The first time I read Sunshine was 10 years ago right after the release of Breaking Dawn. Let’s just say that Breaking Dawn left a lot to be desired. I can’t remember if it was Kate who suggested Sunshine or if it was our friend Elizabeth but it was one of those “read this if you want to read a good vampire novel after a really bad one”. I did and it is. I loved it as much now as I did back then. It was just as suspenseful, mysterious, funny and kind of sexy even if there isn’t much of a romance going on. Rae “Sunshine” Seddon is as normal as one can be living in New Arcadia after the Voodoo Wars. She makes the best cinnamon rolls at Charlie’s Coffeeshop. Her whole life revolves around the coffeeshop. Things change when she decides to take a drive out to the lake and is kidnapped by Vampires and is sucked into an old school feud between two very old and very different vampires. She also discovers that she isn’t so normal after all. She happens to be the daughter of a powerful sorcerer and has powers of her own. When she saves herself and Constantine with her sunshine power her life is turned upside down. She deals with it pretty well with a lot of dark humor and a great supporting cast. Constantine is everything that Edward is not. He doesn’t try to pretend he’s anything that he isn’t. He’s considerate and thoughtful. Many times he could have taken advantage of Sunshine but doesn’t. In the end he realizes that he needs her as much as she needs him. As for their relationship status, who knows. There is definitely a connection between them. It’s more than just the bond from healing each other but also surviving multiple traumatic events. They are definitely two friends who have a deep respect for each other and continue to challenge each other. Let’s go back to Sunshine. In someways it’s unfair to compare her to Bella because Sunshine is an adult and Bella is not. Sunshine has more life experience that when she makes decisions she knows how much is going to effect her and the people she cares about. She also sees that she is an impossible situation that doesn’t give her any good choices to choose from. She is self aware to know herself but also what is going on around her. While Constantine does take up a lot of time and thinking he doesn’t become the center of her life. She keeps her family and friends close and many of them actually help her to understand what is going on and give her the tools to defeat the evil vampire. Her support system is truly key. Not just to help her through killing vampires but also help her heal from her traumatic experience too. I think that’s important part of the story. Constantine is a powerful vampire but he couldn’t take on The Evil Vampire on his own. He needed Sunshine. Sunshine would not been able to deal with what happened to her without the support of her stepfather, Charlie, her boyfriend Mel, Her Mom, Her landlady, Yolande, her friend Aimil, her other friends and SOF agents, Pat, Jesse and Theo. Whether or not they knew it, they all played a roll in defeating The Evil Vampire and keeping Constantine and Sunshine alive. It was a group effort but also a reminder that no matter what is going on in your life. You are never truly alone. So yes, Sunshine is a great vampire novel and deserves more props.
In today’s installment, we continue with Jonathan Harker’s journal. Things are becoming rather precarious for Jonathan. What will happen next at Castle Dracula?
The music for the recording is Oppressive Gloom by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com). (Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
Previous Chapters can be found here.
In October, I am dragging Beth and all of you on a vampire-laden adventure inspired by this past summer’s pop culture homework assignment! We are going to review some vampire novels, discuss the vampires, the heroes and the heroines, and we have a special Dracula-related treat! So, prepare yourself for an influx of vampires (but don’t invite any strangers into your house!)
A woman wakes up burned, shot, and with broken bones in a cave. She can’t remember who she is. She can’t remember how she got there. She can only remember the pain and some instinctual things like a need to eat. Slowly, she’s able to find food and put some things together. She finds the remains of a burned village. She hunts some deer. She wanders down a road and meets Wright and slowly starts to put the pieces together of who and what she is when she bites Wright and drinks his blood. She is part of a vampire race but she is special. She has been genetically engineered with a little human DNA so that she can be alert during the day and she has much more tolerance to the sun. She’s also dark-skinned, something that isn’t true about her people. Without knowing who she is or what happened to her (and the others? are the others like her?) she has to figure out what happened to her home. While trying to figure out what happened to her to make her have amnesia she meets her father who tells her that her name is Shori and explains why she is so special. Shori and her father begin the investigation into what happened to her and her family. Clearly there was a fire, but what caused it? Shori is put on the the path to solving the mystery of her destroyed community and bringing the perpetrators to justice.
This was a thrilling vampire novel, certainly the best one I’ve read since Sunshine by Robin McKinley. Since the main character has amnesia, we discover things about her species and her world as she does. You start to wonder pretty early on if what has happened to her is garden variety people hunting vampires, or garden variety people being racists asshats or something worse. When she is shocked and horrified by the behavior of humans and other vampires, we are, too. There is so much to say about this book but I don’t want to spoil anything (and I really want to do it justice if I’m going to analyze the themes of the book) so I won’t go into details. I will however say that this book could be a model for all of paranormal romance (even though it wasn’t a romance). I was so pleased with how it dealt with issues of consent that are so often missing from novels about vampires.
This book was so enjoyable and so wonderful and I can’t gush about it enough. Seriously. You should go read it. Now. You should read it now.