Title: Sunshine
Author: Robin McKinley
Pub: 2003; Berkley Publishing Group
Pages: 405
Genre: Fantasy

Vampire skin looks like hell in sunlight by the way. Maybe bursting into flames is to be preferred. - 64

I can already hear your moans - ANOTHER vampire book? OH BUT WHY?!?

Heh. Or at least that's what I thought to myself when I realized that it was another vampire book. You see, I impulsively purchased Sunshine because (a) the cover is absolutely gorgeous and eery (b) I really liked Robin McKinley's Deerskin and (c) Neil Gaiman said: "Pretty much perfect." Uh, hello? Neil claims it's almost perfect? Pshaw. Who cares if it's another vampire book.

Meet Sunshine. She's this young baker girl who lives by herself and works the bakery that's ran by her family. Sunshine et al live in this quasi magical world where there are vampires and werewolves and magicians (oh my) amongst the normal people. Oh yeah, and there are these CIA agents (that really kinda reminded me of Men in Black) who keep track of anyone who has any n-th of magical powers. So, let's say that your second cousin's aunt who may not be blood related to you but just might has some magical inclinations. You are stamped as an Other and they keep an eye on you. Most are not noteworthy. But Sunshine is. Because her father was this great and powerful magician. (I thought of a mix between Voldermort and Dumbledore).

Moving along. Sunshine gets kidnapped by these vampires who bring her to this dungeon to entice a shackled vampire into submission. This begins a unique and interesting friendship. Using Sunshine's powers (unbeknownst to her at prior) they escape and unite forces to overtake the evil.

I know that the plot seems pretty lackluster, and in many ways, it was. This is not a book that will stay with me. Not a story that I will be compelled to think about further. Perhaps Neil and I might have to agree to disagree. Sunshine was a enjoyable read but rather forgettable.

What I did like immensely however is the portrayal of vampires. They didn't sparkle. There was no torrid love affair. Or love triangle for that matter. The vampires in Sunshine could "compel" of sorts, so I'm thinking that vampires IRL can too.

Perhaps I wouldn't run out and purchase this book, but if you're in the library and you are looking for a fantasy read, as a newbie to the genre, I'd say go for it.


  1. This seems to be a book that has varied reviews. I do own it but I have yet to read it. I hope to soon though.

  2. I've heard such mixed things about this one, but it sounds like one that I think I would really like! And yeah..I'm with you that if something gets the Neil stamp of approval then you have to at least give it a try :p

  3. Sunshine improves for me on rereads, if that's any recommendation. I liked it the first time I read it, and I've liked it more and more each time I've read it thereafter. A lot of the things that bugged me about it the first time turned out to be less enormous problems than I had initially supposed. McKinley's not my favorite author, but Sunshine's close to being my favorite book by her.

  4. A friend of mine reviewed this book for Estella's Revenge E-Zine a couple of years ago, and I remember not being bowled over by the premise, but I was happy that it resisted other, more typical vampire storylines (love triangles, etc.). Will get it from the 'brary if it catches my eye!


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