Saturday, October 12, 2013

Cinnamon Rolls, Vampires, and Sunshine

Sunshine –by Robin McKinley

405 pages
Footnotes/Endnotes: No
Illustrations: No
Suitable for eReaders: Yes
4 Stars

This was a gift, and the kind of a gift with strings attached – I had to read it, and review it. Glad the strings were there ;-)

I'm not sure what genre Sunshine is – it's dark, it's funny, it's about vampires, and mundanes. It takes place after the Voodoo Wars, which really hand nothing to do with Vodou, the religion, but a lot to do with people who handle magic, who are vampires, and in general who dislike one another.

Our heroine, Rae "Sunshine" Seddon is the daughter of the Magician Onyx Blaise whom her mother divorced when Rae was young and she never saw him again. She did see his mother, her Gran, who taught her a bit of magic before the wars came and her dad and gran disappeared. Her mother remarried, Charlie Seddon, who raised Sunshine as his. Charlie also runs a coffee house, where Sunshine works as the chief baker, make of cinnamon rolls extraordinaire, and other calorie laden goodies. (WARNING: I gained weight just reading this book!)

Sunshine wants only to bake, and to a degree, to be left alone. She goes out to the lake, to her Gran's old house, and is captured by vampires. She is shackled in a mostly sunny room with another vampire, Constantine, who is also shackled, and starved, and is supposed to kill Sunshine.

They sort of become friends (as much as two sworn enemies can ever become friends) and she remembers the little bit of magic she was taught several years earlier, and transmutes her pocket knife to a key to unlock the shackles. The problem: Her feet are cut and bleeding and will leave a trail and Connie, as he's called, cannot go out in the sunshine. The solution: As long as he maintains contact with Sunshine, her magic will protect him, so he carries her home (vampires move very fast) before their captors arise after dark and discover they have, uh, flown the coup.

Sunshine is a bit whiny at times, but to be honest, if I found myself in her shoes, I'd probably be a whole lot whiny. It took me a while to get into the book, but mostly because it just seemed soooo long (and I like long books), which is why only 4 stars. The further into it I got, the faster it seemed to read.

The whole story is from Sunshine's point of view, which was no easy feat of writing, and of necessity, required some long passages of exposition at time. However, I enjoyed reading it because it was well done, and different from most books I read. I think the author stayed in voice, or if she didn't, I didn't notice.

If you like vampire books, comedic horror (horrifying comedy?), and want something a tad different from your usual read, give Sunshine a try. And let me know how you like the ending ;-).

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