Sunshine by Robin McKinley
Sunshine is set in an alternate universe, taking place after the “Voodoo Wars”, a conflict between humans and the “Others”. The Others mainly consist of vampires, werewolves, and demons, though the main conflict occurs between humans and vampires. As a result of this war, “bad spots”, or places where black magic thrives, have appeared more frequently. Rae “Sunshine” Seddon, the pastry-making heroine of the novel, has the misfortune of being caught off-guard at her family’s old lake side cabin and is abducted by a gang of vampires. She is confined to the ballroom of an abandoned mansion with Constantine, a vampire shackled there by vampires of a rival gang, led by Constantine’s enemy Bo. Bo’s intention is to allow Constantine to slowly die of hunger and exposure to sunlight. Rae is brought as bait for him, and the vampires cut her upper chest as temptation. However, Rae not only manages to defy the supposed power that any vampire has over a human, but also uses her all-but-forgotten magical powers of transmutation, taught to her by her grandmother, to effect an escape. Rae realizes that the magical lineage she has ignored allows her to draw power from the sunlight, ergo transferring her ability through touch to Constantine and allowing him to be under the light of day, so long as contact is maintained. Through this symbiotic relationship, the two of them make an escape. Despite her best efforts, all does not return to normalcy once Rae is back home. Her friends and family are shocked by her survival of an encounter with vampires, and over time she both starts to become more affected by the trauma and refuses to tell anyone the circumstances leading to her alliance with a vampire. As it becomes clear that the conflict with Bo and his gang is only beginning, Sunshine begins to embrace her magical ability, is coerced into working with the “Special Other Forces”, wonders what kind of tentative partnership can exist between two individuals whose races are bitter enemies, and, finally, works with Constantine to overthrow Bo for good.
Reviews of Sunshine
From Publishers Weekly
Buffyesque baker Rae “Sunshine” Seddon meets Count Dracula’s hunky Byronic cousin in Newbery-Award-winner McKinley’s first adult-and-then-some romp through the darkling streets of a spooky post-Voodoo Wars world. Now that human cities have been decimated, the vampiric elite holds one-fifth of the world’s capital, threatening to control all the earth in less than 100 years, unless human SOFs (Special Other Forces) can hold them at bay by recruiting Sunshine, daughter of legendary sorcerer Onyx Blaise. As breathlessly narrated by Sunshine herself, the Cinnamon Roll Queen of Charlie’s Coffeehouse, in the inchoate idiom of Britney, J. Lo and the Spice Girls, Sunshine’s coming-of-magical-age launches when she is swarmed by noiseless vampires one night and chained in a decrepit ballroom as an entr‚e for mysterious, magnetic, half-starved Constantine, a powerful vampire whose mortal enemy Bo (short for Beauregard) shackled him there to perish slowly from daylight and deprivation. Most of the charm of this long venture into magic maturation derives from McKinley’s keen ear and sensitive atmospherics, deft characterizations and clever juxtapositions of reality and the supernatural that might, just might, be lurking out there in “bad spots” right around a creepy urban corner or next to a deserted lake cabin. McKinley knows very well-and makes her readers believe-that “the insides of our own minds are the scariest things there are.”
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. –This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Rae Seddon, nicknamed Sunshine, lives a quiet life working at her stepfather’s bakery. One night, she goes out to the lake for some peace and quiet. Big mistake. She is set upon by vampires, who take her to an old mansion. They chain her to the wall and leave her with another vampire, who is also chained. But the vampire, Constantine, doesn’t try to eat her. Instead, he implores her to tell him stories to keep them both sane. Realizing she will have to save herself, Sunshine calls on the long-forgotten powers her grandmother began to cultivate in her when she was a child. She transforms her pocketknife into a key and unchains herself–and Constantine. Surprised, he agrees to flee with her when she offers to protect him from the sun with magic. They escape back to town, but Constantine knows his enemies won’t be far behind, which means that he and Sunshine will have to face them together. A luminous, entrancing novel with an enthralling pair of characters at its heart. Kristine Huntley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved –This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Robin McKinley has won various awards and citations for her writing, including the Newbery Medal for The Hero and the Crown and a Newbery Honor for The Blue Sword. Her other books include Sunshine; the New York Times bestseller Spindle’s End; two novel-length retellings of the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Beauty and Rose Daughter; and a retelling of the Robin Hood legend, The Outlaws of Sherwood. She lives with her husband, the English writer Peter Dickinson.