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(Zephyr Hollis #1)

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  562 ratings  ·  114 reviews
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 agre
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published 2010 by Thomas Dunne Books
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3.63  · 
Rating details
 ·  562 ratings  ·  114 reviews

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feux d'artifice
Jun 11, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: poc-author, spec
Basically this is the paranormal romance catering completely to my id. 1920s Jazz!Vampires! Zephyr being the awesome bleeding heart liberal ex-demon hunter that she is! Female-to-female interactions that completely pass the bedchel test and are ALL AWESOME. Daddy issues from multiple characters! Hot but morally ambiguous male lead! AND BEST OF ALL, a ‘open world fantasy’ that does NOT try to use Supernatural Creatures as a replacement metaphor to explore racism without any POC in the cast! (You ...more
Rachel Brown
Jul 26, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: historical, fantasy
An urban fantasy/paranormal romance set during Prohibition in an America in which supernatural beings called “Others” exist and are known to the public, but lack civil rights. Thankfully, they are not just stand-ins for real-life oppressed groups, as those groups also exist (and are oppressed) in the world of the novel.

New York City teacher and full-time activist Zephyr Hollis, who becomes widely known during the book as “the singing vampire suffragette,” is the daughter of a demon-hunter, but u
May 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
I couldn't decide quite how to rate this one. Although I ended up enjoying it, I was able to walk away from it initially and wasn't drawn back to it. If it hadn't been a challenge read, I might have left it a while longer. So ... 3.5★ even though I'd read #2, if it's to be a series.

Moonshine tells the story of Zephyr Hollis living in NYC in the 1920's. She's the daughter of Montana's best demon hunter. She moved to NYC after deciding demon hunting wasn't for her. She considers herself able to
Jul 11, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2010
Moonshine is quite different from the usual urban fantasy sprinkling the shelves. First of all, Zephyr does not put on leather pants to go hunting (though her name would suit her wicked well in one, eh?), she barely has clothes (clean ones at least) to put on for normal stuff. Actually, Zephyr is not a hunter. Not a willing one anyway. She’s what they call a “vampire suffragette.” And she’s a do-gooder. Like, the kind of do-gooder that’s involved in a gajillion societies and goes to pickets ever ...more
Emma Rose Ribbons
Nov 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
Meet Zephyr, the vampire suffragette (she's not a vampire, though, quite the opposite). This book hooked me and wouldn't let go. First of all, the setting: New York City, 1920s. Female heroine very involved in social justice who's also a teacher. Does it get any better than that, I wonder?
The plot reminded me of The Godfather, in a good way - different factions of a city fighting for power and blood, with a lot more social commentary than Mario Puzo's novel as well as a dollop of supernatural e
Jun 27, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Nicole by: Jamina Fritts
Loaned to me by a friend as a bonus (in addition to the book I'd asked for). Now vampire books are following me home!
Overall, I enjoyed this book. While the plot felt a little bit wobbly to me in a few places, the story kept me interested. The end is obviously a set-up for a sequel, and I'm interested in reading it.
The story stands out among the recent flood of stories featuring vampires because of some unique qualities. The author does a good job making a case for vampires (and other non-human
When the founder of POC in Publishing recommends a book in the same tweet as Fledgling and Certain Dark Things and S.A. Chakraborty cosigns, you better believe that shit gets added to my tbr.
Jul 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
Have you ever picked up a book with a lackluster cover, read it, and thought to yourself, “Why isn’t this book a bestseller?” There are hundreds of books (perhaps more) that go unrecognized every year. These books are almost impossible to find at your local bookseller, there is little to no details about them, and they remain in obscurity. While bestsellers take up shelf space, crowd display windows, and leave avid readers thinking, “Why is this book even popular? It’s trite, poorly written, and ...more
May 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
Sucked in from the onset, I fell instantly in awe of the singing vampire suffragette, Zephyr Hollis and her world of out of the coffin, vamps that have inalienable rights just like any other person. I find my fascination didn't end with the character of Ms. Hollis though, it also extended to her dashing counterpart Amir and her charming friends, Lily, Iris and Aileen. Johnson definitely has a knack for character creation. Paired with the strong 3 dimensional characters was also a very staccato a ...more
Jun 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
K. Lincoln
Jul 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
Moonshine was an uneven experience for me. I loved, loved, the prohibition-era feeling of it (the heroine rides around on a bicycle in the snow and is called the "vampire suffgatte").

