Customer Reviews for

Sunshine

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

Just gets better every time I reread it.

For those readers who have never read McKinley before, who exist on a diet of paranormal romance or Laurell K. Hamilton or Anne Rice or Twilight, I say you must read Sunshine. The world McKinley creates in this novel goes well beyond the edges of the page, and it only g...
For those readers who have never read McKinley before, who exist on a diet of paranormal romance or Laurell K. Hamilton or Anne Rice or Twilight, I say you must read Sunshine. The world McKinley creates in this novel goes well beyond the edges of the page, and it only gets richer on rereading. The characters have width and depth and color and not a single one is simple or easy to understand. The narrative voice is pitch-perfect, the themes of light and dark and blood and cleanliness always serving the story and adding depth. Best of all, it makes its vampires feel new, not least by avoiding making them sexy and glamorous but rather, well, undead.

For those who are avid readers of McKinley -- as I am -- Sunshine is on the surface a wild departure from her other works, but in its bones is the culmination of everything that came before. It has the requisite McKinley heroine: mistrusted and awkward, struggling to carve out an unconventional place only to have that place snatched away by events out of her control, but ultimately discovering herself and her past just in time to meet the darkness seeking her. It has the love of myth and fairy tale that led McKinley to retell the Robin Hood myth, retell the story of Sleeping Beauty, and retell Beauty and the Beast not once, but twice. It has the necessity of going on after the climactic battle, starting to put the pieces of a life back together when all has been torn apart multiple times, the sense of hope that it is possible warring with the sense that the person inside has changed too much to fit in any normal happy life from now on.

Most of all, it has many, many echoes of Deerskin, which I consider to be McKinley's greatest work, from the blood imagery to the rediscovering and reinventing oneself bit by bit to the doubt that ones resources won't be enough to overcome all the evil in the world. Especially affecting and evocative for me was the line "Sun-self, tree-self, deer-self. Don't they outweigh the dark self?" that Sunshine begins to repeat to herself like a mantra. Each time she says it it has a slightly different meaning.

There are some things McKinley does in this novel better than she has done in any other. The climactic battle scene is her most coherent and cohesive, even when I was tempted to speed through it because I so desperately wanted to reach the end. Sunshine's narrative voice, already mentioned, makes her a more approachable heroine than any of McKinley's other heroines, which makes her peril and her self-doubt all the realer. It is jarring if you go in expecting McKinley's usual high fantasy narration, but it just gets better the deeper into the story you go. There is also more humor in Sunshine than I think there is in any other McKinley novel, and it is always found in the lightest doses when things get blackest.

All in all, the more times I read Sunshine the more I am convinced that it is a near-perfect book. None of McKinley's novels race along, but I always find the slower parts necessary resting times, times to catch my breath and assimilate all that went on in the last battle (be it internal or external). It is undoubtedly an adult novel like none of McKinley's other novels are -- there is quite a bit of violence and one brief explicitly sexual scene. But it is a rich and worthwhile read that ages well, and I hope it continues to find a wide audience.

posted by PhoenixFalls on October 23, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

7 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

Not enough Con!

Over all...The book was okay. After reading some reviews, I thought this was going to be the next great vampire book. Eegad! It had it's moments to be great and then those moments fizzled out. I felt that there were too many darn cinnamon rolls and not enough Constantin...
Over all...The book was okay. After reading some reviews, I thought this was going to be the next great vampire book. Eegad! It had it's moments to be great and then those moments fizzled out. I felt that there were too many darn cinnamon rolls and not enough Constantine! I might as well have read the rundown on Bubba's (Forest Gump) shrimp recipes. A little more interaction with her new Vampire "friend" would have kicked this story up a notch or two.

posted by SoCalMom on August 15, 2009

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  • Posted August 15, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Not enough Con!

    Over all...The book was okay. After reading some reviews, I thought this was going to be the next great vampire book. Eegad! It had it's moments to be great and then those moments fizzled out. I felt that there were too many darn cinnamon rolls and not enough Constantine! I might as well have read the rundown on Bubba's (Forest Gump) shrimp recipes. A little more interaction with her new Vampire "friend" would have kicked this story up a notch or two.

    7 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 13, 2011

    Drags

    I always want to like Robin McKinley--her stories are well-crafted (generally, though I'd say this is an exception) and her prose can be beautiful. Sunshine, however, seemed way too slow, and I couldn't stand Rae. While it was refreshing to have dangerous vampires for once with the current trend of sparkly ones, I can't really say that they added anything to the story. If you want dangerous vampires, read Anne Rice. If you want good Robin McKinley, read some of her fairy tale adaptations instead--they're much better, in my opinion.

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  • Posted September 18, 2010

    Hard read and really slow

    Im almost done with this book and still don't know what its about. It starts off ok but its a really detailed hard read and never really gets anywhere. The cover is beautiful and that is what drew me to it, book but its one of the most boring vampire books I've ever read.

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  • Posted June 8, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Sunshine

    I have to say that I was recommened this book by so many people. I hard heard that it was a great story, so much better than all the other young adult vampire books. I had been warned also that the style of writing was a little tough to get through, but so worth it. I have to say that I totally disagree with everything I heard about this book. I can normally finish books in 1 to 2 days max, and this took me about 2 weeks. I eventually got so tired of the book that I decided to just read the last chapter just so I would know how it all ended. The ending was very confusing and let me totally unsatisfied, but I was finally glad to be put the book down and walk away. There is so much unecessary detail to this book. It's sad because the author had so much potential to make it a great love story, and just chose not to.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 8, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    ummmmmm....

    honestly i'm a huge fan of paranormal supernatural books especially ones where all of man kind are aware of the supernaturals existence but this book was one that had all the right stuff to get there but was just to exhausting to read... Too much bakery not enough story... anyone who has already read this book knows what i mean. but since most of you are reading this not having already read the book do not know what i mean... my suggestion is that if you have the patience to read through a bunch of boring drawn out side story about a girl and her bakery to get to the good stuff about vampires then go ahead and read this book i couldnt get thru it i read about 100 pages went to the end to find out what happened and returned it to the library.... basically thank god i didnt waste money on this.

