oracne - Victoria Janssen (oracne) wrote,
oracne - Victoria Janssen

MOONSHINE, Alaya Johnson

Moonshine by Alaya Johnson is out next month; I was fortunate enough to receive an advance copy in April, due to running into her at Worldcon and, umm, begging. I'm really glad I did. I am totally pimping this one. Historical fantasy for the win!

Moonshine is set in 1920s New York City, and is one of the most original vampire books I've ever read, because of the thematic depth. Vampires and various other "Others" are common and known in the novel's world; Others are part of a growing social problem, as some vampires feed on humans indiscriminately, usually turning them against their will. Another group of vampires restrict themselves to blood banks and try to fit in with humans, becoming yet another underclass, mirroring and emphasizing experiences of the various immigrants, non-white people, and working class inhabitants of New York City.

Johnson ties these themes in with the first-person narrator, Zephyr, a young woman who teaches night school to Others and immigrants on the Lower East Side, participates in demonstrations, and works with various social activist organizations, resulting in a lot of realistic social diversity that's inextricable from the plot. There's also an excellent romance element between Zephyr and (literal!) hottie Other, Amir. I am really hoping this becomes a series, as there are numerous interesting secondary characters and more than enough scope for many, many books.

The secondary characters include Aileen, Zephyr's Irish roommate who's just discovering she's inherited something unexpected from her grandmother; Zephyr's parents, who provide some comic relief but are also believably complex; Troy, the handsome yet goofy demon hunter; and Lily, a fashionable debutante reporter on the Other beat. They all seem destined for more adventures. *looks around hopefully*

B & N | Amazon | Borders | Indiebound | Powell's
Tags: historical, sf/f

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