Before I say anything else, can I just say that I was actually having dreams about this book throughout the entire time that I was reading it? I literally dreamed about things going on in this book, that's how much I got sucked into it. It was seriously on my mind ALL throughout the day and--apparently--during my nights as well. Probably because it was sexy without being pretentious and obnoxious. And it didn't make me want to eat a bullet just to stop the pain from reading SUCH bad writing I swear it was torture. I'm seriously going to make a petition to make things like Toilet literal torture devices in prisons and the like.
But to get back on track~
There's a considerable amount to love about this book. While most of the popular YA literature out there today has made me overly cautious of approaching anything that even whispers or insinuates the presence of 'vampires' in it, this was a risk I was willing to take because I knew the author. Robin McKinley is the author of one of the books I would stake my life on as being the most influential to me even up until today. Her work touched my heart and very being at a young age, and was able to do so again when I read it recently. I still stand by that work till the day I die. So I was willing to forsake the immense repulsion I have for all things 'vampire' and give her book a shot--because I trusted her. Lo and behold... I made the right choice.
Sunshine is fan-TASTIC.
It takes what is a normal existence and almost stuns you with how literally and seriously it takes itself when anything supernatural is finally thrown into the mix. In fact, I found myself shocked on a couple of levels when the main character's plain as day, average life was literally disrupted by vampires at all. In most of the crap you read today, you expect it to happen. Much of the bullcrap you read tries too flippin' hard to pretend it's taking this magic business seriously. I feel like a grown woman who is being spoken to by some elder making funny hand gestures and going, "Oooooohhhhhh~~~!" trying to impersonate a ghost and telling me I should believe they're the honest-to-God real thing.
It doesn't work, and it doesn't go over well. It makes you feel like you're wasting your time and that you're being made a fool of. The asininity and pretentiousness of some of these 'books' written today will make any sane human being cautious about the supernaturally inclined stories that come out today. But Sunshine doesn't feel like it's trying to bullshit you. You read it and it surprises you every time a bit more magic is added into the mix because it reads like a completely normal story in every other respect. That's why I love it so much! When there's magic thrown into it, it's actual magic and not some smoke-and-mirrors act that means diddlysquat in the end. You read about vampires, and they treat those buggers with some actual weight and respect for their potential. In fact, if there's one thing that Sunshine did right, it's respecting the supernatural creatures that are spoken about within it. There is a real admiration I've always had for Robin McKinley and her ability to give meaning to things that other writers so often don't care to distinguish or even acknowledge. She does the very same here, and the effect is marvelous. Instead of reading about glitter-caked turds, I get an honest-to-God vampire that can kill me.
Me gusta. <3
It's books like these that make me glad that I still can step into the Fantasy section of books today and know I'll be reading something amazing; a book that doesn't treat me like a kid and doesn't treat me like I'm a spineless twat who needs a pathetic excuse for a love interest to satisfy me or justify my existence.
The only thing I will say that bothered me was the apparent ease with which Sunshine flirted with the danger line of having a boyfriend and yet holding a sexual interest in the other main character. (No spoilers, no harm.) At the very least, Robin McKinley didn't try to BS me into thinking this was at all 'romantic.' Tell me plain up that it's for the sex, and I can handle this a bit better. But if it became an actual 'love' interest, I'd flip my lid and toss some tables. I'm still not happy with the 'cheating on your boyfriend' implications involved. In fact, it still leaves a very bitter tang in my mouth whenever I talk about it, and makes me grumpy just thinking about it. But well, compared to the rest of the books out there, it could definitely have been worse. I'd be lying if I didn't say that I was hoping Robin McKinley would rise above that, but considering no actual lines were crossed and it was mostly just fanservice, I can tentatively step aside and let it pass. Very. Tentatively.
Still, overall Sunshine was a fantastic read and definitely one I'm buying the first chance I get. It's a fantastic piece of work for any Robin McKinley fans and should be an absolute buy, as far as I'm concerned. Fantasy fans might also enjoy this one, and I'm sure it'll even appeal to the shallower fans who adore Toilet and worship it as the best thing since contraception. Oops? Did I cross a line? Not sorry.
For anyone who'd like a more serious and respectful version of the vampire BS running rampant in this world today, definitely pick this book up at least to give it a shot. It's a good read and has enough action and twisting turns to keep you entertained. And the fanservice is literally fantastic, no matter what borders it crosses for me personally. So have a go at it! I doubt you'll regret it.