Friday 13 August 2010

Book Review : Sunshine by Robin Mckinley

Sunshine by robin mckinley Pictures, Images and Photos

I am having trouble reviewing this novel, as I am sure other people also have. It is not the premise, nor the characters, or even the plot line that makes it a difficult read, but rather other elements of the story make me a little...aprehensive with regards to this review.

The review will contail 'spoiler's from here on.

The story starts off with a spunky, rather normal heroine by the name of Rae. She is twenty-something year old baker who got her high school deploma and then decided not to pursue a caree in education. She loves her job and has a boyfriend of four years, Mel, whome the reader knows nothing about.

We find out later that she lives in a near future where 'Others'-that is werewolves and ghouls and demons spawn and such inhabit the world. She gets kidnapped by the worst possible Other-Vampire. She gets chained to a wall and finds out her fate is to be dinner to another Vampire, Constantine.

Right, so that's the plot overview. She saves Constantine with her latent Magic power of the Sun, and thus they escape.

I really wanted to like this book, but it felt to me like I had seen this juicy, lovely, mouth-watering sandwich in a bakery; with crisp lettuce, mayonnaise, the best, ripe tomatoes and chicken slices, only to get it and find that the lettuce is wilted, the chicken dry and the mayonnaise out of date. There were so many good-no great- ideas that the author could have developed but she chose not to. Half formed ideas about the Vampires could have been elaborated on. The Voodoo Wars? what did they entail? There was a mention of it here and there but nothing substantial.

Another thing that really annoyed me was the pages and pages and mind-numbingly boring pages of exposition. Someone would ask Rae a question and she would go off on a tangent, talking about something or another for pages before answering the actual question-whereby the reader would have had to go back pages just to see what the answer acutally meant. It was like a huge info dump and the readers-ergo me- did not appreciate it. Especially when in the middle of a crucial fight scene or emotional scene-when she would go off I had to skip pages just to see what the outcome of the situation was. While info dump is not bad, it is VERY VERY BAD when done in the midst of things. For example, she was kidnapped by Vampires and we didn't find out how she actually reacted until after FIVE FREAKING PAGES of exposition. That was much.

The only thing that redeemed this book for me was Constantine. The author created him perfectly. He isn't the normal, muscle-bound beautiful, arrogant sadistic vampire we see in modern fiction and I loved that. I also loved how she described her Vampires; they were shying away from the conventions of their species and that was my favourite thing about the novel; gone are the seductive men of power and in its presence is a dangerous, inhuman species of something completely not human. She managed to convey these creatures just as they are; monsters. Even Constantine was alien and that was what gave the novel substance.

I am so disappointed because this novel could have been so much more. It could have been one of the best and most original work of fantasy literature out there. But, she failed, although not totally. I still keep this book as one of my favourites, and although there are many flaws, I still like what she did with such a predictable genre. My final thoughts are uncertain. Did I like this book? Yes, most definitely. Was it something awe-inspiring? Elements of it, yes, but on the whole, no.


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