Read Sunshine by Robin McKinley Online


There are places in the world where darkness rules, where it's unwise to walk. But there hadn't been any trouble out at the lake for years, and Sunshine just needed a spot where she could be alone with her thoughts. Vampires never entered her mind.Until they found her......

Title : Sunshine
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780515138818
Format Type : Mass Market Paperback
Number of Pages : 405 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Sunshine Reviews

  • Kat Kennedy
    2019-03-29 20:34

    Okay, so I seriously pondered over whether to give this book three stars or four. In the end, I DID enjoy it so I felt generous and gave it four, but it's not without its faults.Once, when I was a little kid, my parents bought me my favourite ice cream. There's actually only one kind of ice cream that I actually like and that's mint choc chip. Only they bought this MASSIVE bowl of it with a banana in it and extra chocolate sauce. I can only guess that they'd finally decided to slowly kill me via diabetes, cholesterol and blood-pressure, and be rid of my annoying, argumentative, five-year-old ways. I can promise that it almost worked and they were almost home free except they'd miscalculated one thing - my short attention span. Sure the ice cream was delicious and kept me entertained but there was just so much of it and the mint ice cream was just a little too much in ratio to the choc chip that I like and even the chocolate sauce couldn't entirely keep my concentration.Well, Sunshine is a bit like that. It's good. It's really good. It's a vampire novel so it's pretty much RIGHT up my alley too and so by definition I should have really enjoyed this book.There was really just the problem that there was too much useless narrative in ratio to the action and suspense. Sunshine would start babbling about some inane facet of life that had NOTHING to do with the story and doesn't really add anything to it. Now, if this was world building for a future novel I could have forgiven it, but I have heard, rather mournfully, that there will be no more to this series and that makes me very annoyed. Like when I lost interest in my mint choc chip ice cream at one interval and my evil parents had it whisked away by an annoyed waitress (I'll have my revenge one day!)So whilst I enjoyed much of the book, I found myself falling asleep a lot because it would launch into these long stories like my 80 year old grandma does when you ask her how her day was. Don't even get me started on how UNRESOLVED the end was. There were things I REALLY wanted to know. There were certain sexy scenes I REALLY wanted to read and there was information and intrigue that was left dangling! It's infuriating!One good praise I would like to make for Sunshine is the reversal in a genre of a practice that baffles me. I've complained before that often in YA books, swearing and sex between the main characters doesn't really happen.Yet rape and violence is often described and occurs, sometimes rather graphically.Well, in this book the main character has sex with her long time boyfriend and it's a sweet nonevent - these positive and healthy examples of sex are good! Can we have more caring and loving and healthy relationships displayed for our youth like this, please? There is one particular swearword I wished the book hadn't used (it starts with C and rhymes with bunt... figure it out.)I really hate that word. But the two mentions of dick are cool with me - except Robin Cockblocking McKinley is a cockblocking temptress of doom and if you have read this book then you'll know why I say this! Can someone explain to me why she is not continuing with Sunshine and Con? Please? Why? Why build all this world and have all this and cockblock us (Yes! That's exactly what you did!) only to leave us hanging? It's just rude. At this point I really wouldn't mind what would end out to be the literary equivalent of a pityfuck just to satisfy me and tie up all the freakin' loose ends!Finally, I say I enjoyed this book. I did. Like my ice cream, it was just the kind of thing I liked. Too bad there was so much of it and at times it became work just to get through it and finally finish it. Over all, it was a really good serving of mint choc chip ice cream with a huge serving of cockblock. I liked it, but I refuse to go on a date with Robin McKinley again unless she promises to put out.

  • j
    2019-04-20 22:38

    Here is a useful tip, should you ever find yourself face-to-face with a vampire: they are living corpses that eat people. They are not sun-sparkling, abstinent forever-teens. Staying inside all day and being forced to personally kill all of your food doesn't bode well for your mental health (not to mention the fact that you have been alive so long, you've had to re-buy all your Beatles albums in like five different formats).Robin McKinley gets this the way Stephanie Meyer or even, sometimes, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, don't -- generally, it is safe to say, vampires aren't creatures whose pictures you want to pin up in your locker. Yes, authors can rewrite the rules of vampirism all they want to make them easy to romanticize (I have a soul! Oh yeah? We'll I'm vegetarian), but it all still comes down to A) creatures of the night B) part of a race that, by and large, views humans as walking ketchup dispensers C) unflattering complexions. In Sunshine, the vampires are gross. They look like what they are, which is, if you will remember, dead. They are also rightly feared by the populace, but that might have more to do with the role they played in the vaguely defined Voodoo Wars that ravaged society some years before, to the point where what seems like a pretty nondescript small city is now the eighth largest remaining population in the U.S. In short, vampires: not very nice.And yet, there's always the special one. But if Sunshine (not her real name, thankfully) can be the Buffy who befriends a vampire, at least she is a total screw-up in every other way (and I mean more of a screw-up than just that she pretends to trip on things and makes too many boys fall in love with her). She gives her mom hell. She barely graduated from high school. She dates a guy with too many tattoos. She's kind of a bitch. She's flawed, and fun to read about, which is important, because she's our narrator. But she is special, with an unknown magical heritage that saves her ass when she's kidnapped by bloodsuckers and chained up in a room with one of them. This turns out to be Constantine, who is that Special Vampire who doesn't eat people, but at least he's still pretty disgusting, as romantic heroes go. The no heartbeat thing would get pretty weird. Also the bathing in his blood, but that comes later.In many ways, this is a Twilight-y book, and you can see why the publisher decided to repackage it in a sparkly teen edition, even though it is about adult characters who actually screw instead of lying in fields and gazing longingly at one another: There's a special girl. There's a vampire. There is a little bit of romance (though Sunshine has the good sense to be freaked out about it, and, at least, never describes anyone's beautiful chest). Also in both books nothing happens for long stretches of time, only to rush through an action-packed climax in just a few pages. (Oh, I forgot, both also involve scenes of googling and message board reading, which still isn't all that interesting.) The difference is that Robin McKinley can write, and instead of filling her pages with repetition and day-to-day mundanities (new word!), she creates a fun cast of supporting characters at the bakery where Sunshine works (I could almost write an entire separate review about the role baking plays in this book, but I didn't want to make anyone hungry) and puts real thought into the way you might react to a traumatic experience like almost being eaten. Like, you might throw yourself back into your work (mmm, cinnamon rolls!) even as you struggled to cope with the fallout, alienating your friends and loved ones in the bargain. This is a really entertaining book that slowed down just a little too much in the middle for me, but it is much, much better than a phrase like "vampire romance" might imply. In a parallel dimension, this book is the famous one, and Stephanie Meyer, bless her heart, is selling her books to Kindle owners on Amazon, because writing is a nice little hobby but why do it full time when you are so bad at it?Man, I really didn't mean to rag on Twilight so much. Sorry about that.(Oh, p.s. to Karen -- sorry for failing at that whole tandem review thing. We can just pretend I wrote this a week ago.)

