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Moonshine Paperback – May 11, 2010

22 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the Zephyr Hollis Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Fans of Stephenie Meyer and Charlaine Harris will be engaged by this tale, the first in a series set in a parallel 1920s New York City. Zephyr Hollis, a demon-hunter's daughter, has an unusual immunity to the undead that keeps her safe while she teaches vampire night school and marches with the Family Action Committee for Nonhuman Laborers. Hardheaded and softhearted, she soon earns the nickname of the vampire suffragette. When an attractive djinn, Amir, asks Zephyr to help him take down Rinaldo, a vampire mob boss, she finds herself in an unlikely romance as she rushes to get information out of the notorious Turn Boys gang before her father kills them. The prose is generally solid, and Johnson's light, tongue-in-cheek approach makes it surprisingly easy to imagine supernatural creatures picketing Gentleman Jimmy Walker's City Hall. (May)
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"Moonshine is an utterly captivating novel, depicting a richly detailed 1920s alternative New York City inhabited by social activists, feminists…and Others--vampires, fairies, and the occasional, charming genie, as vampire-suffragette Miss Zephyr Hollis discovers. A fabulous entertainment."
--Ellen Datlow, multi award-winning editor

"I love Zephyr Hollis and the magical version of New York she lives in.  Johnson's new series is witty, fun, and stuffed with delicious tidbits of history and mythic lore."
-Terri Windling, award-winning author of THE ARMLESS MAIDEN

"I hope Zephyr Hollis's adventures have only begun. I want more!"
--Emma Bull, author of WAR FOR THE OAKS

“A rip roaring romp through a fascinating period in history and a thoroughly enjoyable read…a winner!” --Karen Chance, author of THE CASSANDRA PALMER SERIES

"A page-turning delight, with bicycles and enchanted blades, drug wars and settlement evening schools, romance and heartbreak. Move over, Buffy and Anita, and make room for Zephyr Hollis!"
--Sarah Smith, author of THE VANISHED CHILD

"In Alaya Johnson's gripping, fast moving story, historical accuracy smoothly blends with outrageous fantasy: Gangs of New York meets True Blood!"
--Rhys Bowen, author of A GILDED CAGE, the Molly Murphy Mystery Series

"Alaya Johnson has broken new ground with a book that combines a fascinating time in history with our favorite mythological creatures - vampires".
--Terri Persons, author of BLIND SPOT and BLIND RAGE

“Vampires and vamps; welcome to a Roaring ’20s New York where the undead go to night school, and speakeasies serve up the occasional bathtub djinn… a first novel to delight fans of Buffy and Harry Dresden." 
--Gregory Frost, author of SHADOWBRIDGE and LORD TOPHET

Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; 1 edition (May 11, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312648065
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312648060
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #876,009 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Alaya (pronounced ah-lie-ah) lives, writes, cooks and (perhaps most importantly) eats in New York City. Her literary loves are all forms of speculative fiction, historical fiction, and the occasional highbrow novel. Her culinary loves are all kinds of ethnic food, particularly South Indian, which she feels must be close to ambrosia. She graduated from Columbia University in 2004 with a BA in East Asian Languages and Cultures, and has lived and traveled extensively in Japan.

(And you can email me, too: alaya [a t] alayadawnjohnson [d o t] com)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Mariko on May 17, 2010
Format: Paperback
If you did a poll to ascertain who among us was least into vampires I would likely rank near the top of the list. While I am a loyal fantasy junkie of the first degree, I have never been a fan of vampires, never understood the draw, and lament on a daily basis the vampire craze that has seemingly replaced all other varieties of fantasy on the YA shelves of Borders and Barnes and Noble, something I find deeply frustrating.

Nevertheless, while I may be no fan of vampires, I *am* a fan of this book. I have been reading Alaya's work for a long time and while it was my loyalty to her as an author that led me to this novel, it is her ingenuity as a writer and Zephyr's engaging, light-hearted tone that never takes itself too seriously that kept me hypnotically turning the pages. This is an intelligent, witty book that while aiming (and succeeding) to be fun and funny will nevertheless make you think about the nature of prejudice and all those who are labeled "other" in any society.

