Saturday, March 15, 2008


Sunshine, by Robin McKinley

Adult (shocking, I know!)/Horrorish/Fantasy/Vampires

Robin McKinley, one of my own personal goddesses for her fabulous fairy tale retellings and, need I even mention it, affiliation with all things Sherwood, branched out into the world of we're-definitely-not-in-the-children's-section-anymore writing with Sunshine way back in 2004, and it took me this long to brave the leap to adulthood. This is very much an adult book, though likely most appealing to a younger adult reader audience for its high gothic meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer sensibilities.

Rae Seddon, aka Sunshine, is one of the best baker's in town. Town happens to be a city largely decimated in the Vodoo Wars and now largely at risk from various Others (weres, demons, etc.), and in particular the vampires. In Sunshine's world the vampires control over a fifth of the world's wealth, and might even take over the world within the next 100 years. One night, Sunshine is feeling a little claustrophobic with life, and decides to drive out to the lake where her family had a cottage prior to the wars. This turns out to be a mistake, as she is kidnapped by a troop of vampires who dress her in a sweeping blood red gothic-type gown and chain her to the wall in the same room as another vampire they also have chained to a wall. The captive vampire is Constantine, who is being tortured with sunlight and deprivation by his arch enemy Bo, short for Beauregarde.

Con happens to be a fairly dreamy vampire, as they always are. Sunshine and Con form a somewhat tenuous alliance in their attempt to escape captivity and to bring down the other baddies.

It all sounds a little hokey when I write it out like that. But it isn't. I promise. It is a really great read. Robin McKinley infuses Sunshine's narrative with a light, humorous, honest, voice, and you get to care about the character. The first person narrative draws you in, and you begin to feel, like Sunshine, that what you create in your own brain is always the most scary. The plot drives along quickly. It is scary, but not so scary that I suffered nightmares. More scary in the sense of really suspenseful.

A fun read for grown-up fans of Robin McKinley, as well as readers of the vampire or girl with hidden powers as hero genres.


faerie-writer said...

Have you ever read Canadian author Nancy Baker's vampire book 'The Night Inside?' That McKinley plotline is *very* similar to Baker's 1993 book in which an imprisoned vampire and human help each other escape.

MadJenny said...

I haven't! I'll have to check that out at the library. My vampire reading has been shamefully limited.