  • Bradley
    2019-04-10 23:31

    This was a very welcome surprise coming out of my dire expectations. :)I mean, a vampire romance. Seriously? Another?Well stop scratching your head and stop moving on to another title. This happens to be one of the *good* ones. There are lots of elements that you've seen before, I'm sure, but it's all in how its written. McKinley has been writing all kinds of fantasy for over thirty years. She knows how to accomplish a lot in relatively no time at all.Gorgeous world-building and a populace that will soon be overrun by vampires. Part-demons and sorcerers waging wars against them. The elemental mastery of the magic is amazing. Sunshine? This isn't just a nickname. :) When these little bits and pieces started unfolding out of the normal bakery life and a nasty kidnapping, I kept thinking to myself: well, isn't this just another setup for a romance?Yes. BUT. McKinley never stints on complicated and interesting plots that kept me going all the way through. It kind of stunned me just how deep and complex this novel became out of my initial observation. And it's not just the characters, either. The kinds of races, the kinds of magic, the twists and the turns, all of them were added like spice to the novel and it kind of blew me away.I've read a lot of mediocre vamp novels. I've read a few excellent ones. This one fooled me on it's premise and it's opening. It turned into an excellent one. :)So what about shelves that call it YA? Why didn't I also do the same? Because she's apparently a quarter of a century old. Long out of HS and working happily in a bakery. That *might* be called a tiny tiny sliver of the new-adult market, but there's a LOT of dark stuff going on here with complicated emotions and reactions. It's definitely not simple and its often beautifully adult. :)I completely recommend for fans of better vampire novels. (Even ones that feature romance!)Edit 12/6/16:It has been brought to my attention that I should clarify what kind of romance this is. It's not Eros. It's Philia. That's the greek term for ppl you'd trust your life for in battle. Deep friendships. Ultimate trust. These two share a lot more than just that. Psychic bonds, the ability to pull one another from the brink even out of outright battle, and he even gives her a wondrous magical item that allows her access to his sanctum of sanctums. That's a level of trust unheard of in a world where all vampires know that they can't trust each other, let alone any other kind of person. :) So I call it romance in the traditional sense. A huge step up from a buddy-novel, too. :)

  • Annie
    2019-04-21 16:19

    This is my first Robin McKinley book and I'm sorry to say that it'll probably be my last. I know she has a large fan-base and I know that she is critically acclaimed but I just couldn't get into her writing. Even if Neil Gaiman says it's 'Pretty much perfect.'The whole novel is written like one giant info-dump with barely any dialogue or interaction between characters. It's made up mostly of the character's internal reflections and while she's certainly quirky, I didn't find Sunshine endearing. I never felt like I managed to care enough about the story to get past the fact that the author continually made up words, had purposefully terrible grammar and had no chapters. Call me boring, call me backwards but maybe this novel is just too unconventional for me?The other thing was that I really liked Constantine and I felt he was barely even in the novel. What was with that? It felt like McKinley was constantly holding out on me. I didn't really care so much about SOF or any of the other sub-plots. I wanted more of Con and I never got it. I really felt that if there had been more interaction between Constantine and Sunshine, I would've enjoyed this much more. Judging by other reviews, if you're a McKinley fan, you'll probably enjoy this novel. I just think I missed the point!

  • Sherwood Smith
    2019-04-20 15:27

    I've seen Robin McKinley accused of having only one plot: variations on "Beauty and the Beast." This kind of reductionism, of course, can be extended to just about any story. Some of us over a certain age even used to have test questions on this in Tenth Grade Literature: What is the plot of this book? A) Man vs. Man, B) Man vs. Nature, C) Man vs.Universe. Perhaps this one can be further reduced to Woman Gains Choice, and we first encounter it in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, written in the early 1800s, wherein a female makes the choice concerning her future life and doesn't have to pay the price for such temerity by promptly dying of consumption. What it means is that woman gains power over her own life, and it's a trope women (and men) have been exploring in various story forms such as "Beauty and the Beast."McKinley looks at this story form from several angles. Anyone who thinks her stories cookie cutter have not paid attention: The Blue Sword is probably the most conventional; Deerskin is not at all conventional. This story has to do with vampires.I've heard people talking about how sick they are of vampire stories, that they are stale, nothing new to be said, and of course vampires, like elves and dragons (and horses), have been tamed down by many writers into being very pretty forms of humans, pretty, powerful, but with very human (usually mapping heavily onto middle-teen adolescence) emotions.Well, McKinley teases apart the threads of this familiar tapestry and reweaves them into a very strange form.The story begins with our first person protagonist describing her pleasant but claustrophobic life as the baker for a roadside diner that is very popular in her small town. We gain the impression of ordinary folk of the type we recognize in our own lives, an ordinary diner, an ordinary small town. Exactly when the reader feels as closed in by all these cheery, well-intentioned ordinariness as does the protagonist, she takes off to be by herself to the lakeside, which, we are told, is not popular any more since the Voodoo Wars.The Voodoo Wars? We've had, so far, exactly one other hint that things are not quite as ordinary as they appear when the protagonist mentions that one of her very normal brothers wants to go into Other law. Well, 'other' is easily assumed to be on the side of the downtrodden, and on goes the story: Voodoo Wars catches the eye but the story still marches on a few paragraphs, and then, abruptly, while she's at the lakeside, the vampires come. This is page 12.I had to look back at that beginning to really appreciate the mastery of McKinley's story-telling skills. Twelve pages of ordinariness, and a cliff-hanger, after which she pauses to tell us that the worst of the Others are vampires. Okay... then this is our world, but with vampires. No, wait, there's just this tiny mention of demons. But the story flashes on, and the protagonist is taken by vampires to a disintegrating ballroom, forced to dress in an extravagant crimson gown, and shackled to the wall-within reach of another vampire. Who is also shackled to the wall. Then they leave, giggling.The story takes off like a rocket from there: we find out the protagonist's name after we find out about the power of names, we find out more about vampires, and the Voodoo Wars, and the protagonist's background. Boundaries are broken over and over, and the reader, along with the characters, has to struggle to redefine them. The ordinary roadside inn with its ordinary characters turns out to be an anchor of relative safety in an increasingly strange and dangerous world. This is not our world. It's even more threatening, more perilous, but there are ways to fight it. Each ones exacts its cost: there are no wish-fulfillment mega-powers gained just by suffering winsomely enough. Power has to be fought for, inwardly and outwardly, it rips apart lives and requires dispassionate remapping of one's universal landscape. And using power is painful, just as a real punch bruises the attacker as well as the victim.Along the way McKinley examines families, love, romance, sexual attraction, morality, ethics, deception, the social contract, eschatology, the perils of responsibility. Absolutely nothing is easy -- except, perhaps, the sharing of food.McKinley's vampire is not pretty, does not react with adolescent emotion; he is compelling, and a fascinating study in how human can become alien, yet retain a conflicted nexus of human traits. The ending is not neatly tied off, but is breathtaking with possibility. I sure hope she returns to this world. There is so much more to explore and to say -- and I really want to know more about the spinster landlady, who was my favorite character of all.

  • Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
    2019-03-28 20:30

    $1.99 Kindle sale, Nov. 9, 2017. I knew nothing about this book when I bought it - this was back in the day when I was auto-buying everything Robin McKinley wrote, a time that has now, sadly, ended for me as her stuff's gotten progressively weirder over the years. But this one is only semi-weird, and definitely worth reading if you're interested in vampires and urban fantasy, except without the smokin' hot sexy vampire. Okay, there is a rather sexy scene, and the vampire is a very cool character but also, undeniably, vampirish, in a not-necessarily-sexy way.I loved what McKinley did with the main character and her magically gifted family and with vampire lore in this novel; I just wished she'd dug a little deeper into the world-building and the family history. And there is (as typical with McKinley) one of those bizarre nightmarish scenes where you're not sure exactly what's going on except that it's highly strange. The story doesn't wrap up with a nice bow either, which has left many fans hoping, almost certainly in vain, for McKinley to write a sequel or at least another book in this world. But there are at least parts of this story that are truly fantastic - the first few chapters are AMAZING - and shouldn't be missed. At least if you're interested in vampire lit. :)

