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Sunshine
Sunshine
Sunshine
Audiobook15 hours

Sunshine

Written by Robin McKinley

Narrated by Laural Merlington

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

4/5

()

About this audiobook

There are places in the world where darkness rules, where it's unwise to walk. Sunshine knew that. But there hadn't been any trouble out at the lake for years, and she needed a place to be alone for a while.



Unfortunately, she wasn't alone. She never heard them coming. Of course you don't, when they're vampires.



They took her clothes and sneakers. They dressed her in a long red gown. And they shackled her to the wall of an abandoned mansion-within easy reach of a figure stirring in the moonlight.



She knows that he is a vampire. She knows that she's to be his dinner and that when he is finished with her, she will be dead. Yet, as dawn breaks, she finds that he has not attempted to harm her. And now it is he who needs her to help him survive the day.
LanguageEnglish
PublisherTantor Audio
Release dateDec 8, 2008
ISBN9781400180080
Author

Robin McKinley

Robin McKinley has won various awards and citations for her writing, including the Newbery Medal for The Hero and the Crown, a Newbery Honor for The Blue Sword, and the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature for Sunshine. Her other books include the New York Times bestseller Spindle’s End; two novel-length retellings of the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Beauty and Rose Daughter; Deerskin, another novel-length fairy-tale retelling, of Charles Perrault’s Donkeyskin; and a retelling of the Robin Hood legend, The Outlaws of Sherwood. She lives with her husband, the English writer Peter Dickinson; three dogs (two hellhounds and one hell terror); an 1897 Steinway upright; and far too many rosebushes.

