Review: Moonshine by Alaya Johnson

Moonshine by Alaya Johnson (Zephyr Hollis #1)


Synopsis from Goodreads

Imagining vampires at the heart of the social struggles of 1920s, Moonshine blends a tempestuous romance with dramatic historical fiction, populated by a lively mythology inhabiting the gritty New York City streets.

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 doesn’t 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 (often unsuccessfully) his dark, inhuman charm.

 Amazon  US($6.00!)/UK | Amazon kindle US | The Book Depository US/UK


* * *
 This was such a delightful mess of a book with everything thrown 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! Lovely cover as well.

* * *
Обалденная книга, смешавшая два прекрасных жанра в один - городское фэнтэзи и исторический роман на фоне Нью-Йорка 20-х гг. с его бедностью, грязью, социализмом, суффражистками, джазом и Сухим Законом.

Куча экшна, замечательные персонажи, несколько сюжетных линий, вампиры и новый алкоголь для них, что превращает из в обезумевших животных, гангстеры, банда вампиров-малолеток, терроризирующая город своими  всплесками насилия, таинственный джинн Амир; искусанный и превращённый в вампира ребёнок, мать которого Зефир безуспешно пытается найти на фоне своей детективной работы на Амира...

Сама Зефир - сумасшедшая тощая социалистка, борящаяся за равные права для паранормальных существ, преподающая в ночной школе, поющая джаз вегетерианка с опытом бывшего охотника за демонами...

В общем, сплошное веселье с горем пополам в незабываемой атмосфере. Страсть как рекомендую.


  1. Vampires + 20s? I'm in. Sex appeal...does that mean I should wait a while? Oh well...great review!

  2. Gangsters? Cool, cos I do like that era :D So I approve of this book. Might be one for me

  3. Nina, don't pay attention to that word - it's perfectly alright to read, nothing erotic or even steamy. he is just very alluring due to his nature, that's it ;) Hope you'll read it1

    Blodeuedd, it was a fun, unusual book to read, I really enjoyed it and hope you give it a try! ;)

  4. Oh I do think I want this one now! :D It's a completely new book and author for me, but love the review. Sounds like a read I would totally enjoy. Thank you!

  5. You're welcome, Melissa! I thought that book was a breath of fresh air if you want something a little bit different in UF. :) Hope you like it!


Post a comment

Popular posts