  • karen
    2019-04-04 16:29

    since joel is being a slowpoke, i am going to write this review before i forget everything i was/am thinking about it and it gets lost in too-many-books-past.yeah, so i had no idea this book was about vampires.but, karen, you have voted for both elizabeth and mariel's review of this book, surely you read reviews before you vote!! surely you don't just "insta-vote" and RUIN for the rest of us???yeah, yeah, be fair, i did read elizabeth's review but it was ages ago, when i had no intention of ever reading this book, so i just enjoyed her writing without absorbing the details, and the book itself went "whhhooosshh" outta my brain. and mariel. well, mariel is a very special brand of reviewer, and i think she only said "vampire" one time in her very convoluted but awesome review.i mixed this up in my head with the other fantasy books i have been commanded to read, and i thought this was another beauty and the beast retelling. imagine my confusion when the vampires showed up to crash the party.and i liked it, but i did not get out of it what everyone else seems to have gotten from it. this is like a seminal work to the fantasy-lovers and they swoon when it is what am i missing??this is intended as a genuine question because i have never read/seen any of it, but is this what true blood is like?? this is the sense i get - southern location, accepted and casual reactions to the supernatural mingling with humankind, central woman straddling two worlds and looking good doing it. is this a fair assessment?? i am just curious if this book was an inspiration to a young(er) charlaine harris, or if this is just a common theme in fantasy i am going to talk about genre fiction briefly, as someone who does not read much genre fiction, because i just have some questions/observations.and you will correct me if i am totally off base.fantasy novels, including this one, seem to revolve around a strong central female character and several "helper" male characters who don't have much power, but work to protect or nurture the female. in this book, she does have a boyfriend, but he is more symbolic, like something for her to rub her sexuality against.he can physically protect her with his might, but he is really only there to give her what she needs and not ask unpleasant questions, fading into the background so she can (view spoiler)[have guilt-free near-relations with supernatural beings. (hide spoiler)] and she pretty much does see him as a means to an end, as she freely confesses. she is glad that he doesn't ask her the questions (which, considering what is going on all around her, and the behavioral and physical changes that are happening to her, would be pretty natural for him to ask) but she sees his presence as comforting and his "respect" for her emotional reticence as a mark in his favor. he is the comfiest of sweaters, (the garment) but no one has a conversation with a sweater.(this is totally different from high or epic fantasy, which i gather is pretty misogynistic and rapey.)now, if this was a romance novel, the characters' dynamics would be all romance novels, (the few i have read) women seem to give up all their agency to be swept away by something larger than themselves, they wouldn't be taking charge and we all know what happens when a woman meets a vampire in a romance novel. she becomes a lesbian rock star, of i guess i can see how this book would appeal to self-possessed women more than the romance-novel variety...but the sentences were kind of killing me: "My mother, who would have loved to forbid these visits - when Mom goes off someone, she goes off comprehensively, and when she went off my dad she went off his entire family, excepting me, whom she equally passionately demanded to keep - didn't, but the result of her not-very-successfully restrained unease and disapproval made those trips out to the lake more of an adventure than they might otherwise have been, at least in the beginning.""The Cinnamon Roll Queen wasn't going to be bought off by a fast food hamburger - supposing I ate hamburgers, which I didn't, and after tonight, even if I had, id've given them up - but Prime Time was a twenty-four-hour gourmet deli."aggg - it makes me exhausted unpacking those sentences. it shouldn't take this much rereading to make sense of a vampire novel, should it?other than that - i did enjoy all of the baking. i have some questions about the nature of sunshine's talents,and how with her work schedule, she would ever ever see the daylight, and (view spoiler)[i was very disappointed to have been royally teased with all this talk of her paternal grandmother and her badass dad, and they don't show up in any significant way?? come on!! i need sorcerers!! so unfair (hide spoiler)]awesome librarian character a plus...not really a review, but some things that have been bouncing around in my head since i finished this like 8 books ago. i blame joel!! joel is the problem with!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Tatiana
    2019-03-31 15:39

    I didn't know much about this book going in - vampires and cinnamon rolls - that was about it. Therefore, I, of course, was quite surprised to learn Sunshine was a hardcore urban fantasy novel. Quite a departure for Robin McKinley known for her fairy tale retellings. This book was nothing like she ever wrote before, that's for sure. I didn't know she had it in her to write something so tech-heavy, at times sexy and in such a perky "voice."Now, I love to complain about new urban fantasy that lacks originality, proper world-building and just plain satisfactory writing. McKinley didn't disappoint in this regard. I thought the plot was brilliant, especially the beginning and the ending - I am amazed nobody had used the whole chaining-to-the-walls-and-using-a-human-as-a-vamp-bait scenario before. The mythology was completely new and very inventive - I loved how creepy, nasty and otherwordly the vamps were. One gets tired of sparkly and sexy creatures that have nothing to distinguish them from humans except wondrous stamina and sexual prowess. Try writing about a girl falling for someone who looks and acts like Constantine in a convincing manner! That's a challenge in itself, I am sure. And the writing, well, McKinley has a remarkable command of the language.But all these things that I loved about Sunshine were at the same time its negatives. I pretty much thought the book was way overwritten. Sometimes the mythology got so complicated I thought I was on some kind of drug-induced hallucinogenic "trip." And Sunshine herself. Good lord, the woman talked SO much to herself! By about page 200 she started to grate on my nerves so bad I needed a break from her "voice." This book badly needed some editing out of Sunshine's rambling internal monologue and some more dialog. Often reading Sunshine's thoughts was like reading McKinley's own blog - sometimes interesting, sometimes boring, with never-ending parenthesis, notes, *s, and P.S.'s. Weeding out about 100 pages of Sunshine's irrelevant musings would have made this book a much more enjoyable read.Surprisingly, many things that annoyed readers of this book, didn't bother me. The cinnamon rolls - the bakery business was interesting to me, I thought it added a nice dimension to Sunshine's personality.(view spoiler)[And sex, or, rather, lack thereof. I agree, when you read about one person licking another person in the dark, naked, while lying under him, some schmexing at some point is expected. But I personally wasn't upset it never happened. I wasn't even sure I really wanted it to happen. The way McKinley wrote Constantine, he was, in fact, an otherworldly, alien, dead creature. I did however have a question - why did McKinley bring up the whole issue at all if she wasn't planning to explore it? What was the point of writing that scene in the middle of the book with d!cks and c*nts and engorged [email protected]? (BTW, I am channeling Sunshine here, how did a book with this kind of vocabulary make it on the ALA's 2005 List of Best Books for Young Adults?) (hide spoiler)]As for the sequel, I am fine without one. McKinley is still toying with the idea of maybe, possibly, one day, writing it. But I will tell you this for free, it will never happen. I have never seen her go back to her projects and I doubt it will happen this time. This I, actually, sort of understand and even respect - I have seen way too many sequels pulled out of the asses. Sometimes it is better not to force things out.What else is there to say? It was an OK reading experience. From literary standpoint Sunshine is probably one of the strongest urban fantasy works, but in terms of entertainment it doesn't quite deliver. Ultimately, I don't think I would care to ever re-read this book again or read the sequel if it ever comes out. Too much work.

  • Sean
    2019-04-05 23:29

    I've liked Robin McKinley in a low-level way for the past ten years or so. I really liked Beauty, The Hero and the Crown and The Blue Sword, and when I've seen a new McKinley book I've generally tried to pick it up and read it, for old time's sake. I thought I was fairly familiar with her style and tone.Which is why I was completely unprepared for Sunshine. Who knew McKinley had a dark, experimental, inventive, alternate-universe/vampire novel in her? Who knew she had an engaging, modern, flawed character like Sunshine just waiting to come out and win my heart completely over?Ever since I first picked it up, I reread Sunshine every few months, and it never ceases to enthrall and delight me. It has become one of my favorite books of all time.

