Published: 2004 by Jove
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
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Normally I’m not a fan of vampire novels, largely because I’ve met far too many Twilight fans. However, Robin McKinley was one of my favorite authors as a teenager, and so when I saw that she had written a novel for grown-ups, I decided to give it a chance.
The story is set in a post-apocalyptic world where vampires are a genuine threat to humanity, and are thoroughly evil. The protagonist, Rae, is a young waitress who is a bit less careful than normal after a fight with her mother and accidentally gets captured by vampires. She is chained to a wall and left next to Constantine, a vampire who is being held prisoner in sort of a vampire equivalent of gang rivalry. Instead of eating her, Constantine asks Rae to tell him stories. Rae eventually remembers her childhood lessons in magic, and she and Constantine work to escape.
Overall, this isn’t a traditional vampire novel. Vampires aren’t hot or sparkly, but instead are viewed as abhorrent to all. Rae’s biggest challenge in the novel is whether or not it is morally acceptable to help Constantine. I’m glad I decided to give this book a chance. I don’t think that there is much that sets Sunshine apart from McKinley’s YA books, but then, I always thought that her YA books were spectacularly written and were only considered YA because they didn’t talk about sex.
Note: Just realized that at first glance, this seems kind of like the movie Black Snake Moan, but with vampires. McKinley wrote Sunshine first, any similarities are coincidental.