A very unusual read. The main character Sunshine was a bit of a spaz and it hurt the potential success of the plot. While I did finish the book it was more as a hope that it would get better and it has typical growing pains since this isn't a series.
Reviewed by Kira M for TeensReadToo.com
After years of peace with the vampires, Rae "Sunshine" Seddon makes a big mistake and wanders by the lake to get some peace and quiet. She is captured by vampires and imprisoned next to one who implores her to tell him stories to keep them both sane.
Using her long-forgotten power that her grandmother tried to cultivate in her when she was young, she turns her pocket knife into a key and frees herself and the vampire. When the vampires' true plans to decimate and take over the human world within 100 years are uncovered, Rae, a descendant of Onyx Blaise, is recruited by SOF (Special Other Forces) to stop the madness.
The only problem is that her powers were never fully trained and tapped into. With the help of her vampire friend and with enemies at their heels, these two must face the odds to save themselves and all of humanity. Will they succeed? Will Rae be able to control her magic in time to save everyone?
A gripping, high-thrill adventure with lots at stake. The plot and characters are well-developed, and the story is fairly unique and holds the reader's attention. Those who like vampire tales, adventure, fantasy, and apocalyptic books will enjoy reading SUNSHINE.
I rarely give a book five stars, but this is about the best "vampire" book written (and I've read a lot). The writing is excellent and the story is gripping and (dare I say it?) unique, with a dream-like quality that draws in the reader. Of the books I've read, only Steven Brust's "Agyar" compares in quality.
I really liked this book, although I would have liked it more if more of the questions raised in the book would have been answered. The author spends so much time explaining this world, but leaves out great big gaps on the characters. With the telling of the story through Rae's POV, it was hard to feel like the other characters were really fleshed out...she didn't know much about anyone, and I wanted to hear them tell there stories too. I wanted more Constantine--by far the most interesting character but we only get glimpses of him. This book felt like part one of a series but apparently is the only one. Interstesting, a fun read but frustrating because it had so much potential to go from a good read to a fabulous one.
Sunshine is fun and manages to never sound overly dramatic -- a real accomplishment in a genre that generally thrives on blood and melodrama. Very enjoyable, although the ending is abrupt, as many of McKinley's tend to be. It's a great read if you don't mind filling in a lot of blanks yourself.
Rae Seddon, nicknamed Sunshine for her love of daylight, is just your average young woman, with maybe a slightly greater-than-normal interest in the Others: paranormal creatures such as vampires, Weres, and demons. She's a master baker (her cinnamon rolls are to die for) at her stepdad Charlie's coffeehouse, and has a good relationship with her boyfriend Mel. Sunshine's life was going on fine, until the night she decides to drive out to the lake to be alone with her thoughts for a bit, and finds herself smack dab in the middle of an epic ongoing fight between two vampires, Con and Bo.
Once you're in the hands of vampires you're pretty much dead, which is why Sunshine is absolutely terrified of herself when she not only escapes, but manages to save Con from Bo's gang as well. Now she and Con are inexplicably and dangerously linked, and Sunshine is only beginning to realize her magic heritage and the extent of her powers--powers that are wanted by SOF, the "police force" that deals with the Others. Sunshine and Con must form the strangest alliance ever--between humans and vampires--in order to defeat Bo and save each other from sure destruction.
SUNSHINE is quite different from previous Robin McKinley's books I've read and loved. First of all, this IS an adult book, and so some of the themes and content may be uncomfortable for younger readers (although, knowing McKinley readers, most are pretty mature already). Sunshine is also an unusual narrator; I think of her as almost the Jessica Darling of the vampire genre, with her snarky, diary-like commentary, which I enjoyed most of the time except when it got dragged out a bit in the middle and you just wanted to get to what happens next, to the action!
I'm not sure how Twilight fans will respond to this one because vampires are not glorified in SUNSHINE, although Con is attractive in his looming, expressionless way. However, if you are looking for a paranormal book with an extremely strong female protagonist's voice, be sure to check this one out.
This is one of my favorite books and it was so great to revisit it in audio format. Shes an average person, a baker, who finds herself in the middle of vampire turf war. Messy. Yeah, that really sums up a lot of it. But there is a lot more going on in this world that McKinley created. The SOF suits are a complicated bunch. Magic users are suppose to be registered, and if they arent the SOFs can arrest them, or more depending on what the magic users are up to. But the SOFs that keep an eye on Rae have known her for years, and they are far more interested in taking out the dangerous elements of the paranormal community, like vamps. The SOFs also have several interesting secrets of their own.
Then there is Mel, Raes boyfriend. He also works at the bakery. His hobby is working on bikes and riding bikes and making love to Rae. Hes a calm character with lots of tatts. His tatts are the complicated kind that are really wards to keep his skin intact. I so wish to know more about this man, his history, and why he needed such powerful wards at one time in his life. Perhaps from the Voodoo Wars?
And of course we have to talk about the vampires. Theres the rude and crude ones, lead by Beau, that planned to sacrifice Rae to their enemy (Constantine), who they had shackled in an abandoned mansion on the lake. But things dont go as planned and together, Rae and Constantine find a way out of this trap. Their relationship, if it can be called that, becomes the underlying plot line to all the other stuff going on in Raes life.
Just a side note: There is one of the hottest not-a-sex-scene in all of literature in this book. Yeah. You need to read this book.
The world itself is lush with charms that have a mind of their own, weres (werehound, wererabbit, werebears), and remnants of destroyed cities from the Voodoo wars. Rae has been able to wall out this world by and large for years by living simply and working at the bakery. But it comes crashing in as she has to confront the heritage from her fathers side.
Deeply rich in environment, excellent characters, and wonderful plot makes this book one of my favorites and earns it a permanent place on my shelf. Dont particularly care for vampire stories? Yeah, me neither. But I love this book. Its not about vampires; its about Rae and her world and her struggle to keep that world and those people precious to her. Definitely worth the read.
Oh, and Ms. McKinley, if you ever do have a need to write another book in this magnificent world, I would be ever so tickled pink to add it to my permanent bookshelf. Just saying.Oh, and perhaps a companion cookbook as I need to try Raes Death by Bitter Chocolate.
The Narration: Merlington does a fantastic job with Rays voice, perfect fit. She also did a good job with the other female voices. Her male voices sometimes felt like a bit of a stretch in masculinity, but each was distinct and that matters more to me. Overall, a very good performance.