Sunshine by Robin McKinley is a smart interesting look at vampires, and adds to the genre. The opening is really great what if a vampire and it’s victim were chained together, the vampire doesn’t want to bite her but might not have a choice. That opening is great and offers a lot of promise, but the story to its credit goes in a different way. My problem is it takes away of a lot of the danger, the gang of vampires who were scary at first somehow don’t feel like a bigger threat then her friends and family finding out she has been hiding a big vampire secret. The world building is one of the best things and learning about all the magic and different creatures that are out there. Wereskunks!! I almost want a whole novel about the unfortunate creature, that is the wereskunk. The romance is a lot of longing, than actually getting together, but every time they touch it means more, and she has a human boyfriend (I feel sorry for this guy). The book title also the lead characters name, and the you know thing most deadly to Vampires (except in Twilight of course), are tied in really nicely. The book had some great humor in it’s observation of the vampire mythos. The ending is more of a whimper than the bang I was expecting. Sunshine was published on November 30th 2004.

Plot Summary: Sunshine is your average early riser baker, when she cooks it’s like magic. She enjoy’s her time soaking in the sun with a good book about the Others (vampires, demons, zombies, and were-creature) all who are real in this world. There was a Voodoo war not too long ago that kept most at bay, now there is a police force to deal with humans and the SOF who deal in the supernatural. Sunshine needs to be alone and takes a stroll at a secluded lake. She’s kidnapped by vampires, and chained to a room with another vampire, who the other vampire’s taunt. They cut Sunshine and leave her chained a few feet away from a starving vampire. Can she escape? Can she convince a vampire not to feast?

What I Liked: The world building is really good and well thought out with decades of history. I liked the magic system when that does come into effect. I liked the way Sunlight was used. I really loved the character of Yolande the land lady of the barn house and the secrets she keeps. The first act is really great we get all the history and the conflict of a human and a vampire to chained together. One of the better first acts to a story that I’ve read. I liked all the tidbits about baking. The humor it’s not laugh out loud but really subtle and gave me a chuckle or 2. I did like the one sex scene was one of the rawest I’ve read and it’s a good thing no metaphors, just exactly what is going on.

What I Disliked: Sadly almost everything after that incredible first act. The novel goes to a stand still with the enemy so far in the shadows that he barely exist and does feel like a threat. The pace was all off on this book, it did not help that there is only 4 chapters in a 400 page book. The final vampire conflict was hard to follow and over with barely any tension.

Recommendation: This review was a hard one since it is so mixed, but I can not recommend this book even with one of the best opening acts. I think for readers to enjoy it be ready for a different kind of vampire story and a slow burn story with good world building. I rated Sunshine by Robin McKinley 3 out of 5 stars. 

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