Title: Sunshine

Author: Robin McKinley

Redonk Nutshell: A closeted magician teams up with a lone vampire to take on rogue supernaturals

Official Synopsis: There hadn’t been any trouble out at the lake in years. Sunshine just needed a spot where she could be alone with her thoughts for a minute. But then the vampires found her . . . Now, chained and imprisoned in a once-beautiful decaying mansion, alone but for the vampire, Constantine, shackled next to her, Sunshine realizes that she must call on her own hidden strength if she is to survive. But Constantine is not what she expected of a vampire, and soon Sunshine discovers that it is he who needs her, more than either of them know.

Sunshine by Robin McKinley is, by far, one of my favorite urban vampire novels.  I first read it several years ago after picking it up at the library.  I’ve since read it several more times, and it remains at the top of my stack of vampire reads.  Why, you ask?  Because Robin McKinley captures a uniquely real feel to her characters and throws them into a world ravaged by nightmares.   “The Others” are the fodder of nightmares, featuring little bit of everything – vampires, werewolves, demons. Set several years after “The Voodoo Wars,” a relative normalcy has settled over the world.  Like the bad section of a city, rough areas of activity pop up and are plagued with The Others.

None of this is immediately relevant to Rae “Sunshine” Seddon.  At least not until she’s abducted by a group of vampires and imprisoned in a derelict mansion.  But she’s not alone in her imprisonment.  Across from her and barely out of reach is a vampire, also shackled to the wall.  With the help of their wits and Sunshine’s secreted magic ability, the two of them manage an escape, and together work to track down the rogue vampires terrorizing their town.

I think what most appealed to me about this book was how gritty and realistic it feels.  Sunshine is a normal – she works as a pastry cook in a small town bakery with her family and friends.  She’s a no nonsense kind of woman, but also manages to roll with what life throws at her with alarming clarity.  She struggles to come to terms with the aftermath of her imprisonment, and the only way she finds herself able to fully cross the hump is to accept the help of her cellmate, Constantine.

And Constantine is not the kind of  vampire you find in most romantic paranormal fiction.  He’s dark, he’s unsettling, and he’s very, very old school.  He’s fascinated by Sunshine and her ability to defy the ancient laws he’s come to abide by, and when they’re thrown together in their prison the chemistry between them is electric.  Of course there is an attraction between the two, but it goes beyond physical.  They connect on another level altogether, a level that Sunshine recognizes goes beyond what she’s deemed acceptable for herself.  They adapt to one another and end up making a hell of a team.

If you’re a fan of vampire fiction and are looking for something a bit denser to sink your teeth into, I’d highly recommend Robin McKinley’s Sunshine.

Rating: A

Romance: 1/5    Raunch: 2/5

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