November 24, 2005

Sunshine by Robin McKinley

chandelier-lit ceiling with bat motifBoth Becky and Rachel raved about this so it was a pretty good bet that it'd be good. Of course Robin McKinley wrote it so the odds are even better.

There are some books where half-way through the first chapter you know everything you need to know about the characters and the setting, and then there are the books that slowly unfold, revealing details as they become important to the story so that the world and characters come into progressively sharper focus as the book goes on. Sunshine is a book of the latter sort. And as such, it's very diifficult to write a spoiler-free review because almost anything I could tell you about it is a mystery as the book begins. I'm probably not spoiling too much by saying that it takes place in a world where vampires and werewolves and other demons and monsters are an accepted true part of life.

In such a setting there's a lot of information that has to be communicated to the reader so they know, for example, what sorts of demons there are. McKinley uses a clever device to make these info-dumps palatable: she puts them in the narrator's voice where the narrator, the Sunshine of the title, is a bit of an Other nerd, spending her spare time reading all about the Others. Her voice as someone who knows a little bit too much about her preferred subject is completely convincing and charming enough, in that way that true-geeks always are, that the info-dumps are virtually transparent within the larger narrative.

I don't want to say anything more about it because you should just go and read it for yourself. Go.

Posted by jeffy at November 24, 2005 12:06 AM