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Publisher's Summary

There are places in the world where darkness rules, where it's unwise to walk. Sunshine knew that. But there hadn't been any trouble out at the lake for years, and she needed a place to be alone for a while. Unfortunately, she wasn't alone. She never heard them coming. Of course you don't, when they're vampires.

They took her clothes and sneakers. They dressed her in a long red gown. And they shackled her to the wall of an abandoned mansion -within easy reach of a figure stirring in the moonlight.

She knows that he is a vampire. She knows that she's to be his dinner and that when he is finished with her, she will be dead. Yet, as dawn breaks, she finds that he has not attempted to harm her. And now it is he who needs her to help him survive the day.

©2003 Robin McKinley (P)2008 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"A gripping, funny, page-turning, pretty much perfect work of magical literature." (Neil Gaiman, New York Times best-selling author of Anansi Boys)"McKinley knows very well - and makes her [audience] believe - that 'the insides of our own minds are the scariest things there are.'" ( Publishers Weekly Starred Review)

What members say

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  • Overall

An absolutely riveting, addictive tale

I've been a member of Audible for a few years now, and have downloaded and listened to over 100 audiobooks, but this is the first time I've been inspired to write a review.

I frequently check Audible's inventory to see if any of my all-time favorite authors have been added. After having read, on the recommendation of a friend, the first of the "Twilight" series, I looked again for "Sunshine" by McKinley. Imagine my delight to find that it has just been added to the Audible library.

On the cover of the print edition I have, Neil Gaiman (another favorite author) writes "A pretty near perfect book." That about sums it up for me.

This is by far the best vampire tale I have ever read. It is the Brothers Grimm to the Disneyesque teen books by Meyer. If you like your tales with gripping characters, suspense, deep mythic depths and a cracking plot that whisks you along, this is the book for you.

I've read Sunshine three times and listened to it once. My only complaint is that there has not been a sequel, which is apparently feedback McKinley has often heard about this book. Along the corridor of the plot, the reader keeps getting glimpses into fascinating rooms where the story might be further developed, and then the book ends without the reader being able to go back and explore those areas. This is an appetizing tale in so many ways, and definitely leaves the reader wanting MORE! (In a good way -- like one wants to go back to a five-star restaurant and order another entree by the same chef, even though the one you had was perfect.)

What I don't understand, with the runaway success of the Twilight series (2 credits per book? Really?) and Buffy, and the Ann Rice books back in the day, why THIS book is not at the top of all the bestseller lists. I envy you if Sunshine is still in your future

55 of 57 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Sandra
  • St. Louis, MO, United States
  • 04-30-10

Good story, bad narrator

I tried to listen to this story several times and was always so turned off by the narrator that I had to stop. I finally made myself keep listening. The story is actually pretty good. The narrator sounds like an older woman doing the voice of a whiney child. The main character is a woman in her twenties but it is hard to view her as any kind of adult because of the narration. The main character performs adult activities in the book, so it was pretty freaky that the whole thing was read from a whiney child voice. I think this book would have been better to read instead of listen. I noticed the narrator narrates several other books. Even if it is one of my favorite authors, I will not download another book by this narrator.. she's just that bad!

33 of 35 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

What a difference a narrator makes

This book came extremely highly recommended by a friend whose taste I trust implicitly. I should note, however, that she didn't recommend the audiobook.

I immediately disliked the main character, Sunshine, but as I listened more, I realized it wasn't the character I disliked so much as the narrator's idea of who the main character is. "Sunshine" is written in first person limited point of view, and Laural Merlington chose to add inflections that made the character Sunshine sound much younger than she is supposed to be. Minor complaints were a little too emphatic, and serious revelations read far too flippantly. If I imagined the words with slightly different inflections, the meaning changed and Sunshine immediately became more reasonable, more relatable, and more likable. Additionally, Merlington has a distinctive voice that sounds very much like an older woman. This is completely acceptable for the character of Sunshine, but way off base for anyone else, most of all Constantine.

The story is solid if you like vampire fiction. Before downloading this book, I highly recommend listening to the sample to see if this is a narrator you can bear to listen to for 15 hours. The narrator will make or break this for you.

31 of 33 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Wonderful book Narrator is terrible

What did you love best about Sunshine?

Con the vampire.

What did you like best about this story?

The story line and all the background details.

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

I she put feeling into it but doesn't have a pleasant voice

Any additional comments?

Great book but not very good Narrator

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Love the book, annoyed by the narrator

I read, and loved, this story when it first came out and have been recommending it unabashedly ever since. I enjoy the way the backstory and world is introduced and explained, I like Sunshine, and I really appreciate that the vampires are not all about sex appeal.

I did not like the narration for this at all. The voice Merlington used for Sunshine did not mesh in the least with the voice "heard" when I first read the book. She made Sunshine sound whiny and far less practical than I read her as. Lines that come across as dry and ironic in the book were delivered in a way that made them sound desperate and self-pitying.

It is nice to have this to listen to when I'm driving or plying, but the print book is head and shoulders better than the audio one.

20 of 23 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Lynn
  • Austin, TX, United States
  • 05-11-12

suck it twilight!

If you could sum up Sunshine in three words, what would they be?

better than twilight

Who was your favorite character and why?

Sunshine. She is powerful, intresting, real, loving and down to earth.

What about Laural Merlington’s performance did you like?

she captured the spirit of Sunshine and Con and the relationship between them quite well.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

yes, it is that kind of book. When i read it i couldn't put it down and when i listened to it 5 years later it was the same way. I look forward to listening to it again!!

Any additional comments?

Far more realistic and classic vampire love story than twilight. The magic aspect was a nice touch :o) It leaves you wanting more, but feeling satisfied at the same time.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • michelle
  • cedar creek, TX, United States
  • 11-12-10

Drawn out and then some

The actual meat of this story was great; but the filler was horrible! The relationship between Sunshine and Conn was intriguing and should have been further developed. But what really lost me was all the trivial "commentary." I had to listen to this one in double time to get thru it. This really could have been a great story, if it weren't for so much filler. AND, the narrator did NOT match the character at all.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall


Interesting and well-written, with strong characters. I especially like the community the author shows us, and the rapport the main character has with a wide range of other characters. If you're looking for a paranormal romance this isn't it, though it dances around the edges; it's more a science fiction/fantasy book about a character coming to terms with herself.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Not a teen drama, thank God!

Would you listen to Sunshine again? Why?

I have both the print and audible versions of this book. I am a huge McKinley fan, and wish that more of her books were available on audible. Her skill at world-building is second to none. Definitely a keeper, and each time I read this I notice something new that makes the story even richer.

What did you like best about this story?

The story is written from the first person perspective, and Sunshine just starts talking to you like you live in her world an know what she knows. At first it is a little disconcerting, because she makes references to unfamiliar places, people and events. But there's no question from the first chapter that this is her story, and as a result you become really invested in each and every one of her experiences, thoughts and fears...and even come to be amused by her frequent rambling digressions.

Which scene was your favorite?

Every scene with Con. I wish we'd seen more of him.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Every time Sunshine made a decision that took her further and further into conflict, or further divided her allegiance. That's the mark of a good story--nothing is cut and dry, lack and white.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

absolutely wonderful

A magnificent story--well presented--I wish I could read it again for the first time, but listening for the first time was nearly as good. McKinley not only tells good stories, she tells stories well. A long-awaited addition to my audio library--and worth the wait.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful