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Sunshine Paperback – April 29, 2010
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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 entre 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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
Coffeehouse baker Rae ’Sunshine’ Seddon’s memories of her own heritage resurface after she is captured by the Others. The daughter of a powerful magic handler, Sunshine creates an escape for herself and frees her cellmate, Constantine. The problem—he is also one of the Others, one of the very worst of the Others--a vampire.
Sunshine’s decision forever changes her “Bitter-Chocolate-Death” bakery life. While she struggles with her newly discovered powers and the shame of having saved a vampire, not to mention the unexpectedly warm feelings she has for him, she and Constantine team up to fight the true evil.
An unpretentious hero, Constantine is not suave or handsome. He is the darkness to Sunshine’s light. But how dark is he, really? He is chivalrous and sensitive to Sunshine’s every need. He can walk in the moonlight, an unusual phenomenon for a vampire of his age. Although he shares few details of his backstory and, more importantly, does not explain how he feeds, choosing to trust him is not difficult.
The story plays out in a family-run bakery complete with mouth-watering descriptions of cinnamon rolls and Triple-Ginger Gingerbread with boats of cream cheese sauce. Indulge your sweet tooth, if only vicariously, when friends drop by Sunshine’s bakery for a plateful of Killer Zebras.
Sunshine’s chronically-PMSing mother, her tattooed, warrior-biker boyfriend, and her dear were-friend Mrs. Bialosky are only a few of the quirky characters she sometimes cannot live with but could never live without. Her love for them is unshaken after she realizes that many of them harbor shadow traces of Other-bloodedness. It is her love for this extended bakery family, the cinnamon rolls she makes from scratch each morning, and the ‘healing touch’ of sunlight on her face that strengthens her resolve when she faces the seemingly insurmountable odds against her survival.
Sunshine is a book that compels you to reread it, both for the enjoyment of it and to answer many lingering questions. The answers-- as hidden as the secret raspberry-and-black-currant filling in Sunshine’s Death of Marat--are tucked into single lines of dialogue and are buried in Sunshine’s meandering thoughts as she tries to sort out her new life.
Not the typical vampire story, Sunshine is enthralling all the same. McKinley drives home her point by not providing more details about her characters’ histories. The individuals show their true selves in the deeds they accomplish. What they are or are not does not matter. It is what they do that makes the difference.
I won't go into all the details that other reviewers have already covered. I was quite amused and impressed by McKinley's ability to bring her writing "down" (I use this term in admiration, not derision) to the level of her protagonist. The plot is rich and detailed. All I could want.
It would be neat for McKinley to revisit these characters in the future--perhaps 10 years down the road, story-wise.
I enjoyed Rae's journey as she came to terms with her heritage and capabilities, but so much of the book was in her mind and thoughts. The book had such an interesting otherworldly setting and I would've liked more plot points set in of the surrounding world instead of the world of Rae's head.