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