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Reviews for Sunshine

Rating: 3.999494183105716 out of 5 stars
4/5

1,977 ratings178 reviews

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  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    Rae Seddon, commonly known as Sunshine, quite happy to make cinnamon rolls and have all her life around the bakery, decides to go to the lake which proves to be trouble. In her words, "it was a dumb thing to do, but not that dumb".Because there are dark things about, and the darkest of the Others are vampires, and of course, Sunshine is kidnapped by them. And no-one escapes vampires.Wait, don't run. I know I said vampires, and with a character named Sunshine and this description you are thinking "oh no, not another vampire urban fantasy". I also groan at the thought of yet another vampire book (even though I've read very few of those). Yep, this is urban fantasy. Yep, there are vampires. But this is what urban fantasy should be like.Sunshine is told in a kind of different way - and it takes some getting used to. It is told in the first person by Sunshine, but more like she is thinking. Do you know when you are remembering something, and rehearsing how you are going to tell it to someone, and the thoughts seem to ramble and deviate and then get back on track? That's how this book is. And I loved it. It resonates with my thoughts and makes you actually pay attention to reading because a missed paragraph can make you stare at the page thinking "how the hell did we get here!?". This, together with the plot, means that it is a complex book, but in no way is it complicated.As a character, Sunshine is great. She is flawed, she gets angry, she can do great things and actually be astonished that she can do them. She is human, and so believable that is like she is there. This is her story, and as such we get to see so much of her.And then there are the vampires. I would say to forget all the romantic notions of vampires, but that wouldn't be quite right. There is a kind of gothic feel to it, and wooden stakes are still your best friend (as well as day-time and sunshine). But they are different than most vampires seen in fiction, there's an otherliness to them that suits them.Another thing that I loved was the fact that until the very ending I was still learning about this world, which is so alike and so different from our own. The information comes in bits and pieces as Sunshine mentions them, the mental picture forms slowly and a bit haphazardly, but there is a sense that there are still parts of the town unknown to me, and that they exist with a life of their own, not just as backdrop.Sunshine is a different book for sure, and is hard to talk about it without people jumping to clichés. This is vampire urban fantasy by the mere fact that it is set in a city and there are vampires. Everything else is new and fresh.Also at Spoilers and Nuts
  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
    3/5
    The premise: I can't remember where I ganked the premise from initially for the book club, but I did gank it from somewhere: Sunshine's mundane existence as the head baker at Charlie's Coffeehouse takes an unexpected turn when she drives to her grandmother's secluded summer camp. While she is taking in the scenic view of the starlit sky reflecting off the lake's calm surface, she is attacked by a gang of vampires and brought to an abandoned mansion on the far side of the lake. They strip her of her shoes, dress her in a blood-red gown, and shackle her to a wall. In the semi-darkness of the moonlit room, she realizes that a vampire is shackled next to her.My RatingGive It Away: The hype may have raised my expectations WAY too high on this one, I'll admit. Here's the thing, I appreciate what the book is doing and when it was doing it. I like that the vampires are not romantic heroes, that they look like monsters and are meant to incite fear. I like that our heroine responds to this horror like a normal person going through shock, unlike your typical urban fantasy heroine who clearly has no idea how badly she needs therapy. However, the writing style really taxed me and made my reading much more difficult than it would've been otherwise. And maybe it's me having WAY too many workshops telling me the do's and don'ts of writing, so I look at this as McKinley embracing too many don'ts. My critical brain was in overdrive, but I'm willing to chalk that up to a me-thing simply because, hey, this book is a best-seller and who am I to judge? I did, however, wish that McKinley had answered more questions than she raised, especially since this book is meant to be a stand-alone, even though it EASILY reads like the first in a series. Oh, sure, the main storyline resolves, but when the book is over, I'm left feeling a little underwhelmed.I wish I'd liked this book better though. I expected to, given the praise I'd heard and given how enjoyable McKinley was to work with in her guest blog. But the book didn't work for me, and that's going to happen (again, I think my expectations were WAY too high). Whether or not I'll try a different McKinley title in the future will thoroughly depend on whether or not the premise grabs me. So I'm sad, but I'm glad this book hits a sweet spot with so many other readers. :)Review style: Two categories, what I liked and what I didn't. I'm probably going to bore you with talk about writing styles, but I have a lot to say about this one in regards to the story. I also plan on discussing the nature of stand-alone books that can also be the first in a series, and whether or not Sunshine owes it to its readers to have a sequel or stay all by its lonesome. Very vague spoilers, so if those wig you out, just skip to the "My Rating" section of the review and you'll be in good shape. The rest of you, read on! :)REVIEW: Robin McKinley's SUNSHINEHappy Reading!
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    This is not one of your typical vampire books. In fact, it is more about Rae "Sunshine" Seddons, a young baker, who happens to get thrown into a situation where she actually saves a vampire named Constantine by using an unlikely power of her own...sunlight. The pairing is surprising and their friendship and what the consequences mean are written in a way that is clear an interesting to the reader.I read a lot of books and many of them don't surprise me like this one did. That is what made this novel a joy to discover.I want to thank my friend Annie who let me borrow this book. She truly has good taste in authors.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    I always find it a little interesting which books grab the public eye and explode and which do not. This book was fantastic. Far better than any of the Sookie books. Yet Harris' series has exploded into the bestseller list. If you like vampires than do not skip reading this book.
  • Rating: 1 out of 5 stars
    1/5
    I tried. I was reading "200 Years of Dover-Foxcroft History" by Louis Stevens. I will finish that book. Could not finish this one. It was too boring/painful to read. I was also reading People of the Wolf by Kathleen O'Neal Gear and W. Michael Gear, and had the same opinion. Maybe reading three books at one time is just something I do not have the skill to do. 7/13/2016, 4,431 members; 4..07 average rating
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    This was at times a slow novel, and at other times a very fast novel. The writing was a bit different than I am used to, with what seemed to be a lot of run on sentences, but despite that I ended up mostly liking the way this story was told. Perhaps less "filler" information could have made it even better? I liked the characters the most. I liked that you got a sense of the characters by the little they said or didn't say. There is a lot of honesty in this story. I like that almost as well as the characters. Or perhaps that is why I like the characters so much. A good read.
  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
    3/5
    When I first started reading this book I thoght it was going to be great. The world-building was first rate, even including some new words specific to that world. It was recognizable this world (not another planet) but an alternative one with supernatural creatures. I liked th characters and the plot and for the first third it went really well. Then the heroine kept whining, and self-pitying, and worrying about her new powers and how she would be a bad person now. If this happened once or twice, it would have been OK but it went on and again and again and ... Totally repetitious. The book slowed down for me and I almost didn't finish it. The end would have been all right but it felt like it was of those book endings that suggest that the book was the first of a series. I have really liked the others of McKinley's books I have read. I disliked this one.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    vampires, good, evil, fantasy, families, LRC, KS4
  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
    3/5
    yes I abandoned it, but no, it's not a terrible book. Robin MckInley is good. And this book has all of the elements that made me love Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But I'm just not in the mood.
    Admittedly, I become very hard to please when at the end of a long pregnancy. With Leo, I was only able to read food and family memoirs until the end. ...

