Ooh, this is very good. It’s like McKinley’s post-apocalyptic take on the Beauty and the Beast
tale. And I think it’s even better than her two retellings of that fairytale. There’s a different feel to this book, if you were to compare it to her other novels. In the past few weeks I’ve read a number of her fairytales and they all share a common voice in the way the story’s told and how the events are fleshed out. They’re more traditional with plain storytelling. Sunshine
has a more personal quality to the prose—like a conversation between the narrator, Sunshine, and the reader. It has a natural feel to it, that I quite liked, though I also think this is where many readers are put off. Because like a conversation, the story doesn’t necessarily follow a straight path; Sunshine will say something and then will follow it up with a tangential description before going back to her original train of thought. However it’s not always superfluous information that she’s giving, rather it’s her way of providing some background to the story she’s telling.
The story doesn’t follow the normal path of a paranormal romance. In this post-apocalyptic world, a natural antipathy exists between vampires and humans, and even though Constantine is portrayed as a sort of good guy, he doesn’t necessarily lose his menacing qualities. Nevertheless he is a likable character and I did enjoy the pairing. A sort of awkwardness exists in their relationship, as Sunshine tries to come to terms with and accept a partnership—even a friendship—with this vampire, her sworn enemy. The same goes for Constantine. I liked how the book ends, that it remains true to the characters and the relationship they’ve forged over the course of the novel, even though it’s not certain as to what the future may bring.
Also, the symbolism is rather well done from the charms down to Sunshine’s true name: Raven Blaise—the union of dark and light... a play of light and shadow, a theme that runs prevalent throughout the book. It’s also a sensual book, but not just in terms of sex. The rich descriptions both color and stimulate the senses—from sight to sound to taste to texture.
I think I’m going to agree with Neil Gaiman’s summation of the book calling it a pretty much near perfect read.