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Moonshine: A Novel by Alaya Johnson

Moonshine: A Novel (edition 2010)

by Alaya Johnson

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1631273,133 (4.03)6
Title:Moonshine: A Novel
Authors:Alaya Johnson
Info:St. Martin's Griffin (2010), Edition: 1, Paperback, 288 pages
Collections:Your library

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Moonshine by Alaya Johnson

  1. 30
    Soulless by Gail Carriger (Mumugrrl, MyriadBooks)
    Mumugrrl: Both books are set in urban, alternative realities, with humans openly interacting with preternatural society. Both have great strong heroines.
  2. 20
    New Amsterdam by Elizabeth Bear (electronicmemory)
    electronicmemory: Excellent alternate histories of the United States which filter in political twists on Prohibition (Moonshine) and colonial revolutions (New Amsterdam), as each book's female protagonist finds herself accidentally delving into the darker side of the current political tangles of the day.… (more)
  3. 20
    Sunshine by Robin McKinley (electronicmemory)
    electronicmemory: Two books which both involve alternate histories where vampire and supernatural creatures have become everyday occurrences - and dangers - and how two women deal with the sudden appearance of a troubled supernatural creature in their lives. Both feature memorable protagonists, as well as fascinating alternate histories of the United States.… (more)

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Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
This was such a delightful mess of a book with everything through in for a good measure - gangsters, vampires, social activists, demon hunters, jazz and The Prohibition, of course. Can't have roaring 20s without it!

Oh, I forgot djinn! The mysterious stranger with a dark sex appeal, the client whose dragging Zephyr in his messy dealings with gangsters started all her troubles. Yep, meet Amir.

Zephyr is a no-nonsense skinny activist, a do-gooder who fights for social equality between humans and paranormals and teaches latter in the night school. She is also an ex-demon hunter who saw that her family business was indiscriminately killing all paranormals no matter if they were criminals or not and stepped away from it. She is also a vegetarian just for the hell of it. Because you know, the rest is not enough.

So, Amir hires her to find this gangster who he suspects is a vampire. To do so, Zephyr needs to infiltrate a gang of teenage vamps who terrorise the whole neighbourhood by their unhinged cruel ways. She offers to teach their leader to read.

At the same time there is another mystery waiting to be solved - Zephyr found a brutally turned into a vampire little boy on one of the streets, and she needs to find his mother in between her detective work, protests and her newfound singing career...

The situation gets worse when her dad and a bunch of demon hunters arrive into town and his and his daughter's mark coincide...

Not only this book is full of fun, plenty of action and great characters, the atmosphere is fantastic! New York and its dirty dangerous streets, its horrible conditions for immigrant workers, and poverty are beautifully described, and I loved it!

This mix of urban fantasy and historical fiction has a great kick to it, and I recommend it to anyone who wants to find a kick ass character in a historical setting.

Wicked City, the next book in series is only available as hardback in UK at the moment. I can't afford it, but as soon as it's printed as paperback I'll buy it! ( )
  kara-karina | Nov 20, 2015 |
Meet Zephyr, the vampire suffragette (she's not a vampire, though, quite the opposite). This book hooked me and wouldn't let go. First of all, the setting: New York City, 1920s. Female heroine very involved in social justice who's also a teacher. Does it get any better than that, I wonder?
The plot reminded me of The Godfather, in a good way - different factions of a city fighting for power and blood, with a lot more social commentary than Mario Puzo's novel as well as a dollop of supernatural elements. It touches on many things - society's systematic oppression of immigrants and anyone who isn't white and human (I thought the parallel between supernatural creatures' status and that of a whole bunch of minorities was very well brought up), feminism, religion and class. Zephyr is an unforgettable heroine - finally a character I can fully root for! Doesn't happen very often but she's passionate, driven, idealistic and down-to-earth and just plain charming. I loved her and it was a joy following her in New York.
While I found the romance at first a little tedious (but then again, I'm not the best audience for romance, which I always find boring to read), I'll have to admit even I was interested by the end. It's got some interesting twists and turns and while I'm not completely sold on Amir, he was a funny character.

This book passes the Bechdel test easily - Zephyr has interactions with Lily and Aileen that are about more than men. Lily is a journalist that I really really enjoyed reading about, she's sharp and smart and I thought her teaming up with Zephyr provided us with some of the best scenes of the book.

