I finished reading Sunshine this morning while I was at my car dealership, waiting for new snow tires to be put on and that pesky right-front sway bar link to be replaced.

I haven’t ever read anything by Robin McKinley before but I know a lot of her books are retellings of fairy tales. Spindle’s End is about ‘Sleeping Beauty’, Beauty is about ‘Beauty and the Beast’, Rose Daughter is also about ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and Deerskin is loosely based on that classic fairy tale ‘Donkeyskin.’ While I’m a fan of fantasy and other books about fairy tales retold, I didn’t really flow with the way that the author wrote this one.

The main character, Rae (a.k.a. “Sunshine) is a baker and leads a pleasantly normal life until she’s kidnapped by vampires. The story takes place in our time but, let’s say, “in another dimension.” Vampires, magic handlers and demons are understood to be real and dangerous/problematic enough to the extent where there needs to be two police forces: regular old cops for regular old people matters and a Special Other Force who deal with the other (special) things. The story moves along quickly and McKinley really keeps the vampires frighteningly removed from the reader. Other stories often humanize vampires to the point where they become your new best friend or your best new lover. I know for me, I don’t want to hang out with or have sex with a walking, talking dead body.

The only negative thing I can say about the book is that there were a few points in the story when I became frustrated and was like, “Get on with it.” McKinley writes in a stream-of-conscious style so that anything Sunshine thinks, feels, ponders, notices, etc can go on for pages and pages. The one part I’m thinking of kind of went:

[Something exciting happens. Sunshine turns to head.]
“Sunshine. What do you see?”
[Fours pages of what she might see, what she might or might not feel if she saw something good or bad, what she’d rather be doing right now other what she’s doing, starts thinking about everything that’s happened over the last four months…]
“What? Oh. Nothing. There’s nothing there.”

WHAT?! If it was nothing, why did I have to read four pages of inner monologue that Sunshine usually repeats every 30 or so pages? I expressed this frustration to my sister, who adores all of McKinley’s books and said, “That’s just the way she writes. I like it. You don’t like it?” No, not really. I guess it would like take a while to get used to.

All in all, this book is exciting, absorbing and a must read for those of you into vampire, werewolf and other supernatural books.

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