Monday, June 19, 2006


By Robin McKinley. For another review that makes some good points, go here.

I don't know what to say about this book. I think I've fallen for it a bit more than the writer of that other review, since I just finished rereading it and the first time I read it was just last week. There are definitely a lot of loose ends (I've written down a page full of unanswered questions in case there's a sequel that might answer them), and the author is non-commital about writing a sequel (apparently she's never written a sequel before), so they might never be tied up...

Sunshine is the baker at Charlie's Coffeehouse in a (apparently American) city called New Arcadia, which is "pretty clean" but still has vampires, as any city will. She seems to have very little ambition beyond making cherry tarts and other delicious confections, but her life changes when she's captured by a gang of vampires. They chain her up in an old mansion with another prisoner instead of eating her... the catch is, the prisoner is another vampire who apparently doesn't believe in eating humans (or at least in tormenting them), but he's been deprived for a long time, and might not be able to control himself. Of course, Sunshine figures out a way to escape, or it'd be a pretty short book (although the fact that it comes to her in a dream is a little bit suspect considering later events). The twist is, she decides to take the vampire with her...

The other review I linked is probably right in pointing out how a lot of characters lack detail. Especially with Con (the vampire), she doesn't seem to know where he stands herself, or how he thinks, but unfortunately the lack might make him seem a bit robotic: he does whatever the author needs him to do instead of according to a well-defined, convincing yet alien personality. Sunshine also seems to go off on tangents pretty often. They usually have a point to them, helping to explain the events of the main story, but I wonder if it might not have been better to work them into the story more or leave them behind the scenes for the reader to assume. She also seems to skip things at times: she jumps to unstated conclusions and leaves out crucial details (she saw something in Mrs. B's eyes, but she never says what she thought it was, just that it made her reinterpret what Mrs. B was saying in an unspecified way).

Still... I think I like it. Be warned: there are two rather explicitly "sensual" (to borrow ye other review's terminology) scenes.

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