  • Gloria Mundi
    2019-04-22 19:40

    Thinking is bad for you. The heroine of this novel, Rae Blaise or Sunshine, as she is better known, finds this out the hard way after she drives out to the lake to have a think and avoid arguing with her mum. Because while there, she is kidnapped by a group of vampires, dressed in blood red silk and chained in a room with another vampire, Constantine. But clearly, Sunshine is a bright girl (I am still unsure exactly how old she is supposed to be, early twenties, I'd guess) and learns her lesson quickly and pretty much stops thinking from then on. At least enough for her latent powers to reveal themselves and take over her logical processes.I am doing this all wrong, aren't I? Because, actually, I loved this book. I couldn't put it down. And even the fact that listening to Sunshine is like talking to someone with a severe case of ADD because she keeps diverting and sidetracking until you lose all sense of what she was talking about to begin with and the fact that the book was like the worst kind of tease, sucking you in, turning you on and dumping you with barely a hint of a resolution, no answers to most of the questions and no sequel in sight wouldn't put me off. I liked Sunshine. Despite her ADD and obsession with baking (I hate cooking with a passion). She felt real. She was sometimes snarky, sometimes frustrating, sometimes puzzling but always interesting and complex and believable as a character. I've never read any McKinley before but I new fairy tale retellings were usually her thing but that this wasn't quite her usual thing, being a gritty and dark urban tale about vampires. Yet I am not so sure. This is a dark vampire tale but with a healthy dose of fairy (tale) dust sprinkled all over it, I think, and some sunshine. It is a Beauty and the Beast story, which Sunshine tells to Constantine during their confinement and which, I hear, McKinley is a teeny bit obsessed with but it is not really a romance (damn it!).Yes, Constantine is definitely the Beast of this piece. He is ugly and alien and he smells. No sparklingly brooding underwear models here. No sighing over anybody's eyes and beautiful chests. Yet Sunshine, and I along with her, grows to love him despite herself and the "resolution" to their relationship at the end, while it is incredibly frustrating in its unclarity, is also incredibly sweet (I did tell you this was a fairy tale, right?).But back to the unclarity (and the biggest fattest BUT of this book). Questions. Questions, questions everywhere. Where did Sunshine's father and the entire Blaise family disappear to? What are the "bad spots"? Why does Sunshine's mum avoid her all the time and why did she leave her father? What precipitated the Voodoo Wars? Has the presense of supernatural beasties always been the reality of this world or have they just crawled out of the woodwork at some point? What is the Goddess of Pain? What is Mel? And so on and so forth. Answers are not forthcoming. You know that scene in the middle where naked Sunshine lands on equally naked Constantine but, while he initially appears into this, he soon comes to his senses and won't put out and Sunshine is all frustrated with engorged labia and parts to match. Well, I swear McKinley put this in just to illustrate graphically how she was going to leave her readers at the end of this book. Coitus interruptus, are you bloody kidding me? I need the other two books (at least) in this series, which Mckinley is not writing. I was going to take a star off for that but then, I know for a fact that I am now going to go read every single other book that McKinley has ever written and come back to this one over and over looking for that something that I have possibly missed but really just to spend some time with Con and Sunshine again, even if they are not doing anything new and Sunshine is mainly blathering on about her cinnamon rolls as big as her head. And if that doesn't make a book five star worthy, I don't know what does.

  •  Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
    2019-03-29 20:12

    I have mixed feelings about this book. It took me multiple attempts to finish it, but I'm glad I did. Someone compared this to Buffy and Angel as far as the romance aspects. Do not believe that. This book has some romantic aspects, but it's more of a coming of age story (although Sunshine is an adult when it starts). She's coming into her powers that she never really understood. The writing is very intricate and quite stream of consciousness. If you made it through The Sound and the Fury, this book shouldn't be a problem. But for genre fiction, I think you have to work too hard to get the enjoyment factor out of it. I'm no literary snob. In fact, I prefer genre fiction. I want to enjoy reading a story and get a message. This one makes it difficult. I am a foodie, so I was salivating at the descriptions of the baked goods that Sunshine makes (she's a talented baker). However, I wanted more of the supernatural aspects and certainly more of the intriguing Constantine. I could have done with about fifty pages more of him. I think that a reader who enjoys seeing strong women come into their own in a fantasy novel setting would enjoy this, moreso than a fan of vampire romance. There were some geninuely scary moments that gave me a thrill as well. There are also a few gory moments (not too bad, but I feel the need to warn). I'd give Sunshine three stars because it was a good book, but I don't feel the need to reread it. Now if she writes a sequel with more Constantine, sign me up!

  • Emma
    2019-03-26 15:13

    Hmm. Where to start? This book was quite unique and strange. I love me a good vampire tale and this certainly was one- vampires are at the centre of the actions of the story. And yet...the point of the book seemed to be more about the world building. This was a fascinating world with many magics and part blood demons, ward makers and charm weavers, a special Others police force... But while it was fascinating in places, the book seemed to be almost a long information dump. If this was the first in a series, this would make more sense, but Sunshine is a stand- alone. It was frustrating to me that we did not learn more about Constantine. He is alien, aloof, cold, as one might expect from a vampire and yet hard to get a handle on.I thought Sunshine was a great character in an urban fantasy setting different to many others in tone as much as geography. The book felt wordy but this may have to do with my tiny print mass market paperback and my dodgy eyesight and not McKinley's writing!Did I like this book? I don't know. Did I like reading another and different take on vampires? Very much.

  • Felicia
    2019-04-12 19:23

    Extremely enjoyable, I liked this book much more than Twilight. It was a while ago I read it, but I kept the hardback around, which says a lot since I am forced to be ruthless with what I keep after I read due to space.

  • JM
    2019-04-13 22:14

    Adult vampire urban fantasy. Sunshine lives in an alternate post-apocalyptic world in which Others - vampires, weres, demons and angels - are accepted and everywhere. We don't see any angels, mind you. This one's all about the horror. Sunshine herself lives an ordinary life working in her step dad's cafe, until she does something stupid and gets herself captured by the 'darkest' of the Others: vampires. Seriously messed up psychopathic supervillains. Sunshine finds out a few things about herself, and forges an alliance with somebody she shouldn't even be able to look at, let alone develop feelings for.I wanted to love this. It's a classic of the genre. It's an intricately thought-out world, and a lot of the ideas, especially about magic, are rather cool. But it is, for me, flawed in ways I can't get over. Principally, I had trouble with the POV. It's first person, and the style is fairly colloquial - we don't ever forget that it's Sunshine herself telling the story - but it's the most distant first person narrative I've ever read. Even after three hundred pages of first person story, I don't feel that I have a handle on Sunshine as a character. Her voice distances us from the action by diverging into random info-dumps about the world (which, yes, very complex and layered) and about her own backstory. At one point she grabs a steak knife and lunges out the door after a vampire, and then gives us a page and a half of information about the proper way to kill a vampire and basically how a steak knife won't cut it, before we finally get to the end of her lunge. And, OK, I accept that that info was relevant to the action, but it should have gone, oh, any time before the lunge.She's also a somewhat unreliable narrator, which further distances us from the story. She doesn't lie, but she keeps secrets from the reader. She'll obsess about something for weeks, and even though we're with her for those weeks, we won't find out until weeks later, when she suddenly brings it up. I think this is a deliberate stylistic decision, and is supposed to reflect Sunshine's own mindset and the way she's trying to hide her own thoughts from herself and pretend amnesia that she doesn't feel. Still, it works against my involvement in the story. Case in point, I was actually musing about these things while reading the life-or-death climax, which shouldn't have been possible. But the truth is, I didn't care very much whether Sunshine and Con came out of the climax OK.Two more things, quickly:One is the villain, Bo. He's supposed to be a looming menace over the entire book, but we not only don't meet him until the last couple of scenes - The Lord of the Rings has a successful villain the heroes never meet, so that's not a deal-breaker - but we don't get any clear sense of his personality or presence before then either. He doesn't work as an antagonist. The Goddess of Pain is a better one, but she's not central to the plot, and is also introduced fairly late.The other is the romance. Or, rather, the sex. There's this completely random, very graphic, not-quite sex scene in the middle of the book, that just made me tilt my head to the side and stare. There's growing feeling between the two central characters, which could be read as sexual tension, but then this sex scene, which is over in about a paragraph and a half, comes out of nowhere and goes nowhere and is never followed up on and I just kind of wonder if McKinley's editor asked her to make it sexier and this was what she came up with? It didn't add anything for me. It's too short to be hot, and too random to be powerful.All that said, this book made me think, a lot, and that's the sign of an interesting book. And she does a mean aftermath, and a nice final scene, which I can appreciate.