  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    This book makes me hungry. All the baking stuff! The book is completely rich with detail, the character and world-building is glorious.

    Edit now I've reread:

    Sunshine was a reread, but it's been a while and some things were a surprise to me all over again. I was worried it wouldn't stand up to a reread: I skimmed a couple of other reviews and saw that people had some pretty negative things to say about it. And I certainly saw the truth in the things that were said, but I also enjoyed reading the book again. It helps that it's an incredibly rich experience. The writing appeals a lot to my synaesthesia. It's pretty sensual writing as it is: there's a lot of detail, a lot of talk about cooking, and also a lot of feeling. Descriptions of sight and smell and hearing.

    The whole book is written in first person POV. The main character is Sunshine, and she's "not your average heroine", as they say. She has no ambition, she's not all that smart, she's not that brave, and she'd quite happily live in her bakery all her life. Some people find her hard to like, but I think she's quite human and although she does get a lot of power, eventually able to kill vampires with her bare hands, she doesn't want it and she's scared of it. I find the writing interesting and absorbing, but I'm sure for some people it's too rambling and/or dense. It does take her an awful long time to do something as simple as log onto the internet equivalent.

    The book is set in a post-apocalyptic world where magic, vampires, demons and succubi -- to name a few -- exist. All those kinds of things are for real. This could be 'our world in the future' given the references to Bram Stoker, or an alternate reality. It's never made exactly clear, but I suspect the latter because of the slang words the characters use -- "carthaginian hell", "spartan", "sheer". I like that there's no explanation of the slang, given that the book is narrated by someone who is a part of that world. You just don't really think about that kind of thing in normal life: why would you? Sometimes Sunshine explains things that shouldn't need explaining, like how to kill vampires, but you can't avoid doing exposition entirely!

    The thing that really impresses me about this is that the vampires aren't overly sexualised, and while Constantine is still an ally, he remains unsettling. Okay, there are a couple of scenes in which Sunshine has chemistry with him, but she's also more often than not aware that there's something vastly different about him. He moves differently, he looks different, there's no heartbeat... I like the way it ends on an awkward note, with them not quite sure what's going to happen now but not wanting to lose contact with each other.

    A lot of the more minor characters are completely fascinating and have big backstories that we clearly barely glimpse -- Mel, Yolande, Sunshine's grandmother, the goddess of pain, the SOFs in general... There's a lot to work with in this world, and I'd really love to see a sequel.

    My main problem with this book is how it made me crave cinnamon rolls. Argh!
  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
    3/5
    At first I was rapturously excited about Sunshine. At last!, I thought, I had found a suitably smart alternative to the despicable Twilight, a similar-but-better book I could recommend to vampire-crazed customers to ease them into reading superior fantasy. The titular heroine is capable with a variety of talents ranging from the domestic to the magical and the vampires are actually, you know, dangerous but vulnerable, retaining the tension that makes them interesting. Strong female lead, well-rounded supporting characters, intriguing chemistry between the leads, and vampires-as-they-should-be. It really should have been a perfect book.

