Review–Sunshine by Robin McKinley



by Robin McKinley

Summary: There are places in the world where darkness rules, where it's unwise to walk. But there hadn't been any trouble out at the lake for years, and Sunshine just needed a spot where she could be alone with her thoughts. Vampires never entered her mind.
Until they found her...

Source: I purchased a hardcover from a used bookstore.
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Sunshine was not a gothic romance or paranormal romance, though the synopsis can be somewhat misleading. It is not a horror novel, either, despite the cover. Instead, Sunshine is a standalone urban fantasy set in a world that included Weres, sorcerers, demons, vampires, and just about any Other types of supernatural beings you could think of. There was a war, or set of wars, that led to a lot of destruction, but Sunshine’s town was relatively safe.
She took a drive out to a lake where she used to meet with her grandmother a long time ago, but that lake wasn’t as safe as she’d thought. She found herself chained to a wall next to a dying vampire and the rule was that no one ever escaped from vampires. Somehow, Sunshine wasn’t quite human and had no idea. She had certain powers and was able to save herself and the dying vampire, mostly because he had been very polite and didn’t try to kill her during their captivity, despite her being chained next to him as bait.
I loved the world, Sunshine’s history and connection to the supernatural, and even her abilities. I loved that vampires weren’t sought after in this world and were every bit as dangerous as you’d expect.
However, there were some things I felt were lacking. As much as I love standalone novels, I don’t think urban fantasy should ever have just one book. Especially when the main character decided to veer off on tangents for most of the novel. I feel like not enough happened, that I didn’t get enough closure, and that I didn’t really get to know any characters. I felt like Sunshine spent the majority of the novel in denial and she didn’t love working at the café as much as she professed (and she talked about it all the time). I also didn’t think she liked her boyfriend very much. I could tell she was isolated and I didn’t believe that she really liked waking up at 4 am and making cinnamon rolls every day.
Sunshine could have been an awesome novel if the main character didn’t ramble on so much. I would have forgiven it all had it been the first book of a series and I was promised more books in which I knew I could watch Sunshine grow and admit some of the things I noticed to herself and learn more about who she was and what her history was. Because I’m not getting this, I thought the book was disappointing overall.
I’m confused about all of the praise. It’s not that it wasn’t good, it’s just that it was weird, short, and Sunshine wasn’t very likeable. The characters weren’t well developed and I just feel like I got a tiny glimpse of what could have been an awesome world.

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