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Black Sunshine is a first novel in Dark Eyes fantasy book series. I haven’t read a book with vampire and witches trope for a long time so I was really interested in reading this one, considering I really love Halle’s writing. It’s a dark adult romance with a paranormal twist, about sex, love, secrets, and revenge, set in contemporary San Francisco.
Black Sunshine, a witch and a vampire
A week before her 21st birthday, Lenore is kidnapped by the dangerous stranger, Absolon “Solon” Stavig. What she doesn’t know is that Solon is a centuries-old vampire who’s caught between wanting to kill Lenore and wanting to save her.
Because Lenore is also a vampire. Only she doesn’t know it yet.
Her parents were vampire slayers so Lenore was raised never knowing her true nature: once she turns twenty-one, she’ll fully turn into a vampire. Solon wants to be there to guide her, to help her with the changes. To help her understand her new needs and desires.
But many people want Lenore for themselves. There’s something special about her. And not all of them want her to survive because of it.
I have a lot to say…
…and you won’t particularly like it.
This novel was so “meh”… Okay, but nothing special. Nothing I would remember. Nothing I would like to read again. There’s a sequel (The Blood is Love), but nothing I’ve read in this first book makes me want to read that next book.
Every chapter starts with the protagonist waking up, from sleep or unconsciousness. It’s probably done on purpose (cuz no way anybody missed that), but I see it as lazy writing. Just make her wake up so you don’t have to find a way to link the scene with the previous one. Also, you’ll just use it to show the passing of time (“you were sleeping for a week”). Very creative.
I have seen absolutelly no internal or external goals from the female protagonist. The minute Lenore’s woken as a vampire, any other kind of her previous life stops playing any kind of role in this book nor is it even mentioned. This whole book is about her transition into a vampire with no other subplot. When I’m reading a book, the main question I’m asking myself is “what are the characters trying to accomplish?”, to be able to see in the end if they succeeded. I still have no idea what they were doing here. No goal was established. It was just a situation of “I just became a vampire. Now what?” And then we had a whole bunch of things that happened (which were okay, and made sense, but were used only to build the relationship between Lenore and Absolon). Yet we still have no idea what exactly were they trying to achieve with thir lives, outside of their relationship.
Still asking myself what was the point?
Even in the climax, I couldn’t really feel any danger. The bad guys have been mentioned a few times, so we could assume they were coming. But when they finally came, it was just another “meh” situation. They came? Oh, okay. I guess they’re gonna lose now. There was no tension build until that point. No real emotional turmoil experienced. We were all just so focused on Lenore and Absolon’s relationship all the time, we didn’t even take any other problem seriously.
Other than a vampire, Lenore is a witch, but she never tryed to work on her magic. Not even tried to control it or use it or learn anything about it. There was that meek attempt with bringing the roses to life, but this had no actual inpact on the plot. So it was actually a wasted potential. On the other hand, Absolon, a vampire, has had a few oportunities to show his magic. And at two crucial moments. So there was a need to show vampire’s magic, but not that of a witch?
If you’re planing to read the novel because of it’s “sexy moments”, those are something you will like. The characters do know how to enjoy themselves and they are not shy about it. Becoming immortal makes them have some pretty interesting carnal needs. For us, readers, could be fun to read about those. Unless you have something against partner sharing. Then you probably won’t particulary enjoy certain scenes.
My conclusion about Black Sunshine
When it comes to Karina Halle, I absolutelly loved loved loved her romance novel Smut. I loved it. But this one…I could have easily skiped. This is one of those books I’ll forget about a few days after reading it. It may seem like I’m hating it all through this review, but I’m actually really indifferent. The novel is supposed to be “dark”, but as I’ve said, there’s nothing in there that would make me feel anything close to dark, twisted, or intense.
One thing I did love was the worldbuilding and the setting in San Francisco. But that’s about it. Not enough for me to enjoy it. But as always, I recommend the book for you to read and come back with your own experiences. I would like to hear your thoughts about it.
If you like fantasy genre, you can find more about it here.