Sunshine

  • ISBN13: 9780515138818
  • Condition: New
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$1.75



Product Description
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 mind. Until they found her.

Recent Comments
  1. Anonymous @ 9:49 pm

    I should say from the start that I do believe Robin McKinley could rewrite the dictionary and it would be interesting, so I’m biased. I have good reason to be biased. McKinley’s skills as a storyteller, as a writer, as a voice for her characters and her worlds is unparallelled.

    Sunshine is not a book about vampires. They are there and they are central to the story, but the book is so much more than that. The best part of the book is that afore mentioned voice. I am not usually a fan of first person storytelling, but Sunshine is full of wry wit and a self-deprecatingly quirky combination of realism, independence, and fancy. I applaud the author for going in a new (if slightly Buffyesque) direction.

    This book obviously isn’t to everyone’s taste, but the writing is still superb and I highly recommend it.

    If it helps, my personal list of Robin McKinley favourites is: The Hero & the Crown, The Blue Sword, Deerskin, and now in 4th place — Sunshine.

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  2. Kotori @ 11:51 pm

    It was with some trepidation that I opened the covers of this latest book by Robin McKinley. As the author of one of my favorite and formative books (Beauty), McKinley has not always provided the sort of reading experience I have been looking for. Deerskin was a particularly dark sojourn into the nasty depths of Brothers Grimm, and although the storytelling was masterful & memorable, it has not ranked as a favorite novel.

    So a vampire tale by McKinley would be different, I knew.

    The surprise came, when it’s a fantastic kind of new!

    With this book reviewers must endeavour please, not to give too much of the plot away. Half the suspense of reading the book is letting the story unfold and allowing the narrator to tell it in her own way & pace.

    Sunshine works as a cook at a small cafe in a seedy and forgotten suburb after a magical holocaust has come across the world, reshaping the landscape of America as we know it.

    She has an uneasy relationship with her mother, and finds herself having a closer acquaintance with a vampire than she had ever planned.

    The gradual unveiling must not be clouded, thus I shall write no more, leaving it to you, the reader, to discover.

    A story rich with ambiance, thick with texture taste and smell, menace hangs heavy in the air only to be washed away by the sharp sunlight and dizzying aroma of delicious cooking – all vividly imagined.

    I salivitated through this book!

    Without the hyperbole, McKinley proves again mastership of her craft, drawing readers on the adventure & into the world more solidly than ought to be possible.

    Having read a library copy, I will now purchase the book as it’s one I would love to keep – I had better make that two, because I know I won’t be able to resist lending this fantastic book to friends!

    Hoping there will be a sequel.

    kotori 2005

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  3. Anonymous @ 1:23 am

    I’m not generally interested in vampire tales. But this is McKinley, and I adore her writing. The only disappointment associated with this book is that it had to end. The tale is masterfully woven, deep and lush, with the kind of thoughtful story-telling that one just doesn’t think of until one reads something written by McKinley and realizes how much more there is to a story. Like others, I would love a sequel, but I know McKinley receives her stories rather than writes them, and like her, we must all be patient and hopeful rather than demanding. One of the elements I love so much about McKinley’s writing is she creates an our world/not our world in her stories. There are cars and mechanics and cinnamon rolls – just like our world – yet there are also a whole host of other kinds of creatures and items that exist matter-of-factly in her worlds that simply don’t exist in ours. Yet when you read about them, there is no disconnect.

    As with any novel, “Sunshine” is not for everyone. It is well suited for those who enjoy beautiful writing, a fantastical plot and atmosphere, a good tale and a good (subtle) moral understory. That said, I feel a small bit of pity for anyone who doesn’t read McKinley’s novels and misses out on her extraordinary talent.

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  4. Anonymous @ 3:14 am

    Sunshine is destined I think, to be one of those books people either love or hate. As a McKinley fan any new book by her is to be welcomed, but having finished this I’m left in the curious position of having liked it in spite of it’s flaws, and thus sympathetic to a number of reviewers who have NOT enjoyed reading it at all. Part of the problem is likely to be the disconnect between the familiar, young adult novelist and fairytale re-teller we’ve come to love and that author departing, so to speak, from the text to try something new. Although I had problems with Sunshine, I’m inclined to give McKinley the benefit of the doubt because I’m always glad to see authors trying to stretch beyond their comfortable niche. Also, I think McKinley has managed to find that most elusive of things, a new take on an over-saturated genre. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed my Anne Rice, Laurell K. Hamilton, Tanya Huff, et al. but the field has gotten over-crowded with similar stories about sexy, bad-boy vampires and the women that love them.

