Friday, March 26, 2010

Sunshine

Sunshine
Author: Robin McKinley
Berkley, 2003
405 pages

Wow, I just realized that this is the 75th book I've reviewed! Pretty cool, huh?!!

Sunshine came highly recommended by my co-worker friend Sandy T. (who also recommended the Karen Marie Moening series that begins with Darkfever). "Sunshine" is a nickname for Rae Seddon, who at first seems very ordinary: she works as a baker in the family diner owned by her stepfather Charlie. She has a Mom, two younger stepbrothers, a tattooed, motorcycle-loving boyfriend, Mel (who also works at the diner), and a mysterious landlord named Yolande. They all live in a sort of post-apocalyptic world where "Others" (vampires, werewolves and other weres, etc.) have come out of their closets.

One day Sunshine decides to drive out to the lake, where her family once had a cabin. She is kidnapped by a band of vampires, who hold her prisoner along with another vampire in a nearby old mansion. A sort of Beauty and the Beast story enfolds, and circumstances bond her with the vampire. Sunshine's memories of her paternal grandmother suddenly come forward, and as she realizes her father's family were magic handlers, she also realizes that she has inherited some special abilities.

No, Sunshine is not ordinary at all.

Without giving too much away, I'll just say that this is the kind of story that just sucks you right in. There's a lot of narrative, which I normally find off-putting but in this case actually helps provide context that is necessary to understand the last part of the book. I found myself really liking the main character Sunshine as well as Constantine, her vampire friend. I would have liked to know more about Yolande, and through her to learn more about Sunshine's father. Also, it was interesting that Sunshine's mother was referred to often, but never really appeared in the book. I found myself wondering about her: who was she, really, and why was she so hell-bent on separating Sunshine and her father (and his family)? 

The last 80 pages or so are full of action. I couldn't stop turning the pages. This book begs for a sequel, but so far, there hasn't been one. That's a shame.