Next up: “Sunshine” by Robin McKinley
Another standalone by McKinley. With vampires!
The history of the world in this book is a little vague, but it’s basically our world but with a huge supernatural aspect. There is magic, witches and wizards, vampires and weres and other things that go bump in the night. At some point there was a major war that left America (where the story takes place) in a strange almost-post-apocalyptic state.
Sunshine is the daughter of an infamous magician, living as a baker and trying to ignore her powerful heritage. When she is kidnapped by a gang of vampires and chained in a room with Constantine, a vampire rival of the gang, to tempt him into breaking his vow of not drinking from and killing humans, she is forced to acknowledge this heritage and utilize her ability to draw power from sunlight. With her ability, and Constantine’s strength and knowledge, they escape. But the conflict with the rival vampires is only beginning, and Sunshine is drawn into the midst of it.
I really like Sunshine. Despite her magical talent, she is a very grounded character. She’s a baker and perfectly content with not being involved in crazy Other stuff. And really, with the way magic and everything is in this world, I’d be the same. I also liked the humor that filtered into the book every so often; it was a great sort of mix of dry and subtle funny.
I usually like when magic is depicted as something more scientific than mystical “woo”, but the minimal and vague description of magic in this book really works for it. And while I was really curious about the history of the world (what exactly were the Voodoo Wars? And why were they fought?), I don’t think the book suffered for the lack of very concrete background. We got enough worldbuilding to have a firm impression on what the world and life in it was like, but it maintained a sort of veneer of mystery that kind of added to the atmosphere.
There is a… sort of… romance. It’s not very prominent except for the one instance when it’s very prominent, but then it’s only ‘nsfw’ for, like, two sentences. It’s a little bit odd, partially because of how the world and the characters are set up (it didn’t seem like there’d be sexual attraction there). But at the same time it becomes kind of… sweet? I guess? Like, it’s mostly hand-holding and partners-in-crime sort of stuff. I like the relationship, not sure if it really needed to have a sexual component, is what I guess I’m trying to say.
All and all, it’s a fun book with a very interesting world and characters that I was very fond of. McKinley’s typical ‘heavy on narration, light on dialogue’ is still evident, and still works great.
Nothing really bad. There’s some bad language and gore?