Robin McKinley: Sunshine

Read by Laural Merlington

Initially, I thought I wasn’t going to be able to get through it because Merlington’s voice kind of made me itch, but i’m glad got used to it and even came to appreciate it. Sunshine, a story I never heard of by an author I’ve never heard of and it was right up my alley.

The quick and dirty is that she’s a baker in her stepfather’s diner and one day when she’s in a mood to shrug off from the routine being around people, she heads off to a lake she went to as a child to relax. Sunshine lives in a post-war world in which there are humans and there are others. Others is an umbrella term for vampires(!), demons, ghouls, were-folk, and the like. They don’t mingle too well with each other even though a significant (largely undocumented) portion of the remaining population are part-bloods. Things don’t go quite the way she wanted or expected during the her trip to the lake and she ends up a captive. In her escape, she forms an unlikely alliance and the remainder of the story is how that alliance impacts what she understood her life to be–past present, and future.

I enjoyed the story and it was a good use of first person. The panic, frankness, and confusion that often feels distant in other voices rings true in first person and that worked really well for following Sunshine through the story. I liked how the world worked with these creatures existing in it. Along with them came magic and charms and wards, policing organizations, government agencies and common knowledge, prejudice and a host of other things that made the world make sense.

I think the only thing I thought was strange was how Con, Sunshine’s cohort, acted or presented himself sometimes. He was human at one time, but it was a long time ago, so I can understand if somethings were forgotten, but I thought it was weird when, in response to her question regarding sleep, Con says that what he does isn’t what he thinks she would consider sleeping. So even if the restfulness of sleep is different for him now, I thought that it should be something he should be sure of the difference between it and human sleeping. He said it as if he’d never actually slept before and had no first hand knowledge of the mechanics of human sleep.

The other thing I keep thinking about is there was this one part where she rescues him from a void of some sort, but it isn’t really made clear what that was all about–something about him recovering, but not much more. However, the scene after he’s pulled out is one of my favorites and first person really lends itself to those kinds of moments.

I think it ended well, but I feel like there’s still somethings I want answers to. Like Mel and the Goddess of Pain, Con’s history with the Blazes, and how exactly did Con do what he did at the end.

One down, 51~ to go.

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