    McKinley’s vampires are genuinely loathsome creatures that aside from being human-shaped, don’t share a lot of similarities with humans. I was convinced Constantine was really was an alien creature who wasn’t wild about having anything to do with a human. Not only that, he’s ugly, smells funny and generally has a terror-inducing presence. He’s definitely not the in-humanely handsome, charming, sexy, and powerful vampire figure that is currently in vogue. And although Sunshine and Con develop a “bond” it is more in the nature of an obligation where the two parties would be just as happy to have nothing to do with one another under better circumstances. Although it doesn’t get explored in depth, Sunshine is legitimately concerned about the morality of choosing to let such an evil creature exist. Now Con is a bad guy who has chosen a different way of un-life than other vampires, but McKinley never really forces Sunshine to confront what that means. He’s obviously less bad than the villain, but by how much? We don’t know because Con never really does anything “evil” except to kill the doe. We don’t know much about his history and that’s a flaw on the author’s part. Depending on how she explored it, his concrete actions would have framed a more compelling dilemma for our heroine than what her generalized understanding of the evil of the Others gave her. But on the whole, I thought her take on vampires was interesting enough that it boosted the book past some serious flaws.

    I also liked the thought that went into Sunshine’s element. A really nice, fresh twist that explores the opposites attract theory in the sense that she is the embodiment of daylight while vampires are the embodiment of darkness, and that by being so much of one she is drawn to the opposite element, much as one coin has two different but connected sides. At the same time, her association with the dark possibly `taints’ her by incorporating vampiric elements like seeing in the dark and sense of direction to her arsenal. Whether the same is true for Con is left open, or perhaps hopefully to be explored in a sequel.

    The biggest problems with this book were the narrative. Sunshine’s first person voice was difficult to connect with. She too often came across as whiny and pathetic, making her hard to sympathize with. When the whole book rests on the singular voice, you want to make an effort to give someone the readers can relate to, though they don’t have to be perfect. The other glaring problem with Sunshine’s voice is that it was too often the vehicle for large exposition dumps. The information was necessary, but I think there were cleverer ways to do that didn’t so obviously break up the flow of the plot. Also, the sentence structures and word choices McKinley uses as Sunshine were awkward to the ear, consistently throwing me out of the flow of the story. I especially was annoyed by the phony slang that felt forcibly inserted to help differentiate this world as futuristic. `Sheer” really bothered me until I decided that it was slang for kosher. The lack of dialogue between characters was equally problematic. I don’t think there was an actual conversation at all between Sunshine and her mom for instance, and without conversation between Sunshine and the other characters, they never really got a chance to become fleshed-out. Mel was a prime example. He’s this intriguing guy, little bit bad-boy but a cook and you know he’s got something going on, but what? Heck, we don’t even get to see inside Con’s head. I just wish that there has been more to connect me to the other characters. I will say there were some funny comments and observations but on the whole, the structure of the writing was very disjointed. Perhaps that fact I felt compelled to struggle past those flaws should be attributed to the strength of the basic story.

    When Sunshine tells Con the tale of Beauty and the Beast, I think McKinley is definitely alluding to Sunshine as being a modern re-telling of the Beauty and the Beast, inserting the vampire for the Beast. I was also reminded of two of my favorite books by her, The Blue Sword and The Hero and the Crown, both structurally and in similar characters. This is definitely a book that with more polish and trim could have been a McKinley classic. As it stands I think this book is symptomatic of a writer’s growing pains as she tries to explore some familiar themes in a new way. Sunshine is a strong story that ultimately fails in it’s execution. I’d definitely read a sequel, one where hopefully McKinley’s very well-deserved story, character building and writing skills can really shine.

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  5. Anna N. @ 4:16 am

    Whether or not you like this book (regardless of how many other McKinley books you’ve read) seems to depend on if you like her new style. This book is not written in McKinley’s ephemeral, fairy-tale-like style that is prevalent in the majority of her other books; this is a new style to go with a new world.

    The world in this book is solid, it is THERE, and it feels so real that it can be difficult to come back to the real world once you’ve sunk into Sunshine’s. One of the reasons for this, and one of the many reasons I enjoy this book so much, is the vast amount of detail that’s written in, including fascinating tidbits about how the things that don’t exist in our real world work – how different species of “demons” look and act, which ones can interbreed with humans and what happens when they do, which ones are all bad, and so on.

    Sunshine herself is a more solid character than McKinley’s other heroines. She doesn’t want to be the heroine, she doesn’t want anything exciting to happen, and she doesn’t go out of her way to make anything happen; she just wants to be left alone to bake cinnamon rolls in her little corner of the world.

    In some ways, this book reminds me of good science fiction writing; one of the most important aspects of good SF is the explanation of how the world works. In most other genres – including most fantasy – the reader already knows how things work, the laws of the universe and the species of animals or humans that will be included. The amount of explanation necessary in SF is so much more, because all of those things that are usually taken for granted are different and must be explained.

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