  • Mariel
    2019-03-27 15:25

    I wish that Robin Mckinley's Sunshine never had to end. I almost didn't read it. I'd visit the fantasy shelf in the book shops and go "ooh um do I want to read this or not?" (Funny how the films and books I debate on are often the ones that I've loved the most.) Now, I visit the McKinley shelves, beaming at my favorites. "I wish I could read you for the first time again!" I read the goodreads and amazon reviews. Some are favorable, others are not. I couldn't tell anyone if they'd like it or not. It's the difference between liking someone and not liking them. The kinds of people that you just click with when you first talk to them. Some grow on you. Sunshine could easily annoy anyone, it's hard to say. Personally, I loved Sunshine's voice. The rambling, yammering, babbling, run-on sentences, digressions (really? *gasp*!). Robin Mckinley's world building and Sunshine's exterior and inner lives were "This is where I live" taking me by the hand. I never wanted to leave. Sometimes quiet reflection is best. Those unnameable life things like falling in or out of love. I've often thought people made up reasons afterwards to put a finger on something that just plain is. Another thing I loved about this book is that those facts are the underlying, respectful quiet. The lust for life is vibrant. I loved it all. The taking by the hand and thought threads I didn't wanna let go of.I didn't want to let go of the darkness either. McKinley made it necessary. Like how the best artists will see the beauty in the mundane, McKinley saw the darkness in everything. Turning out the lights and seeing what is really there. Rather, it would be hearing because most can't see in the dark. Star Wars lifeforce stuff. McKinley is freaking Yoda. Put your ears to the grindstone (as Con lives in stone! Right-on, Mariel! Idiot) and all kinds of things slither out from the bottom. I loved the fantasy of what had been trapped getting free. Owning up to the dark.McKinley is the best at writing those haunting scenes that stick out in my mind. (I don't wanna spoil for anyone who hasn't read it...) The Hero and the Crown had a great part of a talking dragon's head infecting the heroine with its sickness beyond death. That stood out to me and I liken it to my own negative thoughts during times of depression. A dragon's head mounted on my wall would taunt me. (I inherited my grandpa's shark's head on a wall mount. I'd get rid of it if it weren't one of two things I have of his [d'oh and don't forget the cat, Mariel!]. My birds like to sit in its head. Probably shouldn't have reminded myself of that. I'm just the kind of nutjob who will make up a shark voice and use it to threaten the little guys...)Sunshine has no shortage of those scenes. When Sunshine meets Con. There was no doubt that this book was going down in my favorites list after that scene.I pictured Con the vampire to look like Dave Gahan during the Songs of Faith and Devotion Depeche Mode era. (Depeche Mode's In Your Room video, for example.) Um I kinda have a type. Dave Gahan/Jeremy Northam/Michael Imperioli/Mitchell on uk Being Human show (sigh they are doing an American remake). (Mitchell is a wonderful vampire character. I love his struggles to be human. Much like humanity struggles to be human. Badly.) Yeah, he's sexy but that's just me being a pervert. The point of this story was never about romance. It's just about attraction. Mervyn Peake wrote in his wonderful Gormenghast books that Fuchsia was naturally more attracted to the dark than to the light. It's the way that some people grow in directions.I do wish that McKinley would write a sequel. She has said that she might eventually write another set in the same 'verse. There was more that I'd like to know about the magical elements. Otherwise, I just wish it went on because it was that absorbing that I could forget about everything else. Why can't every book do that?P.s. One thing everyone is right about is that the cinnamon rolls sound delicious.

  • Angie
    2019-03-26 22:13

    I look forward to this season every year because it means I get to reread SUNSHINE. This is one of my few solid seasonal reads. I revisit it every year for so many reasons. Because it originally came out in October. Because it absolutely encapsulates autumn for me. And Halloween, of course, what with all the vampires and the midnight outings and the smell of fallen leaves and cinnamon rolls in the air. And because it's just one of the biggest Angie books there is. I remember being almost apoplectic with excitement when I heard Robin McKinley was writing a vampire novel. The whole notion filled me with tingles. And imagine how happy I was when it turned out to be better than I could ever have imagined. I know people have strong feelings on this book, one way or the other, and it's certainly not your run-of-the-mill urban fantasy (thank heavens for that). But for those who love feisty girls with thoughts of their own, ugly vampires with developing senses of humor, and wonderfully rich, dense, smart writing, this book may very well have your name on it. As for me, I bought it the day it came out (almost exactly eight years ago). I took it home and read it aloud with DH. And to this day favorite passages and scenes come up in our daily conversation. So as Halloween approaches, a review of my very favorite spooky read. A side note: I'm not even slightly embarrassed to admit I own all three U.S. editions. If a new edition of SUNSHINE comes out, I buy it. End of story. It helps that they're all so very pretty. If pressed, I will admit that the original hardcover with the chandelier is my favorite. But I adore all three. And the important thing is that they're there. On my shelves. So that when the urge arises, I can take them out and stroke them and know that they're there and that they're loved. I know. But like I said--not even a little embarrassed.It was a dumb thing to do but it wasn't that dumb. There hadn't been any trouble out at the lake in years. And it was so exquisitely far from the rest of my life.These opening lines set the scene. Sunshine just wanted some solitude. Just a little time away from the strange and chaotic life she leads as the head baker at Charlie's and as her mother's daughter. She gets up every morning at the butt crack of dawn to get the dough going for her famous Cinnamon Rolls as Big as Your Head. And for Sunshine's Killer Zebras. And for Bitter Chocolate Death. And any number of awesome, original desserts and pastries she whips up on a daily basis at Charlie's--her stepfather's diner. She gets up and fights another round with her overprotective, obsessive mother. She gets up and goes out with her former soldier/reformed biker/cook boyfriend Mel. She gets up and gets through another day in New Arcadia--one of the few remaining spots that wasn't utterly demolished by the Voodoo Wars. And all she wanted was a moment alone in a peaceful place. So she drove out to the lake to sit. And that's when they came. And that's where they got her. As everybody knows, you don't hear them coming. Not when they're vampires. And you don't come back either. But Sunshine does come back after her extended and terrifying encounter with one vampire Constantine. She comes back and comes home. But. Even though she's home once more, nothing is the same. For all her surviving the encounter, she may not survive living with herself after.Sunshine is one of those sarcastic, supremely set-in-her-ways tough girls that I seem to live for. The girl holds my heart in her flour-dusted hands. And because she is rendered in Robin McKinley's trademark prose, she's even more quirky and meandering and tangentially-inclined than those girls usually are. The tangents and meanderings bother some readers, I understand. If long internal monologues aren't your cup of tea, then they're not your cup of tea. But nobody can say that Ms. McKinley didn't go all-out hardcore when she sat down to write an urban fantasy. Because she did. And I love SUNSHINE with the fierce kind of love I reserve for those characters and stories that take no prisoners and make no apologies. I knew I would love Sunshine herself on page two when she set out to describe her stepfather.Charlie is one of the big good guys in my universe.There's so much fight and heart in that simple statement. Her relationship with Charlie is a highlight of the book, as he took her in as his own, gave her a job and a way out, and understood her when her mother could only scream. The way she introduced him made me love her. Many of Rae's rambling monologues include wry, self-effacing asides that always make me grin. For example:I didn't want to know that the monster that lived under your bed when you were a kid not only really is there but used to have a few beers with your dad.Set against the backdrop of almost certain doom, these barbs of humor secured my affection the way nothing else could have. I laugh a lot when I read SUNSHINE. I also shiver deliciously with fear. Which brings us to Con. As if Sunshine wasn't enough, Robin McKinley had to go and write Con--a vampire as far removed from the sexy-sparkly variety as is inhumanly possible. I really don't know of any other author who could make me fall in love with a vampire with skin the color of old mushrooms and a voice that unhinges your spine. But fall in love with Con I did. Or, more precisely, fall in love with the unlikely alliance of Sunshine-and-Con I did. It is this unprecedented friendship between human and vampire that is the real heart of the book. And it is made more believable (and much more valuable) by the lengths to which the author goes to to display how antithetical, how other, they are from one another. These two are not drawn together by attraction or random circumstance. They are bound together by the will to survive, by the refusal to live at the expense of another life, and by a slow-simmering, if uncomfortable, mutual admiration. The combination of Sunshine's jittery rambles and Con's remote and ominous silences gets me every time. As does the smart, knotty writing, Sunshine's passion for what she does, and the wonderful, wonderful restraint exercised to let the story unfold in its own way. Every time I read it, I find extra nuance and sympathy. And a perfect ending. As only she knows how to write them. This book, you guys. This best of all combinations of fairy tale, urban fantasy, and horror story. Neil Gaiman notably described it as "pretty much perfect," and I have to concur. I never tire of it. It's October once more, and I'm feeling that familiar SUNSHINE pull. Which copy shall I read this time?

