Post-apocalyptic not-YA: Sunshine

Sunshine, by Robin McKinley

How the world ends: A general supernatural apocalyptic war that destroyed many of our cities and left others with dead and dangerous zones no one sane enters, plus the usual marginal neighborhoods have become a bit more marginal than they used to be.

I forgot to blog my impressions of this one as I read it, and they’re largely faded. Our protagonist is captured by vampires, escapes (even though no one ever escapes) and has to deal with the fallout (and the vampire she escapes with) that results from that. The rambling style of the book didn’t always work for me, but McKinkley’s lovely prose helped balance that, and the vampire is interestingly and compellingly handled, even for my more fur-than-fangs tastes.

But the really interesting thing about this book is how it handles its apocalyptic nature. It took, I don’t know–a third? half?–of the book to realize it even had a post-apocalyptic setting. Because our protagonist doesn’t think much about she lives in a burned out post-apocalyptic world. No, she thinks about her job at the local coffee shop, and baking cinnamon rolls there, and trying to cope with her mother, and hanging with her boyfriend, and which books she’s reading, and did I mention baking cinnamon rolls? Later, after she escapes the vampires, she also thinks about that trauma and the stress and fallout from same. And occasionally she’ll let slip that there’s more space between cities than there used to be, or that property prices have gone down, or that she looks over her shoulder a bit more when going through a certain neighborhood.

So only slowly do you realize that this war with the supernaturals was cataclysmic, and that the world is still thick with supernatural creatures. Because our protagonist, mostly she’s living her life, and it’s not like any of us go around thinking about the fallen aspects of the world we live in on a day-to-day basis.

That aspect of the book–I loved it. Even if there weren’t other lovely bits, that quiet sinking in of past cataclysm made this one worth reading.

(The post-apocalyptic reading list and thoughts on some of the other books on same.)

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