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"Lucky Alan" by Jonathan Lethem
In Lethem's third collection of stories you will find how humor and poignancy work in harmony, humans strive desperately for connection, and words find themselves misaligned to deeds.
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)
This is a review of an ARC received for free from the author in a giveaway.
I liked this one even more than the first! This series is just so compulsively readable and fun.
I appreciate that while romance is an important part of the story, Zephyr's feelings for Amir don't eclipse everything else - her other relationships and her principles and the things she's fighting for are all important to her and to the plot as well. (Although I can't help wishing to see a little bit more of Amir. I mean, he's hot. Er, no pun intended.) I'm also impressed by the fact that even though this series so far has a lot less actual physical violence than the average paranormal mystery, it still feels driven and fast-paced, and the stakes always seem high. I'm a big fan of the "things blow up" school of fun, and I'm impressed when something manages to capture that same particular sense of fun without actually blowing all that much stuff up. (Metaphorically speaking.)
Really looking forward to the [EPIC SPOILERS] promised to come in the next installment, too!
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It really doesn't matter what I say below because really, you should just read this series because of the unique New York of Vampire/Minority/Immigrant politics in the roaring 20's complete with feisty female reporters, djinni, mystery, speakeasies, non-European main characters and mafia.
And also because the heroine, Zephyr Hollis is one of the most human main characters I've come across in a long time. Human (despite her strange and disturbing immunity to vampires) because she's conflicted. She does hypocritical things like lobby for prohibition of vampire Faust (liquor) while drinking at speakeasies. Although she grew up as a fight-trained killer of demons, she's gotten soft and now she gets surprised by bad guys conking her over the head. Her favorite choice of problem-solving is avoidance, and while her heart longs for the djinni Amir, she isn't afraid to speak on those feelings even when she's unsure.
But as much as I like Zephyr and Amir, and their lovely "I'm going to save him/her for his/her own good without letting on why I'm acting this way" romance, the book is just a bit uneven. This was my problem with the first book in the series, too.
There's so much plot crammed into this story, its coming out of Zephyr's ears. There's the Amir-saving, the dodging of the policemen investigating her for underage vampire harboring (from book one), helping Elspeth with the anti-Faust campaign, investigating an anti-Vampire lobbyist named Madison, figuring out why vampires are dying, figuring out why her dad has gone crazy, etc. etc.
It gets confusing.
Also there's some tiny, nit-picky editing issues I was disappointed to see in a professionally published (I also read Indies an am more forgiving there) book.Read more ›
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Six months ago, Amir the djinni prankster brought Faust to New York City as a practical joke. The alcohol-blood concoction has become a major hit among the vampire crowd. Mayor Walker wants the drink legal though it is already served in several locales. The Friends Against Faust formed to oppose the legalization on the grounds it might lead to vampires being out of control of their impulses.
However, the deaths of ten vampires after drinking Faust shakes up the city just before the Board of Aldermen are to vote on the mayor's proposal. Stunned Mayor Walker, using blackmail in the matter of her hiding an underage vampire, asks the daughter of a demon hunter Zephyr Hollis to investigate the mass murders in spite of her belonging to the Friends Against Faust committee and tied to Amir. However, the prime suspect in the homicides is Zeph.
The second Hollis 1920 urban historical fantasy (see Moonshine) once again will have readers believing in a paranormal 1920s New York City though Gentleman Jimmy is still is turning over in his grave. The amusing amateur sleuth story line never takes it self seriously even as blood and alcohol prove a deadly mix. Sub-genre fans will enjoy the Roaring Twenties Manhattan adventures of the Vampire Suffragette.