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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 mindUntil they found her Adult vampire urban fantasy Sunshine lives in an alternate post apocalyptic world in which Others vampires, weres, demons and angels are accepted and everywhere We don t see any angels, mind you This one s all about the horror Sunshine herself lives an ordinary life working in her step dad s cafe, until she does something stupid and gets herself captured by the darkest of the Others vampires Seriously messed up psychopathic supervillains Sunshine finds out a few things about herself Adult vampire urban fantasy Sunshine lives in an alternate post apocalyptic world in which Others vampires, weres, demons and angels are accepted and everywhere We don t see any angels, mind you This one s all about the horror Sunshine herself lives an ordinary life working in her step dad s cafe, until she does something stupid and gets herself captured by the darkest of the Others vampires Seriously messed up psychopathic supervillains Sunshine finds out a few things about herself, and forges an alliance with somebody she shouldn t even be able to look at, let alone develop feelings for.I wanted to love this It s a classic of the genre It s an intricately thought out world, and a lot of the ideas, especially about magic, are rather cool But it is, for me, flawed in ways I can t get over Principally, I had trouble with the POV It s first person, and the style is fairly colloquial we don t ever forget that it s Sunshine herself telling the story but it s the most distant first person narrative I ve ever read Even after three hundred pages of first person story, I don t feel that I have a handle on Sunshine as a character Her voice distances us from the action by diverging into random info dumps about the world which, yes, very complex and layered and about her own backstory At one point she grabs a steak knife and lunges out the door after a vampire, and then gives us a page and a half of information about the proper way to kill a vampire and basically how a steak knife won t cut it, before we finally get to the end of her lunge And, OK, I accept that that info was relevant to the action, but it should have gone, oh, any time before the lunge.She s also a somewhat unreliable narrator, which further distances us from the story She doesn t lie, but she keeps secrets from the reader She ll obsess about something for weeks, and even though we re with her for those weeks, we won t find out until weeks later, when she suddenly brings it up I think this is a deliberate stylistic decision, and is supposed to reflect Sunshine s own mindset and the way she s trying to hide her own thoughts from herself and pretend amnesia that she doesn t feel Still, it works against my involvement in the story Case in point, I was actually musing about these things while reading the life or death climax, which shouldn t have been possible But the truth is, I didn t care very much whether Sunshine and Con came out of the climax OK.Twothings, quickly One is the villain, Bo He s supposed to be a looming menace over the entire book, but we not only don t meet him until the last couple of scenesThe Lord of the Ringshas a successful villain the heroes never meet, so that s not a deal breaker but we don t get any clear sense of his personality or presence before then either He doesn t work as an antagonist The Goddess of Pain is a better one, but she s not central to the plot, and is also introduced fairly late.The other is the romance Or, rather, the sex There s this completely random, very graphic, not quite sex scene in the middle of the book, that just made me tilt my head to the side and stare There s growing feeling between the two central characters, which could be read as sexual tension, but then this sex scene, which is over in about a paragraph and a half, comes out of nowhere and goes nowhere and is never followed up on and I just kind of wonder if McKinley s editor asked her to make it sexier and this was what she came up with It didn t add anything for me It s too short to be hot, and too random to be powerful.All that said, this book made me think, a lot, and that s the sign of an interesting book And she does a mean aftermath, and a nice final scene, which I can appreciate Okay, so I seriously pondered over whether to give this book three stars or four In the end, I DID enjoy it so I felt generous and gave it four, but it s not without its faults.Once, when I was a little kid, my parents bought me my favourite ice cream There s actually only one kind of ice cream that I actually like and that s mint choc chip Only they bought this MASSIVE bowl of it with a banana in it and extra chocolate sauce I can only guess that they d finally decided to slowly kill me via Okay, so I seriously pondered over whether to give this book three stars or four In the end, I DID enjoy it so I felt generous and gave it four, but it s not without its faults.Once, when I was a little kid, my parents bought me my favourite ice cream There s actually only one kind of ice cream that I actually like and that s mint choc chip Only they bought this MASSIVE bowl of it with a banana in it and extra chocolate sauce I can only guess that they d finally decided to