    Alas, Robin McKinley goes overboard with her stream-of-conscious infodumpy style. Now, I happen to really enjoy intricate, info-dumpy worldbuilding--I adore Neal Stephenson and China Mieville, for example--but McKinley does it so constantly (and at the most inappropriate times, like in the middle of what should be a tense vampiric confrontation) that even my considerable indulgence was strained. Sunshine is perfect, yes: a perfect example of 'too much of a good thing.' To use one of the book's recurring digressions as an example, the first few times McKinley shot away on a baked-goods spiral I was with her in full: I love cinnamon rolls as much as everyone and it was charming to read them so loving described. After about the billionth time McKinley interrupted the plot to extol Sunshine's delicious desserts I started to get a sugar hangover by proxy. Maybe a harsher editor could have helped make the book as lovely as it should have been...?

    In the end, I did enjoy the book. The characters were memorable, the world was interesting, and the ending was sighingly perfect. However, it is not the Twilight alternative I have been searching for. I seriously doubt the recommendability of this book--I certainly don't feel confident in handing it off to most of the Twilighters.
  • Rating: 1 out of 5 stars
    1/5
    This was so slow and boring. I'm sorry, but I wasn't even able to finish this one. So I don't know if it gets any better after I stopped reading, which I don't even remember where I was in the book.

    Also, I find the way this was written to be very confusing. I've read a couple of the authors other books (though it was long long ago) and don't remember being confused by her writing style.

    In the first ten pages or so we're introduced to way too many people. And not even properly introduced because they don't get any "air time" (until page nine when only one does). It's just the main character rattling off names and thinking about these people. Only a few are described in depth. With some we aren't let onto who they are until a few paragraphs or a few pages after their name is mentioned. Sometimes she stops thinking about someone, then starts up again later on without mentioning who. Then I have to go back and try to figure out who she's talking about. At least two weren't described at all and are only mentioned in passing. It doesn't seem like they're important to the main character or to the story. I don't care if there's someone named Sally hanging out at someones house if all we learn about her is her name. The main characters thoughts are so chaotic. I guess it's normal in the way that most people think about others in their life. But she's supposed to be the narrator introducing us to these characters, so it doesn't work and only makes things confusing.

    As the story continues she occasionally rattles of more names, in either flashbacks or from just thinking about people in general. I don't remember if any of the minor characters mentioned in the beginning were the ones who were mentioned later on or if those were new people. With so many names being thrown at me, and no personalities or physical descriptions to connect them with, it's hard to remember them all.

    Too many and too long flashbacks. Sometimes they were important to the story. Sometimes it's just about her baking... She's obsessed with it. And I hate when she randomly starts talking about baking to the vampire. And apparently it's contagious, because soon the vampire is using baking metaphors.

    There were a few long info dumps. Sunshine keeps rambling on and on about different things and soon the subject is completely different than what caused the info dump in the first place. Though I'm glad that I found out that there are were-chickens in this world. Even thought it has nothing to do with the story, it was funny!

    In one of the long info dumps, we started to be informed about something from the far past (years before her kidnapping) and then suddenly we seemed to be in the present and near past (the few weeks after the kidnapping). No space between the paragraphs. No warning or transition. I then started to wonder what I just read that took place in the far past and what was supposed to be the present/near past. I went back to re-read the last couple pages, but was unable to tell.

    Sunshine and her vampire friend are pretty much the only ones we get to hear from directly. It's rare when any of the other characters get a line. We only hear from them through Sunshine's thoughts and her telling us, usually in past tense, what a character did or said. We're being told, not shown.

