The Family: The Brotherhood
By Donte M McNeal

Based in Michigan, Donte's Playground is a blog by Donte M McNeal. His posts range from nonsensical ramblings about anime, in-depth reviews of books and television/film, to random spurts of philosophical babble.

Christina McMullen's "The Eyes of The Sun"

Christina McMullen's "The Eyes of The Sun"

Howdy folks! I'm back with another review, and this time it's for a book that has a fresh spin on one of my favorite supernatural creatures: Vampires! Now, let's get into what I thought about Christina McMullen's The Eyes of The Sun.

Underwhelming cover for a great book

Underwhelming cover for a great book

So, The Eyes of The Sun. You could say I went into this book blind. I didn’t read any blurbs, or the synopsis; I only had a recommendation from a friend and the knowledge that vampires was in it. Honestly, without that, I doubt I would have picked this book up, especially given its less than memorable cover (the cover dictates whether I get a book more often than not), and that would've meant that I would've missed out a great read!

To say I’m an avid fan of vampires (really supernatural creatures in general), is a massive understatement, but even I can admit that the creatures as of late have drowned in personalities and characteristics that amount to nothing more than a mesmerizing, brooding bad boy/girl that pale in comparison to older iterations of bloodsuckers. I’m not really a fan of that, despite my love for the Twilight Saga, but that is neither here nor there. The reason I said all that was to praise McMullen’s refreshing and innovative approach to vampires. I don’t remember the last book I read where a vampire was something other than a supernatural creature, blessed with the “curse” of enhanced senses, heightened strength and the trademark insatiable thirst for blood. Don’t misunderstand, vampires exhibit these traits, though it is due to genetic alterations and in some instances keeping vampiric bloodlines as pure as possible. The Eyes of The Sun bucks the tired trends with a more sci-fi approach, and man does it do the genre, and this story, good!

We have Lucy, our big-hearted and intuitive mc, who grows on you rather quickly due to her wittiness and smarts. She doesn’t believe everything she’s told, and there are hints of a Sherlockian-level deductive ability that you can’t but want to get behind. Okay, Sherlockian is a bit much, but seeing a young woman who is smart, and doesn’t try to hide by acting ditzy is something that loved about this book. There are fewer things better than a capable woman who isn’t merely a damsel in distress waiting to be saved by some haunted knight in shining armor. Lucy’s character alone made this book enjoyable for me, and when you add in the colorful supporting cast of delightful, complex and memorable characters (Gumbo anyone?)? Well, that just makes The Eyes of The Sun even better!

So, what is this book about? Well, you can read the blurb for more detail, but we have the traditional good versus evil, with the group of vampire hunters Lucy is recruited into having to face off against the resurfacing threat of the titular group, who happen to be a group of vamps who’s end goal is, believe it or not, world domination. In stories like this, your mc is usually the “chosen one,” who is the only one capable of taking down this great evil, but as one of the characters blatantly points out to Lucy, she’s not the chosen one, even with her super blood to which is fatal to vamps, which means that plot armor doesn’t apply to her like most other good versus evil mcs. I appreciated this, because while she is special, that doesn’t mean she’s untouchable. Every reckless decision she makes could lead to an early death, and that made tension blossom in my chest every time she did something wild, which was often.

Speaking of wild, the action in this book is done extremely well. Every time a fight happened, you could sense how much work McMullen put into making them believable, even though you’re dealing with vampires and humans fighting one another. On that some note, the way that hunters fight against the superior vampires—apart from the blood that could incapacitate or kill said vamps—is the technology they’re equipped with. Even with the biological approach to vampires, McMullen breaks the mold further with this. The hunter tech isn’t anything crazy, but weapons specified to kill vamps that aren’t exposure to sunlight, crosses, holy water or stakes? Sign me up!

The Eyes of The Sun delivers on everything that makes a vampire story interesting. Great characters, engaging action, a little mystery, death and a believable romance that isn’t sappy (or creepy, considering most vampire stories of late have centuries-old vamps pining after a young man or woman who’s not even a quarter of that). I’m glad I picked this up, along with the other two in the trilogy, and I’m tempted to shelve what I planned on reading next just so I can continue all the way to the end!

My final verdict?

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Anime Challenge Day 1

Anime Challenge Day 1

Michelle Madow's "Prophecy of Shadows"

Michelle Madow's "Prophecy of Shadows"