Monday, April 19, 2010

Robin McKinley "Sunshine"

Did I say to myself while reading this book, "It's just a classic fantasy quest tale: and really, the angst sections go on a bit too long and her worries about demon blood seem silly." Yes, my logical mind registered these judgments.

And did I think, the vampire thing is sooooo overdone at this point, I'm surprised Robin McKinley would go there (not knowing that this was written in 2003 but still...). Yes, I thought that. So why did this book seem to squirm back toward my hand every time I put it down, like one of Rae's charms in her glove compartment. Why did I carry it with me everywhere just in case I had an extra second? Why did I finish it and sit staring at the cover for ten minutes just luxuriating. Then when I felt the cover was inadequate to the beauty of the book (and this cover is awesome) why did I have to go back over all of their conversations, just to see what I had missed, forgotten, not entirely understood?

Because that's how Robin McKinley gets me every time. Were there problems, yes. But in this book she takes the simple fantasy quest framework and adds something very very important. First she walks us through what it might cost someone to accept their 'special' status as the world saver. Then she lingers after the successful destruction of evil to recognize what it might have cost the warriors. What does it cost someone to even face and recognize that kind of evil, what does it cost someone to learn that they are capable of destroying that evil, not because they are so above it, but because they have some affinity for it. I can leap from this fantasy to Darfur much too easily. That is the mark of an exceptional author.

Fantasy Vampire Novel 2003: 5 out of 5 black silk shirts.


Shannon said...

I love this book. I read it when it first came out, and it still lingers in my mind.

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Heloise said...


Exactly! There is just something about this book that will not let me go.