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by Robin McKinley

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5,0292291,491 (4.07)427
There are places in the world where darkness rules, where it's unwise to walk. Sunshine knew that. But there hadn't been any trouble out at the lake for years, and she needed a place to be alone for a while.Unfortunately, she wasn't alone. She never heard them coming. Of course you don't, when they're vampires.They took her clothes and sneakers. They dressed her in a long red gown. And they shackled her to the wall of an abandoned mansion-within easy reach of a figure stirring in the moonlight.She knows that he is a vampire. She knows that she's to be his dinner and that when he is finished with her, she will be dead. Yet, as dawn breaks, she finds that he has not attempted to harm her. And now it is he who needs her to help him survive the day.… (more)
  1. 74
    The Silver Kiss by Annette Curtis Klause (allisongryski)
    allisongryski: Recommended if you're looking for another well-written vampire story, with complex and interesting characters.
  2. 21
    Moonshine by Alaya Johnson (electronicmemory)
    electronicmemory: Two books which both involve alternate histories where vampire and supernatural creatures have become everyday occurrences - and dangers - and how two women deal with the sudden appearance of a troubled supernatural creature in their lives. Both feature memorable protagonists, as well as fascinating alternate histories of the United States.… (more)
  3. 10
    Sunbolt by Intisar Khanani (Fiamme)
    Fiamme: Similar themes of unlikely alliances between human and non human.
  4. 22
    Midnight Predator by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes (sylvatica)
  5. 00
    Written in Red by Anne Bishop (syntheticdecay)
  6. 11
    The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson (leahsimone)
  7. 11
    Daylight by Elizabeth Knox (GirlMisanthrope)
  8. 23
    Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews (leahsimone)
  9. 12
    Angelfall by Susan Ee (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: Both feature a plucky teenage heroine and an atypical love interest. Neither involves sappy eyeroll-inducing romantic dialogue. As I read Angelfall, I was immediately reminded of Sunshine, however Angelfall is a much better book. If you liked Sunshine, you might like Angelfall. I personally hated Sunshine, but enjoyed Angelfall.… (more)
  10. 911
    Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice (Anonymous user)
  11. 58
    Dead in Dixie by Charlaine Harris (overtheseatoskye)
    overtheseatoskye: McKinley's sensible heroine Sunshine, grounded as she is in the daily realities of baking and feeding people, reminds me very much of Sookie Stackhouse of Charlaine Harris' wonderful Southern Vampire series. Somehow the contrast between an earthy, pragmatic heroine and the otherworldly vampire love interest heightens the dramatic tension (and the hawtness).… (more)
  12. 014
    Undead and Unwed by MaryJanice Davidson (overtheseatoskye)
    overtheseatoskye: If you felt a little let down by the coy ending of "Sunshine," pick up this fun, chick-lit-inflected vampire romp - the final scene, gratifyingly, doesn't leave things to your imagination.
  13. 135
    Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (goodiegoodie)

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» See also 427 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 226 (next | show all)
This was a very welcome surprise coming out of my dire expectations. :)

I mean, a vampire romance. Seriously? Another?

Well stop scratching your head and stop moving on to another title. This happens to be one of the *good* ones. There are lots of elements that you've seen before, I'm sure, but it's all in how its written. McKinley has been writing all kinds of fantasy for over thirty years. She knows how to accomplish a lot in relatively no time at all.

Gorgeous world-building and a populace that will soon be overrun by vampires. Part-demons and sorcerers waging wars against them. The elemental mastery of the magic is amazing. Sunshine? This isn't just a nickname. :) When these little bits and pieces started unfolding out of the normal bakery life and a nasty kidnapping, I kept thinking to myself: well, isn't this just another setup for a romance?

Yes. BUT. McKinley never stints on complicated and interesting plots that kept me going all the way through. It kind of stunned me just how deep and complex this novel became out of my initial observation. And it's not just the characters, either. The kinds of races, the kinds of magic, the twists and the turns, all of them were added like spice to the novel and it kind of blew me away.

I've read a lot of mediocre vamp novels. I've read a few excellent ones. This one fooled me on it's premise and it's opening. It turned into an excellent one. :)

So what about shelves that call it YA? Why didn't I also do the same? Because she's apparently a quarter of a century old. Long out of HS and working happily in a bakery. That *might* be called a tiny tiny sliver of the new-adult market, but there's a LOT of dark stuff going on here with complicated emotions and reactions. It's definitely not simple and its often beautifully adult. :)

I completely recommend for fans of better vampire novels. (Even ones that feature romance!)

Edit 12/6/16:
It has been brought to my attention that I should clarify what kind of romance this is. It's not Eros. It's Philia. That's the greek term for ppl you'd trust your life for in battle. Deep friendships. Ultimate trust. These two share a lot more than just that. Psychic bonds, the ability to pull one another from the brink even out of outright battle, and he even gives her a wondrous magical item that allows her access to his sanctum of sanctums. That's a level of trust unheard of in a world where all vampires know that they can't trust each other, let alone any other kind of person. :)

So I call it romance in the traditional sense. A huge step up from a buddy-novel, too. :) ( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
It's a better love-story than Twilight :)

But I found it to be a bit uneven and info-dumpy. I would have love to have read this book with perhaps some of the characters trimmed away and the infodumps tightened. That would have enabled the good bits to shine better. ( )
  StigE | Feb 23, 2020 |
To read more reviews, check out my blog keikii eats books!