  • WhiskeyintheJar/Kyraryker
    2019-04-12 19:11

    2.5 starsWhat I can only assume is a superb April Fools joke by the book gods, my first themed book for April Singles turned out to be an actual Non-series book (if you aren't as obsessed with my life as I am, usually during this theme I laugh, groan, and joke how all the books I pick for this turn out to be actually in a series). What is wrong with this you ask? There is no way on earth this should be a contained to one freaking book story. Don't believe me? Imagine if you will, if Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning had been a standalone. Don't just shrug and move on, GO THERE. Because I have been to that bellow to the book gods place thanks to this book.This reminded me a lot of Moning's series, incredible created universe, first person pov from heroine who is young and not aware of her own power, plethora of characters who could be good or evil, a dark mysterious intriguing dude, and a will they or won't they. Oh, and there's Mel. Who is Mel you ask? He's our heroine's boyfriend, who is sweet, sexy, and affable. I know there is more to his story because of the clues we are given but I'll never really know, because STANDALONE.If this reminded me of Darkfever so much, why only 2.5 stars? It has the addictive reading quality but oh boy is our first person pov heroine into rambling. She goes off on tangents, which sometimes have observational little life nuggets but mostly make you want to skim. There's also a feeling of being dizzily just dropped into the world and I spent most the beginning trying to understand who and what story the author was telling.If you want your vampire stories a little darker, the vampires in this world definitely not of the sparkle quality and something a little off the beaten path, this would be a good pick. Just be prepared to gird your loins at how rambling the heroine can get. Also, did I mention the whole no series thing? 'Cause seriously, you'll probably live at least 2.4% of your life always wishing you could know if Pat is evil, who the Goddess of Evil truly is, and if Mel is Sunshine's Tree.This story is magical but DARK magic because it will leave you feeling like you're in a straight jacket bouncing off padded walls crying and screaming to book gods about how you "Just need to know if Sunshine and Constantine bang!!"

  • Miss_otis
    2019-03-29 15:32

    Truth be told, I’m sick to death of vampire stories. There’s so rarely anything original or new in the genre, and I’m really just not a fan of the Sexy, Mysterious, Dangerous Creature of the Night thing anymore. However, I do love Robin McKinley, she’s the only reason I picked this book up, and I’m glad I did. Turns out this book isn’t “about vampires” in the way you might think; Sunshine’s world is either ours in an unspecified future, or an alternate versions of ours in which magic is very real, supernatural creatures are every damn place, and vampires are just one of the dangers that lurk in the night. I liked Sunshine because she’s really pretty flawed: she’s got no real ambition other than to continue baking at her stepfather’s coffee house, she doesn’t want to do anything heroic, she’s not precisely warm, friendly, or social, and she freely admits that she’s not a brave person,and that at times, she’s a huge bitch for no real reason. And she’s really not interested in much of anything outside the coffeehouse or books. I quite like the vampire, Constantine, as well. McKinley seems to have made absolutely no effort to make him in any way attractive, and in fact, makes him nerve-wrackingly inhuman. Actually, she does that with any vampire we see in the story, points out how very human they’re not, which pleased me. Not only that, Constantine almost seems to treat the human world as an aside – not necessarily that he and all vampires are superior to humans, just that the world of humanity is neither here nor there, which I found interesting.I s’pose I should’ve expected this type of approach; McKinley does love her some twists on the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale, and this does kind of boil down to that. Except there’s no romance (although there is some accidental nakedness) which is certainly refreshing, but frankly, I’d be willing to read vampire romance she wrote, because she so rarely annoys me with her unlikely romances.

  • Lala_Loopsie [fire breathing B!tch Queen]
    2019-04-15 20:14

    If you see the read date, you would be surprised, but hey, i don't take months to read a book. I'll start from where i left it, which is where i remember. Sunshine/Rae is back home. Yippee(note the sarcasm). That's what it felt like with her. The main problem with Sunshine were her internal thoughts. She had a lot, too many. And OK.→ Head=thoughts=chaos, and it doesn't make al attractive book. But here there was only Chaos, everywhere. She would be thinking about one thing, the next, she would think about her childhood. And i get that's how a mind works, but it was hard to follow a storyline.But maybe it had to do with the fact that there were 4 parts, no chapters in between. That was confusing.Also, no timeline. Rae could be home and al of a sudden it was 2 months later.But don't think it was all bad, otherwise the rating would have been lower....I feel to lazy to write anymore, plus it's sunny outside, so bye.Just know that even though it got to heavy (all the reading), i couldn't put the book down.But i wanted a more closed ending, not a "and they walked out into the night, hand in hand". Con and Sunshine had something.

  • Kim Kaso
    2019-04-15 22:20

    I read this some years ago, I remember liking it. A re-read should be good, I can refresh my memory enough to do a full review.

  • Kelly
    2019-04-23 20:17

    I have the worst touch pad in the world on my computer, which just erased an entire review. So here's the short version:The plot: unfocused, slow. It has a few exciting hot spots, spaced widely apart. The end is anti-climatic and doesn't feel worth all the build up. I wasn't thrilled with all the time she spent world-building, which didn't seem to make sense for a standalone novel in which most of that information would never be used or heard from again.The characters: Sunshine herself was well-drawn. McKinley spent a lot of time detailing her thought processes and letting us get to know her. Her voice was consistent, her fears realistic, and her choices fairly reasonable. Her day-to-day life was very fleshed out, and one of the strongest pieces of the novel. However, other than the lead protagonist and to a certain extent her sort-of hero (who, really, was a strong-and-silent-type archetype with a better vocabulary than usual), the characters in this book were very vaguely sketched or barely outlined at all. They were mostly plot devices or evidence of our character's background and what an awesome chick she is to have the devotion of these people. I wasn't hugely thrilled with the amount of the Special Snowflake Female stuff we had going on here. I hate when authors make a novel centered on a female and then make sure every other woman in the book is duly inferior. (There's one possible exception to that in this one, but I think even she is shown to be lesser by her choice of loyalties and choice to lie to her best friend.) A corollary I find just as irritating is showing her Special Snowflake-ness by the amount of men around her who are overprotective and adore her (even if they don't want to date her) and will do anything for her. There was a bit of that here, too. McKinley kept her use of this mild (I reeeally appreciated that I got to the end of the book and had little idea of what the narrator looked like except that she was skinny-too much to hope that that one would be left out- and nor did I know what the other women looked like either). But there were several pinches too much of it all the same.And yet: The writing. McKinley is a great writer with a curious, thoughtful mind, and it shows all the way through. She's wonderful at producing an atmosphere and a rhythm that really gives you a sense of the world she's trying to convey, or the inside of the head she's trying to give you a peek into. Her many, many forays into describing the magic of the book, while distracting and, after awhile, a bit repetitive, were also interesting to read. You can tell she was just bursting to tell us her ideas about how the magic worked, and what it must feel like. She clearly took her time choosing her metaphors and making them appropriate for her character, and that really paid off. She really thought through her magic and wanted to explore the how and why and the experience... and managed to do it without taking away the mystery that makes reading about the mystical fun and even enthralling in the hands of the right writer.She also did a wonderful job of grounding her magic-infused, supernatural haunted story in the experience of the every day. Her heroine worked at a bakery, which involved long hours and not great pay, and we heard about every single time she had to change shifts, work extra hours or deal with complaining customers. We heard about her car troubles and the practicalities of making bread in August. This allowed McKinley to infuse magic in the way that magic works best- seeping up through the cracks of everyday life, when people reach for it on their breaks, or dream about it in their precious few hours of consciousness after work hours are over. Her repeated interest in exploring the workings of the magic and the supernatural beings in the novel ended up making it a bit too regular a part of the routine, which was another problem with how often she went on those digressions. But overall, placing this story within the structure of the mundane still worked very well.In the end, I appreciated the atmosphere, found one or two moments I connected with the character, and even felt a little sad when we whispered out at the end and I didn't know what was going to happen next. I would have read a sequel. Just goes to show you- even a half-done idea in the hands of a wonderful writer can be very much worth the time spent.