I loved the non-European character of Amir, as well as the emphasis on immigrants rights/vampire rights of all those new vampires living in tenements.

Quite an interesting twist on the whole vampire culture.

Zephyr is an ex-Defender (killer of vampires and Others (there seems to be fairies and djinni too) who has ref
Kristin  (MyBookishWays Reviews)
You may also read my review here:

How did I possibly miss Moonshine! Zephyr Hollis, former vamp hunter and current crusader for social causes, teaches night classes to immigrants and the underprivileged, but by day, takes part in all manner of protests and marches. The only problem is, these endeavors are not going to make her rich, and when she’s approached by one of her students to find and help take down a vicious vampire mob boss, she takes the job. Li
Aug 09, 2012 marked it as to-read
Shelves: gave-up-on, vampires
Every time I go into Barnes & Noble, I always check out the bargain section. Well today I looked at it and I found this book. I'm not sure what it is that made me want to buy it. I think it was because it says on the cover that it is "A cross between Gangs of New York and True Blood. That sounds awesom. Anyway, I got it for $3.99!(gotta love that bargain
Apr 30, 2010 rated it did not like it
I made it to page 20 when I realized that this book didn't captivate me, which surprised me as I usually love reading about prohibition era. But with kids being vampires changed against their will turned me off. This one just wasn't for me.
A 1920's vampire novel? Be still my paranormal loving heart. :-D
Aside from some nitpicky things, I loved this to death - but the ending. The ending! :( IS THERE GOING TO BE A SEQUEL? Please tell me there's going to be a sequel!
Zephyr Hollis has a reputation as a do-gooder. As a singing vampire suffragette, actually. From Brooklyn to Midtown to Battery Park to the LES, she and her bicycle are near-ubiquitous as she runs from protest to meeting to night school, where she teaches. One night, before class, she comes across a young boy, victim of an Other attack, and tries to save him. She’s helped by Amir, a mysterious Other who attends her classes, who in turn offers her a deal: if she will help him track down Rinaldo, t ...more
C.L. McCollum
May 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Obviously I'm WAY behind the times with this one, but after reading SUMMER PRINCE, I went searching for anything the author had written and was excited to find she'd done an urban fantasy vampire centric novel (two even!). This definitely played with the urban fantasy genre with some delightful twists: setting the story back in time to Prohibition, creating a main character who's not as much of a "warrior" as a true social justice warrior - throwing all of her energy into trying to make things b ...more
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, vampires
Johnson creates a wonderful world that seamlessly mixes magic with reality. Amazing novel!
Jun 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
I was very lucky to win this through one of the First Reads Giveaways.

I really enjoyed this book from beginning to end. I was struck by how easily Ms. Johnson set up the world and the character within even the first scene. You knew who Zephyr Hollis was and what this 1920's New York was supposed to be from simply those first few pages.

Zephyr herself is immensely likable. Spunky, intelligent, gutsy, able, and empathetic: she is the "singing Vampire Suffragette" as she is labeled at one point. Ze
Stuff I Read – Moonshine by Alaya Dawn Johnson Review

Forward into some urban fantasy! I have absolutely loved basically everything that I've picked up from Alaya Dawn Johnson, but most of it was technically YA (Love is the Drug and The Summer Prince). So when I saw that she had an urban fantasy series marketed more toward adults I jumped all over that. Please and thank you! What I found was Johnson's signature fun wrapped in a city at turns gritty and hopeful. This actually is a bit lighter a re
Aug 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
The main character of Moonshine is Zephyr Hollis, described as "an overzealous, underfed social activist" . She really was, almost to the point of irritation. The only thing that saved her from being a total goody two shoes was her rather instant attraction to Amir (dark-skinned Arabic-looking hot djinn - literally hot - hot to the touch, burning hot...Careful Zephyr!), and the rather intense sense of bloodlust that would come upon her when she had to fight for her life....but she was ashamed of ...more
Clare Fitzgerald
Aug 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
More cool stuff from my People I Saw At Readercon list! I will be doing this for a long time, y’all.

