Author: Robin McKinley
Recommendation: A mediocre urban fantasy novel with a few interesting characters.
Summary: Rae Seddon aka Sunshine is a baker at Charlie's Coffeehouse. One evening she goes for a drive and gets captured by a gang of vampires who bring her to an empty mansion and chain her together with another vampire. There an unlikely alliance starts and Sunshine begins to discover her powers.
Reactions: The back cover of the book has the following quote which I found very promising:
McKinley [balances] the dark drama with light touches of humor. Fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer will feel at home.
Considering I like the above mentioned show A LOT, I figured this might be the book for me to enjoy. The plot summary sounded quite interesting too if not particularly original.
However, there is one huge problem with the novel. Writing. McKinley seems to be a huge fan of long info dumps, thought purges and just random ranting. I imagine the reader is meant to feel as if they are in the protagonist's head (it is a first person narrative), but I found the paragraphs and paragraphs of thoughts to introduce the history of the world to be overwhelmingly distracting from the story. In fact throughout the book there would be long pauses in action to fill us in on some piece of Sunshine's history or her thoughts on family, etc. Overall, the back story was not supplied very well.
The second source of my irritation with the novel are a few very contrived plot devices. For example, Sunshine figures out the means to escape her vampire antagonists in a memory-dream. Her proficiency in magic once she starts to use it also feels like a bit of a stretch. Overall, I had some trouble suspending my disbelief in several spots. It would have probably been easier to swallow if the book moved a bit faster overall, but much time is spent on Sunshine's thoughts.
It was not all bad, however. I enjoyed the character of Sunshine, having her be a baker and seriously into baking was an interesting twist. Her family and other characters were all pretty well drawn and fun to read about. I never quite figured out what made her relationship with Mel work, but most of Sunshine's relationships seemed somewhat dysfunctional, so I let it slide.
Overall, it was a mediocre read. I found there were too many problems with the writing and plotting to enjoy it thoroughly, but there were interesting characters and some fun action every so often to keep me going.