slowly kill me via diabetes, cholesterol and blood pressure, and be rid of my annoying, argumentative, five year old ways I can promise that it almost worked and they were almost home free except they d miscalculated one thing my short attention span Sure the ice cream was delicious and kept me entertained but there was just so much of it and the mint ice cream was just a little too much in ratio to the choc chip that I like and even the chocolate sauce couldn t entirely keep my concentration.Well, Sunshine is a bit like that It s good It s really good It s a vampire novel so it s pretty much RIGHT up my alley too and so by definition I should have really enjoyed this book.There was really just the problem that there was too much useless narrative in ratio to the action and suspense Sunshine would start babbling about some inane facet of life that had NOTHING to do with the story and doesn t really add anything to it Now, if this was world building for a future novel I could have forgiven it, but I have heard, rather mournfully, that there will be noto this series and that makes me very annoyed Like when I lost interest in my mint choc chip ice cream at one interval and my evil parents had it whisked away by an annoyed waitress I ll have my revenge one day So whilst I enjoyed much of the book, I found myself falling asleep a lot because it would launch into these long stories like my 80 year old grandma does when you ask her how her day was Don t even get me started on how UNRESOLVED the end was There were things I REALLY wanted to know There were certain sexy scenes I REALLY wanted to read and there was information and intrigue that was left dangling It s infuriating One good praise I would like to make for Sunshine is the reversal in a genre of a practice that baffles me I ve complained before that often in YA books, swearing and sex between the main characters doesn t really happen.Yet rape and violence is often described and occurs, sometimes rather graphically.Well, in this book the main character has sex with her long time boyfriend and it s a sweet nonevent these positive and healthy examples of sex are good Can we havecaring and loving and healthy relationships displayed for our youth like this, please There is one particular swearword I wished the book hadn t used it starts with C and rhymes with bunt figure it out I really hate that word But the two mentions of dick are cool with me except Robin Cockblocking McKinley is a cockblocking temptress of doom and if you have read this book then you ll know why I say this Can someone explain to me why she is not continuing with Sunshine and Con Please Why Why build all this world and have all this and cockblock us Yes That s exactly what you did only to leave us hanging It s just rude At this point I really wouldn t mind what would end out to be the literary equivalent of a pityfuck just to satisfy me and tie up all the freakin loose ends Finally, I say I enjoyed this book I did Like my ice cream, it was just the kind of thing I liked Too bad there was so much of it and at times it became work just to get through it and finally finish it Over all, it was a really good serving of mint choc chip ice cream with a huge serving of cockblock I liked it, but I refuse to go on a date with Robin McKinley again unless she promises to put out Here is a useful tip, should you ever find yourself face to face with a vampire they are living corpses that eat people They are not sun sparkling, abstinent forever teens Staying inside all day and being forced to personally kill all of your food doesn t bode well for your mental health not to mention the fact that you have been alive so long, you ve had to re buy all your Beatles albums in like five different formats.Robin McKinley gets this the way Stephanie Meyer or even, sometimes, Buf Here is a useful tip, should you ever find yourself face to face with a vampire they are living corpses that eat people They are not sun sparkling, abstinent forever teens Staying inside all day and being forced to personally kill all of your food doesn t bode well for your mental health not to mention the fact that you have been alive so long, you ve had to re buy all your Beatles albums in like five different formats.Robin McKinley gets this the way Stephanie Meyer or even, sometimes, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, don t generally, it is safe to say, vampires aren t creatures whose pictures you want to pin up in your locker Yes, authors can rewrite the rules of vampirism all they want to make them easy to romanticize I have a soul Oh yeah We ll I m vegetarian , but it all still comes down to A creatures of the night B part of a race that, by and large, views humans as walking ketchup dispensers C unflattering complexions In Sunshine, the vampires are gross They look like what they are, which is, if you will remember, dead They are also rightly feared by the populace, but that might haveto do with the role they played in the vaguely defined Voodoo Wars that ravaged society some years before, to the point where what seems like a pretty nondescript small city is now the eighth largest remaining population in the U.S In short, vampires not very nice.And yet, there s always the special one But if Sunshine not her real name, thankfully can