Book thoughts: The Sunshine Series by Nikki Rae

The Sunshine Series
Author: Nikki Rae
Publisher: Nikki Rae
Genre: Paranormal Romance/Vampire

This is a bit of an unorthodox review from me, since I’m reviewing all the three books of a trilogy together. I did this to make it easier though, so I could post the review all at once. (And because I didn’t want to make the author wait even longer, since she’s waited a hell of a long time already. My sincere apologies, Nikki.)

Be warned! This review might be a bit longer than usual.

The Sunshine Series is a YA vampire series, so it’s in a genre we’re all pretty familiar with. (No, the series doesn’t really have anything to do with the end of the world, except in the general I-will-end-you-I’m-a-super-old-super-strong-vampire sense.)

Before I get too far into the review itself, I should preface this by saying that I strongly dislike YA vampire series, mostly because there are so freaking many of them floating around. That said, you might be wondering why I agreed to review not just one, but three books if I want to throttle the next vampire who decides it’s an awesome idea to hang out in high school for a century or so. (Why do vampires think this is a good idea?) The short answer is: the series seemed interesting. The heroine had a…quirk? medical condition? something? that made it seem like it was not your average YA vampire + love story.

And, ultimately, it was different, but also wasn’t different.

Clear as mud? Okay, let me explain.

I would say that That Other YA Vampire Series had a definite influence on this one. (But I would say that about every YA vampire series, really, since The Series That Shall Not Be Named influenced a whole hell of a lot of people…and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.) There are a few similarities, such as an angsty main female character, a male vampire in high school, lots of anger and angst, and the eventual turning of the main character (who becomes a “special” vampire who doesn’t do things in a way a “new” vampire is supposed to).

I have to say…the angst, anger, and general bitchiness did get rather tiring by the end of the series. Sophie is…a very angry human being. And yes, it did make sense in the beginning, since she’s “different” from everyone else and is treated as such (as in, she’s treated like a virus or something. You know how high school kids are). I get this type of angst, since I, too, was an outsider. But to be perfectly honest, Sophie’s angsty anger just got on my nerves by the end of the third book. (Which actually explains my mother’s reaction to, well, me by the end of high school. Huh.)

Anyway. Even though Sophie is different and “strange” (her strangeness comes from her serious sun allergy*, which means she can’t have any exposed skin in the sun), she does have some very close friends. She’s also an exceptional pianist and singer – this musical ability becomes Very Important in the books.

*sun allergies are a thing, y’all. Guess who else has it (in very mild form)? (Maybe I’m part vampire!)

However! There were differences from That Other YA Vampire Series. For example: Miles, our intrepid high schooler/vampire, actually did adult things before going back to high school – he co-owns the club Sophie and her band play at. So he hasn’t spent all of the last two hundred years taking high school calculus over and over again as if he were stuck in a horrible version of Groundhog Day. Also, the characters were interesting. (No, really.)

So. All that being said, if the heroine annoyed me to the point that I wanted to stand at my front door and tell people to get off my damn lawn, why did I read the series? (And in its entirety?)

It wasn’t a bad series. I actually quite liked it. The characters were interesting (I kinda loved Stevie and Jade), and there was enough in the book, by way of plot and characters, to keep me interested in the series as a whole. The author has an easy-to-read writing style (she’s a good storyteller), which is also a bonus.

Okay, so, in a nutshell, here’s what I liked:

  • While many things were similar to Twilight, there were enough differences to make this series different. (Different in a good way.)
  • The characters were interesting, and most of the secondary characters were fleshed out. So, you know, when things happen to those characters, you feel it.
  • Sophie’s otherness and anger: okay, so yes, I may have gotten tired of it by the end, but I got where that anger was coming from. And to be perfectly honest, I did like that she was angry about being othered by her peers; I thought it was realistic. (Also, I could relate to that part.)
  • The Big Bad Vampire, while evil and powerful, also had redeeming qualities and, in the end, seemed more of a flawed anti-hero of sorts.
  • The ending. It was very bittersweet. I liked it because it was different. And it fit the story, since it showed Sophie’s growth as a character. But dude, was it ever bittersweet.
  • This has nothing to do with the story, but…have you seen the covers? Seriously. Look at them. They’re gorgeous covers.

Here’s what I wasn’t too fond of:

  • The ending. It was very bittersweet. (Will there be a book 4? Because seriously, that ending.)
  • Michael, the Big Bad, had an end that just wrapped up far too quickly. The tension built for three books, and then it just…came to an abrupt halt, really. It was just too fast and too tidy for me.
  • What, exactly, caused Michael’s monsterness? We never do find out.
  • Sophie’s angst. (See above. Basically, I ended up not liking it because I’m old and cranky.)
  • Sometimes, Myles’ desire to please Sophie just made him look like a doormat. He’s clearly not, but sometimes it came across that way.

Overall, though, the series was a good read. I’d read something by this author again, though I don’t know if I’d read another vampire novel. (This isn’t because of the author’s writing; I’m just not a big fan of vampire novels anymore.)





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