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Sunshine Mass Market Paperback – November 30, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Buffyesque baker Rae "Sunshine" Seddon meets Count Dracula's hunky Byronic cousin in Newbery-Award-winner McKinley's first adult-and-then-some romp through the darkling streets of a spooky post-Voodoo Wars world. Now that human cities have been decimated, the vampiric elite holds one-fifth of the world's capital, threatening to control all the earth in less than 100 years, unless human SOFs (Special Other Forces) can hold them at bay by recruiting Sunshine, daughter of legendary sorcerer Onyx Blaise. As breathlessly narrated by Sunshine herself, the Cinnamon Roll Queen of Charlie's Coffeehouse, in the inchoate idiom of Britney, J. Lo and the Spice Girls, Sunshine's coming-of-magical-age launches when she is swarmed by noiseless vampires one night and chained in a decrepit ballroom as an entr‚e for mysterious, magnetic, half-starved Constantine, a powerful vampire whose mortal enemy Bo (short for Beauregard) shackled him there to perish slowly from daylight and deprivation. Most of the charm of this long venture into magic maturation derives from McKinley's keen ear and sensitive atmospherics, deft characterizations and clever juxtapositions of reality and the supernatural that might, just might, be lurking out there in "bad spots" right around a creepy urban corner or next to a deserted lake cabin. McKinley knows very well-and makes her readers believe-that "the insides of our own minds are the scariest things there are."
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

Rae Seddon, nicknamed Sunshine, lives a quiet life working at her stepfather's bakery. One night, she goes out to the lake for some peace and quiet. Big mistake. She is set upon by vampires, who take her to an old mansion. They chain her to the wall and leave her with another vampire, who is also chained. But the vampire, Constantine, doesn't try to eat her. Instead, he implores her to tell him stories to keep them both sane. Realizing she will have to save herself, Sunshine calls on the long-forgotten powers her grandmother began to cultivate in her when she was a child. She transforms her pocketknife into a key and unchains herself--and Constantine. Surprised, he agrees to flee with her when she offers to protect him from the sun with magic. They escape back to town, but Constantine knows his enemies won't be far behind, which means that he and Sunshine will have to face them together. A luminous, entrancing novel with an enthralling pair of characters at its heart. Kristine Huntley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Jove (November 30, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0515138819
  • ISBN-13: 978-0515138818
  • Product Dimensions: 4.1 x 1.1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (597 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #45,136 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Robin McKinley has won various awards and citations for her writing, including the Newbery Medal for The Hero and the Crown and a Newbery Honor for The Blue Sword. Her other books include Sunshine; the New York Times bestseller Spindle's End; two novel-length retellings of the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Beauty and Rose Daughter; and a retelling of the Robin Hood legend, The Outlaws of Sherwood. She lives with her husband, the English writer Peter Dickinson.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

131 of 145 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 30, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I should say from the start that I do believe Robin McKinley could rewrite the dictionary and it would be interesting, so I'm biased. I have good reason to be biased. McKinley's skills as a storyteller, as a writer, as a voice for her characters and her worlds is unparallelled.
Sunshine is not a book about vampires. They are there and they are central to the story, but the book is so much more than that. The best part of the book is that afore mentioned voice. I am not usually a fan of first person storytelling, but Sunshine is full of wry wit and a self-deprecatingly quirky combination of realism, independence, and fancy. I applaud the author for going in a new (if slightly Buffyesque) direction.
This book obviously isn't to everyone's taste, but the writing is still superb and I highly recommend it.
If it helps, my personal list of Robin McKinley favourites is: The Hero & the Crown, The Blue Sword, Deerskin, and now in 4th place -- Sunshine.
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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 19, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I resisted reading this book for many months, despite hearing glowing reviews from friends. Which was strange, since generally I like Robin McKinley's work, but I just couldn't imagine reading yet another vampire story. What could she do that hadn't already been done to death (pardon the pun) by other authors?
But finally I gave in and bought the book, and was immediately amazed. McKinley has created a richly detailed alternate version of our world, where the survivors of the voodoo wars cling to the normal rhythms of life, in spite of the lingering threat from vampires and demons. The heroine Sunshine is immediately engaging and sympathetic. As she comes in to her powers, she is forced to face the dangers that others choose to ignore.
The relationship with the vampire Con is particularly well done. There are none of the cliches here. Con isn't handsome, he's not an immediate love interest, and there's a clear sense that he is alien to Sunshine's world. And yet somehow he and Sunshine manage to form an alliance of necessity that grows into something more.
I loved this world and these characters and was sad when the book ended. I truly hope she'll be inpsired to write a sequel someday.
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131 of 153 people found the following review helpful By Kotori on October 14, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
It was with some trepidation that I opened the covers of this latest book by Robin McKinley. As the author of one of my favorite and formative books (Beauty), McKinley has not always provided the sort of reading experience I have been looking for. Deerskin was a particularly dark sojourn into the nasty depths of Brothers Grimm, and although the storytelling was masterful & memorable, it has not ranked as a favorite novel.

So a vampire tale by McKinley would be different, I knew.

The surprise came, when it's a fantastic kind of new!

With this book reviewers must endeavour please, not to give too much of the plot away. Half the suspense of reading the book is letting the story unfold and allowing the narrator to tell it in her own way & pace.

Sunshine works as a cook at a small cafe in a seedy and forgotten suburb after a magical holocaust has come across the world, reshaping the landscape of America as we know it.

She has an uneasy relationship with her mother, and finds herself having a closer acquaintance with a vampire than she had ever planned.

The gradual unveiling must not be clouded, thus I shall write no more, leaving it to you, the reader, to discover.

A story rich with ambiance, thick with texture taste and smell, menace hangs heavy in the air only to be washed away by the sharp sunlight and dizzying aroma of delicious cooking - all vividly imagined.

I salivitated through this book!

Without the hyperbole, McKinley proves again mastership of her craft, drawing readers on the adventure & into the world more solidly than ought to be possible.

Having read a library copy, I will now purchase the book as it's one I would love to keep - I had better make that two, because I know I won't be able to resist lending this fantastic book to friends!

Hoping there will be a sequel.

kotori 2005
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244 of 295 people found the following review helpful By Reedekullervo on December 8, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Sunshine is destined I think, to be one of those books people either love or hate. As a McKinley fan any new book by her is to be welcomed, but having finished this I'm left in the curious position of having liked it in spite of it's flaws, and thus sympathetic to a number of reviewers who have NOT enjoyed reading it at all. Part of the problem is likely to be the disconnect between the familiar, young adult novelist and fairytale re-teller we've come to love and that author departing, so to speak, from the text to try something new. Although I had problems with Sunshine, I'm inclined to give McKinley the benefit of the doubt because I'm always glad to see authors trying to stretch beyond their comfortable niche. Also, I think McKinley has managed to find that most elusive of things, a new take on an over-saturated genre. Don't get me wrong, I've enjoyed my Anne Rice, Laurell K. Hamilton, Tanya Huff, et al. but the field has gotten over-crowded with similar stories about sexy, bad-boy vampires and the women that love them.
McKinley's vampires are genuinely loathsome creatures that aside from being human-shaped, don't share a lot of similarities with humans. I was convinced Constantine was really was an alien creature who wasn't wild about having anything to do with a human. Not only that, he's ugly, smells funny and generally has a terror-inducing presence. He's definitely not the in-humanely handsome, charming, sexy, and powerful vampire figure that is currently in vogue. And although Sunshine and Con develop a "bond" it is more in the nature of an obligation where the two parties would be just as happy to have nothing to do with one another under better circumstances.
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