Moonshine is a rare gem in that it illuminates a side of the 20s that seems to have failed making it into the history books. That all the luxury of the Roaring Twenties had a price, and for every cocktail paid for, people died of poverty, lacking basic care. That essentially, the Roaring Twenties were Roaring for the benefit of an elite. Zephyr's job (she teaches a range of subjects at her local night school) makes the link between her flapper dresses and immigrants' need to understand the law that works against them.

The reason I'm giving this book four stars is because I wish Alaya Johnson had written more of this world and developed her themes in more pages. Her ideas are wonderful and I think the book would have been even better had she detailed the universe of Moonshine more than she does here. It's fortunate that a sequel is in the works - I'll definitely be amongst the first to purchase it, I can't wait to follow Zephyr again! ( )
  RubyScarlett | Nov 11, 2013 |
Very well written vampire fiction. The cheesy cover does not do this book justice. (A writer of this talent deserves a quality book cover. The publisher should refer to any Cherie Priest cover or Elizabeth Bear's books published through Subterranean Press.)

We are in 1920's post-war New York with Zephyr Hollis. It is part of daily life to share the sidewalk with vampires, faeries, genies, etc.

Zephyr is a social worker who teaches night school to immigrant "Others", volunteers at the blood bank, and helps anyone who asks.

She gets involved in a sweet, slow romance with a student who asks her a favor, a favor that could get her killed. She kicks a** and experiences some amazing action sequences.

Very well researched: you feel immersed in the 20's with language, clothing, prohibition, politics, etc. Easily one of my favorite books this year. Already ordered the 2nd book which I hope is one of many Zephyr Hollis books to come. ( )
  GirlMisanthrope | Oct 12, 2012 |
You may also read my review here: http://www.mybookishways.com/2012/04/moonshine-zephyr-hollis-1-by-alaya-johnson....

How did I possibly miss Moonshine! Zephyr Hollis, former vamp hunter and current crusader for social causes, teaches night classes to immigrants and the underprivileged, but by day, takes part in all manner of protests and marches. The only problem is, these endeavors are not going to make her rich, and when she’s approached by one of her students to find and help take down a vicious vampire mob boss, she takes the job. Little does she know that her handsome, charming employer will soon become more than just a job.

Moonshine takes place in ‘20s New York, in the midst of much social strife, which keeps a girl like Zephyr pretty busy. But make no mistake, Zephyr is one tough cookie. She can kick butt, too. Literally. Mostly vampire butt, and there are plenty of vamps roaming around. However, she’s all for vampire rights, just not for the ones that think turning a small boy is their idea of sport. When she finds said young boy in an alley, covered in vampire bites, she has no idea what her discovery will lead to. But she’ll soon find out.

I really enjoyed following Zephyr around ‘20s New York as she navigates her way through vampire family secrets, her own growing attraction to the handsome Amir , who’s definitely more than human(even I had a crush), not to mention the pressure of her own family (who’s interests are most definitely NOT in the vampires’ corner.) Add to the mix Zephyr’s charming diva of a roommate Aileen, an intrepid girl reporter hot on the trail of the ultimate scoop, and the charm and atmosphere of the roaring ‘20s, and you’ve got a charmer of a book. I loved Moonshine from start to finish, and can’t wait to crack open Wicked City! ( )
  MyBookishWays | Apr 25, 2012 |
Highly recommended! Zephyr Hollis is the vampire suffragette: though she has a background hunting vampires and assorted Others in Prohibition-era America (NYC by way of Montana), now she does social work and agitates for fair wages and other protections for vampires. When a mysterious stranger enters her life, seeking her help to find a notorious vampire criminal, matters get complicated fast. While some of the plot connections were a bit neat, Zephyr was a fantastic character who both relied on and wanted to escape her past, and I loved her interactions with the multiple other women of importance in her life. The sexual tension between her and the romantic interest was also quite well done; Zephyr is determinedly modern about sex, and her choice to give in to attraction was always a choice. The sequel is coming out next month, so I read this at just the right time! ( )
  rivkat | Mar 4, 2012 |
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Zephyr Hollis is an underfed, overzealous social activist who teaches night school to the underprivileged of the Lower East Side. Strapped for cash, Zephyr agrees to help a student, the mysterious Amir, who proposes she use her charity worker cover to bring down a notorious vampire mob boss. What he doesnt tell her is why. Soon enough she's tutoring a child criminal with an angelic voice, dodging vampires high on a new blood-based street drug, and trying to determine the real reason behind Amir's request - not to mention attempting to resist his dark, inhuman charm.… (more)

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