To be brief: This is not my kind of book--but I loved it anyway.

One final note: I've noticed a lot of reviewers and bloggers calling this Alaya's debut novel and I wanted to say to those who loved it and are looking for more of Alaya's work that it is in fact her second novel, not her first. Her debut novel is called "Racing the Dark" and is the first in a truly engrossing fantasy trilogy called "The Spirit Binders." The second installment, "The Burning City," will be released on June 1st. Fans of fantasy, Alaya and "Moonshine" should definitely check them out.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Melissa Books and Things on June 21, 2010
Format: Paperback
This book is set in the 20s. Not exactly the roaring 20s we usually are privileged to have in our movies, but more like the social problems of the 20s we rarely see. This book, of course, goes further and has another group of people who suffer the injustices of prejudice. "The Others" are any groups of people who aren't human.

Zephyr is a "do-gooder" with a heart of gold. She doesn't blindly try to help anyone in need (but she does what she can for those who ask) and sees the hypocrisy of some of the groups she has joined. She understands there is no perfect situation but also believes that everyone has a right to be treated as equals. It's not about saving everyone or that even that everyone needs saved. It's more about the fact that no one is above another. She knows who she is and is willing to suffer for that knowing. These are reasons why I just loved this character.

Amir, her mysterious student and counterpart proposes an offer she can't refuse. As she tries to discover what he is hiding and helping him catch the biggest mob boss on her side of town she starts to fall for him. Although this attraction seems mutual, there is no easy way for them to be together. They do make a good pair as they both challenge what they believe is true in their lives and why. However, as Zephyr's inquiry starts to get more dangerous, Amir tries to pull her from the fray even though he knows it is an impossible task. He respects her independence but needs her help desperately. In the end they are both torn as to what is the right thing and living with the consequences.

Although this didn't end in a cliffhanger, it does have an open ending. I want more! I am so hoping that this is a series. I give this book 4 1/2 stars. It is a wonderful read and I recommend this to anyone looking for a different type of vampire read. Love that it was set in a specific time period.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By JAL on June 4, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a voracious reader and have been on a paranormal fiction kick lately, but even I am getting over-sated on "paranormal romance" (eg, I loved early Anita Blake novels, but not the later, soft-porn ones). Despite its misleading cover art, this intriguing book proved to be a most refreshing departure. I enjoyed most of the characters, especially Zephyr, the "Singing Vampire Suffragette" (who is not, btw, a vampire herself). The 1920's alternate history NYC was quite well-done. There were enough plot twists to hold my interest, and the writing was fine. Recommended for readers who enjoy alternate history/paranormal novels that are not mindless clones riding the current popularity of vampires, werewolves, and lots of hot sex. This is one I will not be embarrassed to pass on to friends.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Warnie on July 14, 2010
Format: Paperback
You know, I had this sitting around for quite awhile before I made myself pick it up and read it. It sounded sort of interesting, but the 1920s aren't really a time period I've ever been drawn to, and I'm a little bored with vampires, and so many of the urban fantasies I've picked up over the years have been...not awesome. But once I finally gave Moonshine a chance, I was hooked. I really enjoyed the writing--I feel like in urban fantasies especially I tend to either get caught up in the plot and want to skip the romance bits, or I get caught up in the romance and want to skip all the plot bits. I think Johnson's got the absolute perfect balance here--I remained interested in both and did not skim even one bit! The characters are well developed and interesting and somewhat complex, I found the ending unpredictable but not unbelievable, and the whole thing is funny in a subtly sarcastic sort of way that I really appreciate after so many other books that have attempted to bash me over the head with their "hilarity." The ending feels complete enough for Moonshine to remain a stand-alone novel, but there's also definitely plenty of room for this to become a series, and I find I actually really hope that's the case! Well done, Ms. Johnson!
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