    Overall, the plot is very interesting. But the majority of the book is taken up by info dumps, flashbacks, details of the cafe business, Sunshine's thoughts on baking, and other random thoughts of hers. Pages and pages go by without any dialog, action, or anything relevant to the plot.
  • Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
    2/5
    This was another book that disappointed me greatly. McKinley is a fine and engaging writer and has produced some of my favorite repeat reading. I had a lot of expectations for this book, but in the end I felt let down.

    Sunshine is an interesting character -- or, at least, a potentially interesting character. She works very hard not to be interesting, to be as ordinary and unnoticed as possible. This wasn't a bad choice, but her (and the author's) success in this didn't help the novel.

    Then there was the world -- a well built world of which we are given tantalizing hints, but little else. Something Happened, and the world changed, and now magic and vampires are around, etc. But Sunshine doesn't venture into the world. She does her best to be ordinary, etc. (even though, as the heroine of the novel, we already KNOW she is special. It's there in the fantasy book contract.)

    Finally the biggest problem for me -- the final battle. Everything builds up to this very important climactic moment -- and it rushes by in a blur of nobody looking, nobody noticing. In fact, it was over in about 4 paragraphs, if that much. I swear, it's as if we were climbing up the first hill on the rollercoaster, full of anticipation of that thrilling, terrible first drop, only to find we were back at the loading platform.

    The big part of my disappointment was that it did not NEED to be disappointing. McKinley is a writer with the chops and power to have carried off even this unusual set of characters and situations. But she didn't. She opted out, went home, and put up her feet before the book was really done. And I just don't get over that.
  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
    3/5
    This is much more adult than McKinley's other works that I've read. It's also my least favorite. But, the worst of McKinley still=way better than a lot of other authors.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    This is not one of your typical vampire books. In fact, it is more about Rae "Sunshine" Seddons, a young baker, who happens to get thrown into a situation where she actually saves a vampire named Constantine by using an unlikely power of her own...sunlight. The pairing is surprising and their friendship and what the consequences mean are written in a way that is clear an interesting to the reader.I read a lot of books and many of them don't surprise me like this one did. That is what made this novel a joy to discover.I want to thank my friend Annie who let me borrow this book. She truly has good taste in authors.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    Robin McKinley's foray into urban fantasy territory is well-written, but uneven.I've had this book in my to-read pile for two years now, having heard good thing about it as a dark, non-sparkly vampire story. I read several of McKinley's books as a teenager and liked them well enough, but I read Spindle's End earlier this year and was really disappointed. Therefore, I put off reading Sunshine even longer--and then I had to choose a new book the day before Halloween, and decided I couldn't get more Halloween than old-fashioned vampires.I almost didn't make it past the first 20 pages.The book starts slow. Achingly slow. There's no magic. It just feels like the ramblings of a very normal baker; mind you, baking is one of my prime hobbies, but it's not what I wanted to read about here. Then the fantasy element finally enters as the vampires nab her, and there's an Infodump from Hell. I strongly considered putting the book away, fearing the rest of the book would be that boring and uneven.However, I decided to stick with it, and I'm glad I did. McKinley's world here is fascinating: humanity struggling to survive after Voodoo Wars killed many, leaving spots of blighted earth in the war's wake. There are no good vampires, which makes Rae's alliance with Constantine all the more dangerous. The powers she develops are particularly interesting. The cast of characters is wide and sometimes difficult to keep straight, but their personalities are a delight. I also love that it was not a vampire-human romance, as that holds no appeal for me (and that goes back way before Twilight ever existed).I became more interested in the book after 50 pages, and absolutely hooked after the first 100. That said, it was still plagued by Rae's rambling monologues that completely kill the momentum at times. I like first person perspective and write it in quite often, but it feels overkill here; this type of first person POV is why some readers loathe it.I can see why the book ranks highly as a modern classic in the genre, as it has many brilliant twists on old tropes of vampires and magic, but it's not one I will read again.