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Sunshine Hardcover – September 30, 2003
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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.
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
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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If you want action-adventure, gun-fights, magic-fights, car- or spaceship-chases, heroes with whips or wands, this ain't it. Even as magic fantasy, this is VERY different.
If however, what you like is to discover a unique book by a unique talent, by all means and with all due haste, read this!! It's truly excellent, exceptional, wonderful.