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  • Posted September 6, 2009

    Expected more or something else

    Not what I expected. Not too much vampire in story line. If you are looking for a book like Twilight, then don't bother with this one.

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  • Posted June 7, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Ugh

    This book has been one of the most frustrating books I have ever read. The plot, characters and romance have so much potential, but unfortunately it falls flat somewhere in the middle.

    I don't need cinnamon rolls explained to me thank you very much!

    Definitely not a book I'd ever pick up again. Save your money and go watch Buffy reruns!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2009

    Its Just ok

    What can I say I read alot and this book was recommended to me as a must read, I didnt find it to exciting, it just wasn't 4 me.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    It was very disappointing, I expected it to be better!

    I read the back summary of the book and that quickly caught my interest. And one of the quotes on the back cover said it was "A smart, funny tale of suspense and romance." What romance? It was a 2 out of 5 on the funny scale. Suspense was there and that was probably the only thing that kept me going but even then it was needlessly weighed down by useless sarcasm and pseudo cynicism of, Sunshine, the main character. I felt like the real story was lost within the nonstop nonsense and gibberish Sunshine was yapping about that brought nothing to the plot or character development. It just made her seem whiny and as if she was trying too hard to be sarcastic and have a dark sense of humor. I read on in hopes of the story getting better and that there would be more substance in the bond and relationships between characters and found it was utterly disappointing. Ending was not as bad as it could have been due all indications of the main body of story; but it may not be what people are expecting. If you are a person who likes to have a good BANG for a finish or feel good about an ending, this is NOT the book for you. Other than that it was creative. Yet it lacked all the makings of a book you should buy, so i suggest you go to the library and check it out! It's not worth it.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Disappointing

    I do, in fact, judge a book by its cover, this one looked like it would be pretty good. The cover art is pretty and makes you want to read the book. It was an ok read half way through. I though more time was spend on trivial things about the story like the composition of baked goods and less time on things that were more important to the story. Like, what are "bad spots"? We find the effects of them on the main character, and that there are something to avoid in this society, but we don't know what causes them and where they come from. <BR/><BR/>All in all I thought this story had great possibility, but that it just ended up kinda dry and difficult to continue reading. I don't really recommend it to anyone who is a vampire fiction nut, because it's not that fulfilling.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2007

    Enough words already

    SUNSHINE could have been 100K words less and desperately needed more dialog. The page long paragraphs of Sunshine musings were boring and a discredit to the reader. Apparently the author figured she had to explain EVERYTHING to the reader. Even to the point of using asides in ( ) to get the pointless point across. All of which is such a pity, since Sunshine would have been a great charactor and the story was an excellent idea. Just the writing style ruined it all.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2007

    I wanted to love it, But.....

    It just didn't do it for me! I bought it thinking it was going to be a 'dark sensual vampire fairy tale', but it was very boring and slow in most parts. Sort of post-apocolyptic even(when she describes the cities and government), not at all what i thought it would be.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2007

    slow

    the book gave a huge amount of detail, so much that is made the story very slow. i was alittle disopointed and got somewhat confused along the way. i thought her having a boyfriend also put too many restrictions on what could happen between her and the vampire. vampires in this book are not hot like in buffy the vamprie slayer, they are scary, nasty peices of work. i wouldnt advise it to anyone who gets nightmares.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2006

    Too much explaining

    I think there was too much explaining about almost everything stated in the book. It is good to explain the most important facts, but I don't think it necessary to explain stuff that isn't very important to the story. The explaining sort of destroyed the suspense to me that was taking place.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2004

    Great plot, but...

    I too was EXTREMELY excited to see Robin with a new book out. There's a lot of fantasy out there that you have to be careful about, but I've grown to trust Robin. I found the erotic scene near the end very unsettling, and the profanity was disipointing. It ruined the entire experience of the book, but I finished it anyway. I really enjoyed the plot and the characterization, and wouldn't mind reading a sequel, if it could be guaranteed that it would be more like Robin's older books in the sense of morals...and at least, discretion. A great disappointment.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 29, 2004

    Disappointing

    First of all, let me say I love Robin McKinley's work, and was so excited to see a new title I just grabbed it and started right in. I was pulled into this new world, having a hard time putting the book down, when WHAM! Two pages of erotic description, using language I would never have expected from an author of McKinley's caliber. I felt betrayed, as if I had found a beloved, trusted family friend showing pornographic videos to my children. The language and passage under consideration did nothing either to advance the plot or enhance the characterizations. It was just there, like a worm in the center of what looks to be a lovely piece of fruit. I went on to finish the book, and while there were no more episodes of this nature, my enjoyment of the story was tarnished. McKinley has dealt with far darker sexual issues (Deerskin), but she has never before resorted to the vulgar or titillating trash talk of the so-called romance novels. This could have been a fun read, but fell short. It isn't necessary for a gifted author like McKinley to cheapen her talent by pandering to the lowest common denominator.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2009

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    Posted October 22, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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