  • Hirondelle
    2019-03-30 18:34

    Lots of people seem to want RM to write a sequel to this. After one reread, what I truly demand is the cookbook. Perhaps wisely the author avoids too many details about the cooking/baking, which is maybe wise, readers with different baking skills might find it obvious or ludicrous or something, but the references are all so tempting. I really want to know the secret for Bitter Chocolate death! And I am half-seriously thinking of compiling a list of everything Rae bakes during this book just for inspiration. But for the list of fictional books I would love to read ( nod to another McKinley book) would be Rae Seddon´s cookbooks.A few thoughts:- this book is a lot like Dragonhaven. I had spotted they were alike, but only now on rereading this how much they really are alike, maybe I should call them mentally the "tough" McKinley books, they are very different in tone from the other dreamier, gentler of her novels. They are also non-dog books which is a bit of a pity, I love her fictional dogs. Back to comparing, both books are first person narratives, set in very different alternate worlds and where lots of exposition about that world is necessary. Exposition which must came from a 1st person PoV which can be a bit jarring. I think the author does it well, but not sure that can be done seamlessly, not for worlds sufficiently different and books relatively short, and not all readers will like it (I do). On both Dragonhaven and Sunshine the narrators are not *likable* or well integrated, or perhaps even neurotypical ( Jake. I think there are hints enough on Dragonhaven) narrators. I loved both books, but I can see where that would bother a lot of people specially if they need characters to be likable to like them (I will admit I do not have to, though not sure I can explain why). And on both books, major stuff happens within the rules of its universe that changes how the rules thought to be true. - Has anybody found that the first part of this book feels like a novella and (almost)complete on its own? Enough exposition of the rules of the universe, action, personal discoveries, a conclusion ( and a wonderful "last" line which just makes me go wow). Without any sort of evidence at all it feels to me like the novel grew out of a novella type story ( the first part). I do not mean that in a padded-extraneous-story way, but in a good way, that the interesting things sometimes are what is after the story. And this relates to perhaps the need, or not, for a sequel which I was just getting into:- There are many things about that universe we do not know about and which I want to know - more on Con and his difference take on vampirism, more on the goddess of pain, more on Mel, more on the Blaises. But it ends well, without cliffhangers, and with a feeling that this story is always about there being more story. Do we really need a sequel? I don´t know. I would read it absolutely and love finding out more about that universe, but I am not sure if it truly is required.- this is a crazy, but the one novel Sunshine really reminded me of was The Lord of the Rings particularly The Fellowship, the sense of ominous evil threatening, though without any clear plan of how it could be defeated. Or not so crazy, but also reminded me a bit of Barbara Hambly´s great ( horrific and creepy and sort of anti vampire fandom) Those who Hunt the Night, that vampires are *horror*.- now for something spoilerific, rereading I was impressed how well written and planned and plotted it all was. Except for one small detail, I can not understand why Rae would suddenly see significance in the number of Mel´s live tattoos, when she tells us about it before without seeing anything on it. She is different than before, yes, but I do not understand it well enough. Maybe on a sequel, we find out more about Mel which makes sense of it.

  • Laurie
    2019-04-03 17:37

    First of all, let me say I love Robin McKinley's work, and was so excited to see a new title I just grabbed it and started right in. I was pulled into this new world, having a hard time putting the book down, when WHAM! Two pages of erotic description, using language I would never have expected from an author of McKinley's caliber. I felt betrayed, as if I had found a beloved, trusted family friend showing pornographic videos to my children. The language and passage under consideration did nothing either to advance the plot or enhance the characterizations. It was just there, like a worm in the center of what looks to be a lovely piece of fruit. I went on to finish the book, and while there were no more episodes of this nature, my enjoyment of the story was tarnished. McKinley has dealt with far darker sexual issues (Deerskin), but she has never before resorted to the vulgar or titillating trash talk of the so-called romance novels. This could have been a fun read, but fell short. It isn't necessary for a gifted author like McKinley to cheapen her talent by pandering to the lowest common denominator.

  • Margaret
    2019-03-30 20:40

    When I picked up Sunshine for the first time and realized that Robin McKinley had written a vampire novel, I was almost horrified: it seemed a far cry from Damar and retold fairy tales, and vampire novels are certainly not usually my thing. But McKinley is easily one of my top ten favorite writers, so I sat down with it one night and got so sucked into it (pardon the pun) that I stayed up most of the night finishing it (which is a bigger deal than it used to be, with a toddler who gets up when he feels like it rather than when I do). On subsequent rereads, I've managed to avoid staying up all night, but it's been a real test of my willpower.Sunshine is set in an alternate universe, where there are vampires, demons, and weres as well as humans, those who survived the Voodoo Wars but are now threatened by the increase in the vampire population. Rae Seddon, a baker nicknamed "Sunshine" for her affinity for sunlight, has an unusual interest in the Others, but no real contact with them...until the night she's kidnapped by a group of vampires. Her fellow prisoner is also a vampire, and their joint captivity creates an uneasy alliance. Even after their escape, Sunshine and Con are still linked, and Sunshine (another of McKinley's typically strong, practical heroines) discovers more about her world, her past, and her own powers as she and Con work together to defeat the vampire who captured them.McKinley excels at creating richly detailed worlds, and she's done that again with Sunshine. The world is like ours in many respects (Sunshine describes something at one point as "half Quasimodo, half Borg"), but chillingly different in others -- in one memorable passage, Sunshine wonders about whether phoenixes exist: "I think the phoenix has at least a fifty-fifty chance of being true, because it's nasty. What this world doesn't have is the three-wishes, go-to-the-ball-and-meet-your-prince, happily-ever-after kind of magic. We have all the mangling and malevolent kinds. Who invented this system?" Con himself is Other: not just a human with long teeth, he is inhuman, which makes Sunshine's unwilling attraction to him particularly intriguing (and yet another of McKinley's variations on the "Beauty and the Beast" theme, which she makes even more apparent by having Sunshine retell the fairy tale to Con during their imprisonment).Altogether, Sunshine is an unusual outing for McKinley in its subject matter and world, but her wonderful writing, worldbuilding, and characterization are fully evident and as compelling as ever. Oh, and you might want to have a couple of good cinnamon rolls lying around, because believe me, you'll be hungry for them by the time you're done with the book (I wish McKinley had included Sunshine's recipe for those).

  • Jeffrey Keeten
    2019-04-14 22:24

    I was put off by the narrative at the start of the book that explained what had happened before. I'm never a big fan of those. Fortunately that was a concise section and I was able to get into the story about Sunshine. I loved the next 1/3 of the book. It actually felt cosy learning about Sunshine's life in the bakery. To some this may seem mundane, but to me it was nice after a hectic day to read about how to make cinnamon rolls. The section with her trapped with the vampire Constantine, both chained to a wall, was a wonderful concept. A vampire and human figuring out how to work together to escape an impossible situation was just wonderfully conceived. The middle section bogs down a bit as a lot of novels do, but the grand finale is well worth the wait. Nice to see vampires back to being vicious, unpredictable creatures, but with an innate honor code that allows them to form alliances, which in this case spurs the plot. No brooding, handsome vampires strolling through these pages. The weight of book, the worthiness, really comes down to whether I would reread a book and this book certainly qualifies.

  • Crystal Starr Light
    2019-04-07 23:30

    Bullet Review:This was a good read, but wow, curveballs! Firstly, the writing style/protagonist's voice takes some getting used to. Rae/Sunshine is a bit of a verbose chick. Secondly, the book opens with the impression you are reading urban fantasy of the Sookie Stackhouse variety - and then it takes a MASSIVELY dark turn. Good but dark.My rating really wavers between 3 and 4 stars.Full Review:Geez Louise. Amazon just poked me today, asking how many stars I would give this book, and I realized, I ought to stop procrastinating and write a review. Which I am reluctant to do because 1) I seem to be running out of steam in writing these reviews and 2) writing a review for this particular book is going to be hard!Rae "Sunshine" Seddon is just an average girl with an average life. She works in a bakery, reads books about "Others", and does movie night with her mom, step-dad, half-brothers, boyfriend and whoever else pops in. This ALL changes one night when she leaves Movie Night to head to the lake. There she is captured by vampires and is imprisoned with another vampire, Constantine. Will she escape? How will her life change?This book was different than most vampire books I've ever read. Number 1, this is NOT another Twilight clone! (Breathe a sigh of relief, people!) This is a really gritty portrayal of vampires and "part blood" (meaning anything from werewolves to demons). Not once does Rae dreamily wish Constantine would bite her and whisk her away into the sunset. In fact, Rae's boyfriend is a (probably human) chef, with whom she actually has a good relationship (DO NOT FAINT!).Number 2, Rae as a protagonist is incredibly different from most of the other first person accounts I've ever read. This style is what I would call "stream of consciousness" - Rae's narration is basically whatever is on her mind, regardless of how or if it might even pertain to the plot. This is how we learn that this society is this post-apocalyptic pseudo-waste ground where the threat of vampires (who control a good 1/5 of the world economy - I think, if I remember correctly) is imminent. It's in chunks, hidden much deeper into a novel than a reader is accustomed to. This makes "Sunshine" much more realistic, but also much more frustrating. When I started the book, I thought it would be a fluffy read in the vein of Sookie Stackhouse; by the time I ended, I was in awe of the very gritty very urban fantasy (very NOT paranormal romance) read I got.I Buddy Read this with an engineering friend of mine, and we both came to the conclusion we liked it, but Rae's narration almost killed it for us. Also, the fact that this is a standalone is a good and bad thing; I really hate these endless series these days, because I never seem to be able to get to book 1, much less book 18. (Unless I hate-listen to Anita Blake, apparently.) On the other hand, if ever there was a book set up perfectly for sequels, this is it. It is the perfect balance of an origin story, leaving some nice little tails dangling, but still closing up all the loose ends in a way that makes you satisfied.Am I glad I held onto this book through so many moving/shifting genres culls? Absolutely! Would I read it again? Probably not. Would I recommend? Definitely.

