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Wicked City: A Zephyr Hollis Novel (Zephyr Hollis Novels) Hardcover – April 10, 2012

4.5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
Book 2 of 2 in the Zephyr Hollis Series

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A Criminal Magic by Lee Kelly
"A Criminal Magic" by Lee Kelly
THE NIGHT CIRCUS meets THE PEAKY BLINDERS in Lee Kelly's new magical realism, crossover novel and casts a spell of magic, high stakes and intrigue against the backdrop of a very different Roaring Twenties. Learn more

Editorial Reviews


“A sassy, dedicated heroine...a lot of fun.” ―Locus on Moonshine

“Deftly combines historical and fantasy fiction for a fresh and inspired take on vampires...Johnson writes with great verve and wit, and readers will hope for many sequels.” ―RT Book Reviews on Moonshine

“A page-turning delight, with bicycles and enchanted blades, drug wars and settlement evening schools, romance and heartbreak.” ―Sarah Smith, author of THE VANISHED CHILD on Moonshine

About the Author

Alaya Johnson is a recent Columbia graduate, and denizen of New York City.


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Product Details

  • Series: Zephyr Hollis Novels (Book 2)
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books (April 10, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312565488
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312565480
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,952,392 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

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Hardcover
Yes! Great book. Read read read, right now. Johnson's writing style is rich and fun and you won't be able to put this down.
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Format: Hardcover
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.
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