Book sixteen is Sunshine by Robin McKinley. I picked this book up at our local thrift store, read the blurb on the back, thought “Not another vampire novel…”, put it back, and then picked it up and bought it. I bought it for two reasons (well, three): a favorable quote from Neil Gaiman on the front, the mention of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” on the back, and the fact that it was only 50 cents, so I wouldn’t feel bad if I ended up abandoning it partially-read.
Sunshine is set in a somewhat alternate universe peopled by humans and a variety of Others: demons, werecreatures, vampires, and the like. Human civilization is recovering from the “Voodoo Wars” and attempting to eradicate vampires and other non-human sentients, or at least keep them in their place. The narrator of the novel, Rae Seddon, works as a baker in her stepfather’s coffeehouse. She goes for a drive one night, and ends up being kidnapped by vampires.
It was difficult for me not to compare this novel to the Twilight series, which I read but was not at all impressed. It has some of the same elements: a human-vampire relationship, major conflict, etc, but the character of Rae was much better developed and less wishy-washy. There were elements to the story that drove me nuts, such as Rae’s endless intense introspection (you touched a vampire, get over it) and the tendency to over-explain parts of the universe (being part demon is bad, got it). I have to admit, I skipped entire paragraphs of both. Where certain ‘world-building’ parts were made abundantly clear, there were other parts that were not explained or were touched on just enough to be confusing.
All of that being said, I liked the book. It wasn’t my fastest read, but I did read it, which says something since I started reading the book with the intent of abandoning it if I was not impressed. It has humorous moments, erotic moments, and it is well written. If she writes a sequel, I’d read it.