All Sunshine wanted to do was go out to the lake and sit by her family's old cabin to clear her head of the craziness of her life. She never imagined that it would be dangerous, or that she would be kidnapped by a gang of vampires. But instead of being killed right away, she is kept prisoner in a crumbling mansion alongside the vampire Constantine. All her life, she'd been told that vampires are evil and cruel, and no human can escape them, but Constantine is unlike any vampire she has met, and has other motives. In their time spent captive, they form a tentative, tenuous bond that may lead them to find a way to save each other, and in doing so, awaken a part of Sunshine she herself had forgotten, and maybe even change the world.
Sunshine is quite unlike any vampire novel on shelves right now. Highly imaginative, Robin McKinley has created a fascinating world that is at once so foreign and familiar to our own, and is vivid, magical, frightening, gritty, and above all, wonderfully realistic. Sunshine herself is quite an engaging main character--she's smart, funny, inquisitive, sometimes scared, down to earth, and she loves what she does. Her emotions are so well described as she goes through her tumultuous and draining ordeal, and even in her darkest moments, her independence and spirit shine through. Constantine is a very intriguing vampire as well, and McKinley described him very well, emphasizing how foreign he is to Sunshine and the human world, making him all the more intriguing and frightening. There is so much more than meets the eye in this layered story, and just when you think you know Sunshine and her world, McKinley springs more fabulous details on you, making the novel even more complicated and engrossing, until you are balancing at the edge of your seat in anticipation of the explosive conclusion. Sunshine is heart-pounding, beautiful, breathtaking, sharp, engaging, and smart. It surpasses words--you simply have to read it.
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Tirzah Price (TheCompulsiveReader)
I have a blog called The Compulsive Reader on which I review Young Adult novels, interview authors, post book trailers, and hold contests. I'm interested in anything YA book related!
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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 entr‚e 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 ...