Anyway, the people in question is Alaya Dawn Johnson, who I saw speak on… uh… four panels, I think, but who I was not able to meet in person, which is a bummer, because she was pretty awesome on all her panels. Her newest book, and first YA book, is The Summer Prince, which I was sort of intending to buy until I saw she wrote vampire books as well, so I bought those instead for now, because I am p
Full review at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books

I love stories set in the 1920’s, and I loved author Alaya Johnson’s most recent book, Love is the Drug. So I had high hopes for Moonshine, which is a paranormal with romantic elements about a social worker in New York in the 1920s. As it turned out the book was…OK. It was entertaining but it was easy to put down. It’s the first book in a series, so the romance element ends in a cliffhanger, and the dialogue felt off somehow. Despite having many trapping
Aug 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Ari by: Yolo
First of all, this cover is awesome. The blood red lipstick and two neck bites contrasted with the pale skin give the book a very dark and appealing cover. That's what really drew me in at first. To top it all off, the book is set during the Prohibition Era. Zephyr is going to speakeasies, listening to jazz, promoting the equal rights of immigrants and taking up a host of other issues that needed to be addressed during this time. The setting of the 1920s is meticulously researched and it never s ...more
Linda Koerber
Jul 07, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: july
(Originally posted

I have a fascination with the richness of the 1920’s: the glitz and glamour, flapper dresses, jazz music, desperation, ignorance, corruption, to name just a few. Moonshine captures all of these things and more. The streets of 1920’s New York gets shined on with a gritty light and reveals what life would have been like if you added other dark denizens haunting the streets, particularly vampires. It’s a tale that’ll make you rethink the p
Mar 09, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-own
Moonshine appears to be the first in a series that follows the main character Zephyr Hollis. She is a suffragette in 1920’s NY who lectures on economic at the community college, teaches immigrants English, serves food at the soup kitchens, protests on the steps of Tammany Hall about the Mayor’s decisions and gives blood to the blood bank because otherwise the vampires wouldn’t have fresh supplies… wait… what? She not only fights for women’s rights, refuses to eat meat and rides a bicycle all ove ...more
Cid Tyer
Jun 25, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2010-books

I'm not sure if this is a stand alone book or not. If anyone knows I would love to be let in on this secret. As a stand alone book I am deeply frustrated with Moonshine. However, if it's the first book in a series or merely has a sequel I'm all for upping my rating. Moonshine does not set out to be a romance book, it is not shelved in the romance section, but there is a romance arc involved and my whole issue with my distaste is how this arc is tied up - or merely left hanging.

The Setti
I have really mixed thoughts on this book. I checked Moonshine out from the library after skimming an NPR article on the author, Alaya Dawn Johnson. A woman of color writing fantasy novels--yes!! This is only the second vampire book I've read in my life; it's not my kind of stuff...but I thought, well, the premise sounds all right. Moonshine takes place in New York during the Prohibition era and focuses on a seemingly strong female lead who is a knife-wielding social activist. Sounds promising, ...more
Apr 08, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
I loved going back in time to the early 1900's where vampires are as common as the homeless and pretty much treated that way. They drink from blood bags that are donated by those desperate for money like those that donate sperm. It's not something they talk about as everyone has a different point of view on the matter. Zephyr who helps out absolutely everyone is of course, a donator, a teacher to "Other's" and a vampire activist pushing for equal rights or as they refer to it, the vampire suffra ...more
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Alaya Johnson graduated from Columbia University in 2004 with a BA in East Asian Languages and Cultures. She lives in New York City.

Other books in the series

Zephyr Hollis (3 books)
  • Wicked City (Zephyr Hollis, #2)
  • The Inconstant Moon (Zephyr Hollis)