“What was new was the fact that, despite my heart doing its fight-or-flight, help-we're-prey-and-HEY-STUPID-THAT'S-A-VAMPIRE number, I was glad to see him. Ridiculous but true. Scary but true.”
Um. Sunshine is awesome. And every one of my so-called friends should have beat me silly with this book until I read it years ago. Jerks. I just don't understand how I missed this for so long. I'm so mad.

Sunshine starts off with a woman

Sunshine - human and baker of the best cinnamon rolls. Very human. But with magic powers, super powerful magic powers, though she half forgot she had them. She has to take time to remember she even had them, time that she probably shouldn't have needed to take since her life was in danger. And really this book is about Sunshine's discovery of herself in the world of the supernaturals as much as it is about what happens to her.

And also vampires. The book starts with Sunshine being kidnapped by vampires. Who aren't really known for doing anything but killing whoever is unlucky enough to be captured by them in the most vicious ways possible. And being able to have everlasting erections. They're evil, pure evil. And she has been kidnapped by them and chained in a room with another vampire who is trying not to kill her because that would mean he gives in to the vampires who have captured and chained him up, as well.

And this vampire, Constantine, is the most human vampire. He changes through this ordeal and through his exposure to Sunshine, though I think he has always been a bit odd. He and Sunshine help each other escape. And then they are intrinsically tied together based on their experience and his debt to her for saving his life. And he is awesome and I love him and his weirdo self.

The world is...dark. I described this book to my friend as Fallout meets vampires. The world is just not in a good place. There were some wars, the Voodoo Wars, mostly due some witches fighting, destroying the land in such a way people still can't live on it, and a lot of people died. The landscape has been changed by this war, with places where no one can or will go to due to the nature of the area being changed. Magically changed. Then there is the evil that exists and everyone just lives with. Especially the vampires - they're #1 on the hit list. Because they kidnap people and kill them heinously. Like they were planning on doing with Sunshine. Too bad Constantine is stronger than that, suckers!

However this entire book isn't just Sunshine and Constantine escaping from kidnapping. That's just the first part of the book. Sunshine has been changed by this too. She goes back to being a baker, just with a bit of PTSD in the mix. Her family and the town treats her as if she is fragile and she just wants everything to go back to the way it was before. Only it can't go back. And she can't tell anyone what happened because she'll end up incarcerated for helping a vampire. Or worse.

And then there is the anti-monster search and kill unit whose name I forgot and can't look up because I listened to this on audio (it was a good audiobook, by the way). They're sniffing around Sunshine because they know who her father is (and they don't like him and his family), and her story about what happened when she disappeared for a few days doesn't add up. And she refuses to tell anyone the real story. This group are zealots against anything nonhuman. And Sunshine has very good reason to fear them. Yet they might not all be as they appear at first.

I thought at first that this might be slice-of-life urban fantasy. At first, it was Sunshine talking about being a baker and escaping out of a terrible situation. Yet it didn't stay slice-of-life. Sunshine is too powerful. The anti-monster unit plays too much of a part in the later part of the book. Things are just too much. Which is a bit disappointing but overall not a deal breaker for me.

This entire book is just so good. I love the story, I love the characters. The only thing I didn't really care for was the writing itself. There was a marked tendency to go off on a tangent with a giant infodump that would go on for long enough I sometimes forgot where it started. However everything else made that not matter. I loved this book. And now I can only despair because there is only one book and I have now finished it. ( )
  keikii | Jan 23, 2020 |
Longer than it needed to be. Not everything is explained by the end of the book: still lots of questions about Rae's father's family, for example. ( )
  raizel | Nov 4, 2019 |

McKinley does an excellent job of world building, and writes with a witty turn of pharse. Her magic system in this book was both interesting and well explained. While I did find myself enjoying this story and characters, I just didn't feel connected to them. Unlike the world they were very one dimensional. For that reason I want quite able to give this one 4 stars. ( )
  Jonez | Oct 24, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 226 (next | show all)
The best vampire story ever. Hands down. The best.

» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robin McKinleyprimary authorall editionscalculated
del Rosario, KristinDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fusari, ErikaCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Merlington, LauralNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rostant, LarryCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Peter, my Mel and my Con wrapped up in one (slightly untidy) package. Hey, am I lucky or what?
First words
It was a dumb thing to do but it wasn't that dumb.
"You are not consumed by the dark because you are full of light."
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Disambiguation notice
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Book description
From the front book flap on the hardcover.

From acclaimed author Robin McKinley--a mesmerizing novel of supernatural desire . . .


"Her feet are already bleeding--if you like feet . . "

There are places in the world where darkness rules, where it's unwise to walk. Sunshine knew that. But there hadn't been any trouble out at the lake for years, and she needed a place to be alone for a while.

Unfortunately, she wasn't alone. She never heard them coming. Of course you don't when they're vampires.

They took her clothes and sneakers. They dressed her in a long red gown. And they shackled her to the wall of an abandoned mansion-within easy reach of a figure stirring in the moonlight.

She knows that it is a vampire. She knows that she's to be his dinner, and that when he is finished with her, she will be dead. Yet, when light breaks, she finds that he has not attempted to harm her. And now it is he who needs her to help him survive the day . . .
Haiku summary
A sunny baker
A nocturnal bloodsucker
Opposites attract


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