An alternate world set after the “Other Wars” (Others being vampires, werewolves, demons, etc) the public is not only aware of their existence, but “wards” (magical symbols and charms used to protect people) are common place, and come standard innew cars. Anyone who is half-blood or a magic welder must be registered with the SOF (Special Other Forces), whose job is to track down and destroy the Others.
Rae “Sunshine” Seddon is in her mid-twenties and is, for the most part, happy to spend her time baking cinnamon rolls in her mom and step-fathers restaurant, reading everything she can about the Others. Until one night she goes for a drive and is kidnapped by vampires. She is locked in an abandoned house with one other prisoner; a vampire named Constantine. From that day forward her life changes so rapidly in ways she couldn’t have ever dreamed, and she learns that there is a lot more going on in the world than she ever knew. A mix of vampire horror, magic and sarcasm, it’s a new way of seeing what the world would be like withvampires.
One of the reviews on the back cover says that fans of Buffy will love this book, and that’s very true; Sunshine has Buffy’s sarcastic tone, and there is the same mix of action, wit and magic that keep it interesting. Sunshine is a little hard to follow in the beginning; the author talks about the Other Wars like the reader was there, and continually mentions things (a “combox” is a computer, for instance) without actually explaining them. As a result, the first 1/3 of the book feels like you’re being dragged along, grabbing random bits of information as you try to keep up.
After the initial learning curve, you start to follow, and do get sucked in. McKinley’s assumption that you’ll figure it out does allow you to become more engrossed in the world she’s created, but you have to wonder what information (or cool things) you might be missing out on.
The plot is constantly moving forward, and isn’t predictable (in a good way). There’s enough action to keep you going, but it has calm periods in between that explain what Sunshine is learning and a little more about the world she lives in. My only other complaint is you learn just enough about the supporting characters to become intrigued with them, and enough to make you want to know what their deal is, but you never find out. The only character you really learn about is Sunshine.
It’s an intriguing book, but it may make you wish there was an insiders guide so you could get a little more out of it. Be warned, there is a sex scene in the middle, but something to keep in mind.