase after this. It made me hungry reading about it!

    I loved this book, but it did get confusing at some points. I loved the rest of it so much, though, that I forgave her haha.

  9. I'm looking for a book to pick up next, but it isn't going to be Sunshine :D
    Thanks for the search is on!

  10. Just stopping by from the Hop. I really liked Sunshine, back when it first came out, and had hoped McKinley was going to write a sequel some day. The only other McKinley I've read is the old stuff, The Hero and the Crown and The Blue Sword.


I love comments. I appreciate every one! Thank you in advance.

This blog is now an award free zone. I just don't have time to pass on the awards as they deserve.