Thursday, February 10, 2011
Sunshine's mundane existence as the head baker at Charlie's Coffeehouse takes an unexpected turn when she drives to her grandmother's secluded summer camp. While she is taking in the scenic view of the starlit sky reflecting off the lake's calm surface, she is attacked by a gang of vampires and brought to an abandoned mansion on the far side of the lake. They strip her of her shoes, dress her in a blood-red gown, and shackle her to a wall. In the semi-darkness of the moonlit room, she realizes that a vampire is shackled next to her. After some tense moments, the two begin to talk and quickly conclude that if they don't help each other escape, they're both as good as dead
I have no hesitation in listing this as one of my all-time favorite books. And yet I always recommend it hesitantly, or with a lot of caveats. Robin McKinley can be a sort of acquired taste, and if I were to just list some of the traits of Sunshine, I would think even I wouldn't want to read it. It can be so very slow, and terribly frustrating, and Sunshine has a lot of inner monologue going on. But the thing is, I loved it for each of those reasons. The slow pace worked and made me feel the world and buy in so much more than I ever thought to. Sometimes books feel like movies -- everything is pared down to fit and keep you on the edge of your seat, and a sense of reality is forfeit for action. Sunshine, by contrast, starts to feel like real life. Things happen sometimes with frustrating slowness, and then BAM! just catch up and hit you. I felt the book as much as read it. I don't know how to make the idea of the slow pace sound appealing, I can just tell you that it was. It worked. Not everyone agrees, but for me, it gave the book time to work its way into my skin, and I have yet to get it out.
Some of you may be wondering, too, why a book that has very little real "romance" in it is part of Love Bites; it's really more an urban fantasy than anything (and excellent, on that score). And it's true, it's a weird choice, but then not weird at all. It feels almost wrong to call Sunshine a romance, and trust me when I say you will get no...gratification out of it. Someone I know called the book a cockblocker. And yet Sunshine and Constantine stand out in my mind as one of my favorite relationships, and the book itself as one of the best, most memorable romances.
I don't know what to say, other than read it if you haven't. It's a book that needs to be experienced.
(In fact, I like this book enough that I have 2 copies (1 each of the pretty); here's the other:
*Make sure you check out my CSN stores $65 GC giveaway and my part of the Follower Love Blog Hop giveaway!