be the Buffy who befriends a vampire, at least she is a total screw up in every other way and I meanof a screw up than just that she pretends to trip on things and makes too many boys fall in love with her She gives her mom hell She barely graduated from high school She dates a guy with too many tattoos She s kind of a bitch She s flawed, and fun to read about, which is important, because she s our narrator But she is special, with an unknown magical heritage that saves her ass when she s kidnapped by bloodsuckers and chained up in a room with one of them This turns out to be Constantine, who is that Special Vampire who doesn t eat people, but at least he s still pretty disgusting, as romantic heroes go The no heartbeat thing would get pretty weird Also the bathing in his blood, but that comes later.In many ways, this is a Twilight y book, and you can see why the publisher decided to repackage it in a sparkly teen edition, even though it is about adult characters who actually screw instead of lying in fields and gazing longingly at one another There s a special girl There s a vampire There is a little bit of romance though Sunshine has the good sense to be freaked out about it, and, at least, never describes anyone s beautiful chest Also in both books nothing happens for long stretches of time, only to rush through an action packed climax in just a few pages Oh, I forgot, both also involve scenes of googling and message board reading, which still isn t all that interesting The difference is that Robin McKinley can write, and instead of filling her pages with repetition and day to day mundanities new word , she creates a fun cast of supporting characters at the bakery where Sunshine works I could almost write an entire separate review about the role baking plays in this book, but I didn t want to make anyone hungry and puts real thought into the way you might react to a traumatic experience like almost being eaten Like, you might throw yourself back into your work mmm, cinnamon rolls even as you struggled to cope with the fallout, alienating your friends and loved ones in the bargain This is a really entertaining book that slowed down just a little too much in the middle for me, but it is much, much better than a phrase like vampire romance might imply In a parallel dimension, this book is the famous one, and Stephanie Meyer, bless her heart, is selling her books to Kindle owners on , because writing is a nice little hobby but why do it full time when you are so bad at it Man, I really didn t mean to rag on Twilight so much Sorry about that Oh, p.s to Karen sorry for failing at that whole tandem review thing We can just pretend I wrote this a week ago Sunshine is definitely worthwhile if you like vampire lit, though this is a bit of an odd one This urban fantasy novel starts with a bang, one of my favorite beginnings in a fantasy novel Rae Sunshine Seddon is kidnapped by a gang of vampires, chained to the wall in an abandoned, isolated mansion, and left as a victim for another vampire, Constantine, who is also chained up nearby the gang even cuts Sunshine so the blood will make her harder for Constantine to resist But resist he does Sunshine is definitely worthwhile if you like vampire lit, though this is a bit of an odd one This urban fantasy novel starts with a bang, one of my favorite beginnings in a fantasy novel Rae Sunshine Seddon is kidnapped by a gang of vampires, chained to the wall in an abandoned, isolated mansion, and left as a victim for another vampire, Constantine, who is also chained up nearby the gang even cuts Sunshine so the blood will make her harder for Constantine to resist But resist he does, even as daylight comes, though it s a near thing, and they know the vampire gang will be returning when night falls Then Sunshine begins to remember some near forgotten magical skills taught her many years ago by her grandmother It s a game changer but her odd and very secret alliance with Constantine may also bring Sunshine into situations where she s faced with dangers she s never known before I knew nothing about this book when I bought it this was back in the day when I was auto buying everything Robin McKinley wrote, a time that has now, sadly, ended for me as her stuff s gotten progressively weirder over the years But this one is only semi weird, and definitely worth reading if you re interested in vampires and urban fantasy, except without the smokin hot sexy vampire Okay, there is a rather sexy scene, and Constantine the vampire is a very cool character but also, undeniably, vampirish, in a not really sexy kind of way.I loved what McKinley did with the main character and her magically gifted family and with vampire lore in this novel I just wished she d dug a little deeper into the world building and the family history And there is as typical with McKinley one of those murky, bizarre nightmarish scenes where you re not sure exactly what s going on except that it s highly strange The story doesn t wrap up with a nice bow either, which left many fans hoping, in vain, for McKinley to write a sequel or at least another book in this world But there are at least parts of this story that are truly fantastic the first few chapters are AMAZING and shouldn t be missed At least if you re interested in vampire lit