So I am finally writing a review on one of my favourite stories – Robin McKinely’s Sunshine. While it’s a favourite now, it did not start that way. When I first started to read the story, I found it rather frustrating. It was as though McKinley dropped you into the middle of the story with no background or introductions. You just hit the ground running, and were expected to keep up. I can see this turning many readers off, given that the story is situated in an alternate reality, however, it is well worth giving it a chance. It is set on Earth, a bit in the future, where there are all sorts of mythical creatures – from vampires and werewolves, to wizards and succubi. There had just been a battle between the humans and the vampires, and while it would seem while the humans had won the battle, the vampires were in the process of winning the war. The story follows Sunshine, a talented baker at her mother and step-father’s diner. Her biological father was a powerful wizard, and it turns out she inherited more from him than anyone had realized. It’s a good thing, too, because she is going to need it considering she is kidnapped by a group of vampires.
Once I was able to let go of the fact that I would never know the whole story of this world, and just let the author lead me through the adventure, I enjoyed it immensely. McKinley would provide just enough information, at just the right times, to really build the suspense, develop characters, and forward the plot line. I was hooked, and I read the story in a matter of days. Then I read it again – it is one of those stories that you should read at least twice. The second time through, I picked up more of the story that I had missed the first time. I also had more questions, making me sincerely wish that there were more books to follow. McKinley could have made this into a brilliant trilogy. Though she satisfactorily wraps up the plot line within this novel, she does leave the reader wondering about the overall fate of humankind within the story.
Sunshine is an engrossing, highly entertaining, mildly dark story, and I highly recommend it to any adult or teen fantasy lover. It is not your typical vampire story. Just read it!!