Every now and then on my blog, I’ll review a book that I think may be of interest to college students. It’s also a crafty way of getting me to read for pleasure again. Ever since starting grad school, all my reading became purely scholarly, and I suddenly realized I lost my passion for fiction. As a result, For The Win Book Reviews were born!
Today’s book review is for Sunkissed, by Carys Jones.
(This review was done by Jasmine of the For The Win Review Team)
In the small village of Fandova, Dawn Summers lays dying. Her fiancé, Thomas Weeville, wrings his hands in desperation. Her mother resides in the comfort that her daughter will die soon and be free of the disease. However, that does not come to pass…
Spurred on by his love for Dawn, Thomas seeks a solution to save his ailing bride-to-be. His actions lead Dawn on the path of her destiny – which was set forth by her own father, a powerful and influential supernatural being who’s on the run after consorting with Dawn’s mother.
In her transformation, Dawn is turned by the reclusive and mysterious town doctor, a deceivingly evil and decrepit man. The transformation lends less than desirable results for Dawn, but not Thomas, who greedily sees the new power Dawn has obtained. Through his own efforts, Thomas succeeds in finally embracing the evil which has always rested within his heart. His only shred of humanity left lies in his love for Dawn, who sees only a monster in herself and now with him.
Distraught by Thomas’ post-transformation actions one night, Dawn opens the door, letting the killing sunlight hit her face. It is then that she discovers a secret about herself and her lineage, something of which was prophesied by ancient creatures long ago.
Dawn’s story in Sunkissed is about her transformation and discovery of what she is destined to become – the harbinger of change for all her kind. The author does a good job of capturing the details of Dawn’s and Thomas’ post-transformations and the difference on how they embodied light and dark. However, the first half of the book was choppy in its delivery – requiring smoother transitions between character narrations and point-of-view. The author made progress on her transitions later on in the book, making it more of an enjoyable, but relatively simple, read. Sunkissed does not and will not offer any kind of depth. It is a normal supernatural romance novel that, for this reviewer, only took a couple of hours to finish.
Although the novel did start off choppy and a little dull, it transitioned in the latter half of the story into something more interesting and with smoother transitions. This makes it important to note that the author does need to put more thought into the way her storyline progresses. Pace is an important element in literature. In addition, the ending was a bit abrupt, but the assumption is that this is the first in a series – so this reviewer is a little more forgiving on that aspect. However, it is important to close some elements of the story for the reader, so they are feeling more satisfied with the ending, leaving them excited and willing to read the next book in the series. Sunkissed felt like all the threads were still open even to the very end – nothing felt completely resolved… yet.
As a last note, the author should be more careful when world building. It was difficult establishing where in the U.S. Fandova could have possibly been. One guess is the Midwest but the initial world presented struck as old-world Europe rather than early 1850’s U.S. Midwest – especially with the term “village” rather than “town”, the term that would have been used even in a sparsely populated town like Fandova. Some of the clichés of “going to the West” (or even “Mexico”… Mexico??), which Dawn expressed interest traveling to, seemed stemmed out of a stereotypical and inaccurate “impression” of the U.S. and its history at the time, rather than the actual history and mentality at the time. Given the author’s roots in England, this common impression of U.S. during this time period is understandably but not necessarily excusable. This reviewer wished that the author had taken more time in the first part of her novel when building the location. This may lead to another reason the latter half of the book was more enjoyable from a cultural and historical perspective – given its location in modern New York City. Even to most Europeans, New York City is fairly recognizable and understood.
Overall, Sunkissed rates 3 out of 5 stars. Its drawbacks were not nearly enough to detract this reviewer from wanting to hear the rest Dawn’s sage and how she will change the world while running from an ancient evil and an obsessed ex-lover.