  • Jill
    2019-03-29 20:26

    For my sanity, I need to stop reading any books that are marketed towards fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Because spoiler alert: none of these books are ever like Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Sunshine is about a normal girl--seriously cannot express how numbingly normal this girl is--who, guess what!, is nicknamed Sunshine (gag) and finds herself tangled up in a supernatural battle after being kidnapped by vampires. Sunshine wakes up every morning at 4am to bake cinnamon rolls for the family bakery. Sunshine likes to spend time in the sun. Sunshine spends pages and pages describing her family, her friends, her cinnamon rolls, her cherry tarts, her apple pies, and her bakery's customers even though it's terribly uninteresting and nobody cares. Sunshine does not like to talk about the fact that she's a powerful sorceress or the fact that she's embroiled in a war between vampires and humans or the fact that she is party to a very tense, strange, and unexplained sex scene with a vampire midway through her story. Sunshine doesn't like to talk about anything that is of actual importance or interest. Sunshine makes cinnamon rolls at 4am every morning, though, and Sunshine loves to talk about that. Sunshine manages to kill a vampire with a butter knife, which should be nigh impossible and definitely merits some investigation, but Sunshine doesn't really mention it afterward. Sunshine is too busy baking cinnamon rolls at 4am.Sunshine and Sunshine are deathly dull.

  • Jodz
    2019-04-07 21:28

    I didn't really like this book, yet i didn't not like it either.It took me a week to read this book which is a rare thing for me as I average a book every day or 2. I just wasn't captivated by it. Not just that it was so Slow some ground coverage went on for pages!Sunshine bored me to seems like she just goes on and on *yawn*. I found myself having to re-read a ton of pages cause she would being doing one thing and then start rambling on about something so different and i'd be so lost because she was so erratic.I wanted to stop reading 100 pages in and then again at 200 in, at 300 in i just couldnt wait for the end - not because i was interested, because i always have to finish a book i start no matter how much i lose interest...Or maybe I was waiting for something exciting to happen??The "Almost" sex scence was horrible...didnt even belong in the book at all. It was like "*WHOA* How did we get here .. Oh never mind it's over!"The most exciting part of the book for me was when she was kidnapped in the start of the book and 1st met con, did a little transfiguration...a little saving and escaping...Yep that was about all the excitement for me.That said there were parts of the book i liked. I liked the powers she (sunshine) possesed...very unique. I did like the plot regardless of how long it took me to figure it out lol And the charecters were strong too. Con had about as much emotion as a ton of bricks, but that suited him to a T and I liked him. The whole wards, charms, badspots and all the other little things were interesting.I didn't hate the book, it just didn't cut it.And now all im left with is an annoying craving for cinnamon.

  • Josen
    2019-04-18 23:15

    2.5..........I had high expectations for this book and sadly it just didn’t pan out. I mean this story had the usual suspects that I like: vampires, weres and demons. Oh……and a bit of magic. In the beginning of the story, Sunshine gets taken by a group of vampires and they take her to an abandoned house where they chain her to a wall. It’s then that she realizes she’s not alone. Not too far from her sits another………… vampire. At that point I thought okay, this is really going to get interesting. Well, not quite. This book is full of world building and world building and…………world building, which is great if this were a series. But this book is a standalone. Just when the plot gets moving, the author goes into more detailed background. I think so much could’ve been done with this story but it just didn’t seem to move. Even when we get to the climax I think………that’s it?? What kept me interested were the characters. I thought Sunshine was a strong young woman whose story could’ve been much more interesting. But the real character I was interested in was the vampire she was left with, Constantine. Unfortunately, his story wasn’t explored. I think there was great potential for this book but it didn’t quite hit the mark.

  • David
    2019-03-31 16:18

    First time reading Robin McKinley. I have heard good things about her, but she struck me as a bit of a fanta-twee author. Anyway, Sunshine was on sale at Audible, and I like a good vampire story, so decided to check it out.First, if I'd known about the romantic undercurrents, I'd have run screaming. Another vampire romance? Oh, hell no.So this is another book that got to pleasantly surprise me because I didn't know enough to reject it outright."Sunshine" (the main character's nickname, and guess what, it's not meaningless) is just an ordinary 20-something slacker who works at a bakery. She decides to go down by the lake one evening, just to get away from it all, and is immediately captured by vampires.Wait, what? Like, she knows about vampires? Yes. The details of the setting are not dumped on you all at once, or in expository prologues. Instead, we learn things a little at a time. This is not our world. This is an alternate world where magical creatures are real. Demons, weres, genies, angels, leprechauns, phoenixes, dragons, pretty much everything — and vampires.The world avoids become Harry Potterish or silly because most of those creatures are only mentioned. Vampires are the only ones who figure into the plot. But we also learn that magic is real, and coexists with modern society, and this will become very significant.So, Sunshine wakes up chained to a wall, with another vampire chained to a wall with her. Obviously she has been caught in the middle of some kind of vampire feud, and she's being dangled in front of the winning gang's captive as a snack. So she knows she's dead, because no one ever escapes from vampires.And yet she does. And goes on to spend much of the book talking about baking and cinnamon rolls. Which was actually kind of neat, and made me hungry while listening.This was actually a pretty good story, worldbuilding and vampires and all. The vamps are nasty critters, like vampires should be. Sunshine of course is special, and so is her vampire hottie, but it's a decent tale that seems to subvert a lot of the tropes you'd be expecting in this post-Twilight genre. Sunshine is actually pre-Twilight, which is too bad, since Sunshine, unlike Bella Swan, actually has a personality and does things.Now, mind you, the book is still half contemporary fantasy/vampire story and half dark-undercurrents-of-hawt-brooding-sexuality between Broody McBiterperson and the ordinary young female protagonist. So, there is no way in hell it gets 5 stars from me because the suck factor is automatic. (Har har. Suck, vampires, gettit? I slay me.)And stripping away the unconsummated sexing (the most graphic the book gets is when bad boy Constantine gives our heroine a serious case of blue... ladybits), the story is only okay, the worldbuilding interesting if unexceptional, and the writing decent.So, this is a nice solid 3.5 star book. Which is pretty damn high for me to rate a vampire romance.Now, in fairness, it's not so much a romance. Constantine is still a vampire. McKinley does a good job of making him enigmatic and mysterious. It seems he's an "ethical" vampire — the conflict that sparks the plot is between him and a more traditional "master vampire" who's of the pure dark and evil recreational torture and slaughter variety. But does Constantine still kill humans? It's definite that he has in the past, and it's not clear whether he now manages to feed without killing. So he's kind of like Dexter, an improbably moral sociopath who couldn't exist in real life. (I mean, aside from being a vampire...)But he's sure got more going for him than Edward effing Cullen.The target audience for this book is unquestionably the same target audience as Twilight, girls who get hot at the thought of a good-looking but super-dangerous predatory monster who only she in all the world is safe to be with.However, I repeat: Sunshine actually does shit. And she bakes a mean cinnamon roll.