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Sunshine Paperback – October 7, 2008
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"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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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?
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The book is told in Rae's first-person POV in a sort of stream-of-consciousness ramble. I had trouble adjusting to it at first, but then became engrossed in the story until about halfway through when it bogged down. Rae's thoughts are often repetitive - there's a lot about her baking - and scattered, jumping off into flights of fancy that go nowhere. I persevered, and the end of the book picked up again.
The worldbuilding here is just amazing. Ms. McKinley has created a world based roughly on New Jersey (I think) populated with familiar and strange places and objects. Money is now 'blinks', computers are comware, towns have been depopulated and abandoned, and so on. There's a lot of fascinating detail as seen through Rae's eyes and speech.
There are also a plethora of fascinating characters. Almost everyone from Charlie (Rae's boss and step-father) to Mel (her boyfriend) to Yolande (her landlady) have hidden facets. Unfortunately, because this story is told from Rae's POV, unless she knows about the other character's lives, we never find out much, especially as Rae seems mostly uninterested in finding out about them. She is one of the most uncommunicative and least inquisitive protagonists I've ever read in a book, especially one written from her POV. She has no idea what's happened to her father and his family, and also doesn't seem to care all that much. She knows there's something weird about her boyfriend's tattoos, but they don't talk to each other except about the coffeehouse and motorcycles, so she (and we) never find out what the tattoos mean. Despite her fascination and bond with Con, we find out very little about him and how he lives. But we learn a lot about cinnamon buns.
I did enjoy this book; it's different from most vampire books, somewhat along the lines of Anne Bishop's The Others series. Ultimately, I thought switching POVs or less of Rae's ramblings would make it a better book. I'd give it 3 1/2 stars.
The world that McKinley created fascinated me. I think everything fit in logically and the bits and pieces that she threw in made the world more concrete. Besides my absolute favorite lines in the book ("We really like librarians. They tend to have tidy minds."), I think the book can be summed up with this one: What we can do, we must do: we must use what we are given, and we must use it the best we can, however much or little help we have for the task.
If you only want a quick fix of vampire fiction, this probably isn't going to be your cup of tea. It requires that you read it and absorb the world. If on the other hand you want a well-written fantasy that happens to have vampire in it, this book should interest you.