Moonshine
Daisy's starting a new job and stylish city life, but mage-hunters out for her dark magic threaten to destroy her vogue image. In the flourishing metropolis of Soot City (a warped version of 1920s Chicago), progressive ideals reign and the old ways of magic and liquid mana are forbidden. Daisy Dell is a Modern Girl - stylish, educated and independent - keen to establish herself in the city but reluctant to give up the taboo magic inherited from her grandmother.Her new job takes her to unexpected places, and she gets more attention than she had hoped for. When bounty hunters start combing the city for magicians, Daisy must decide whether to stay with her new employer - even if it means revealing the grim source of her occult powers.File Under: Fantasy

Moonshine Details

TitleMoonshine
Author
ReleaseFeb 6th, 2018
PublisherAngry Robot
ISBN-139780857667342
Rating
GenreFantasy, Historical, Historical Fiction, Adult

Moonshine Review

  • Claudie Arseneault
    January 1, 1970
    DISCLAIMER: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher. This does not in any way impact my review.tw: (view spoiler)[violence, assassination, torture, addiction, weight-loss discussion (hide spoiler)]The moment I heard of MOONSHINE, I was excited to read it. Magical speakeasies, aromantic representation, political dealings, and an ensemble cast of queer characters? Heck yes! So I requested an ARC, even though I'm not really a book blogger.All in all, I am glad that I did. MOONSHINE is a DISCLAIMER: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher. This does not in any way impact my review.tw: (view spoiler)[violence, assassination, torture, addiction, weight-loss discussion (hide spoiler)]The moment I heard of MOONSHINE, I was excited to read it. Magical speakeasies, aromantic representation, political dealings, and an ensemble cast of queer characters? Heck yes! So I requested an ARC, even though I'm not really a book blogger.All in all, I am glad that I did. MOONSHINE is a greatly enjoyable story with well-defined, flawed, and relatable characters, an intriguing setting (think 1920s Chicago but in a city by a volcano under constant ashfall, and with magic!), and the found family/team feel that I love. I did found it slower and less interesting in the second half, but I think a lot of that is because of the introduction of a second plotline that I cared a lot less for, and that half-replaced, half-stalled the "politicians have hired mercenaries to assassinate a magician and create a scandal that can benefit them" story. I wish the focus had been kept tighter, but stories don't always go where you want them to, and it was still greatly enjoyable.So for queer rep, off the top of my head, this book has polyamorous characters, lesbians, a genderfluid character, and Mr Swarz, a bisexual aromantic disabled grumpster! I really enjoyed him, mostly because I love slightly-stuck-up characters who make mistakes because they have no idea how to help others without lining up social faux-pas and sounding slightly condescending. He's flawed, but he's not flawed in a way that has anything to do with his aromanticism, and the latter is clearly established and respected by everyone. So I really have nothing to say on this except: yay!There are a few elements that bothered me throughout the book, though, but a lot of it is out of my lane so I will mention them, and if you need details to make your own decisions, let me know. Most of it surrounds way "mana", a source of magic and a highly addictive drug, is discussed. I understand that this creating and selling of mana is kind of part of everyone's life here, but it's really, really... casual, no big deal, we're just selling candies? There are a lot of instances where the book fails to acknowledge the gravity of things it contains, and the lighter tone bugged me. I am, however, glad that it didn't go down a super judgmental route.There's also an entire conversation about how nice the weight loss from the addiction has been that really left me uncomfortable.Finally, as another blogger noted (I'll link once her review is up), there are two creatures that are literally named after the colour of their skin. Which. I'm white, and I missed it on my own, but that doesn't feel like a great idea.That covers it! Overall, I think this is worth the read, and I'm looking forward to book two!
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  • Beth Cato
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book through the publisher via Netgalley.In this secondary world-set riff inspired by the 1920s, Prohibition is in full swing--but the prohibited substance isn't alcohol, but mana, also known as moonshine: addictive stuff that gives normal folks magical powers while the buzz lasts. Daisy is a young woman with a goal of being independent and sophisticated. When she takes on a new secretarial position, she has no idea the company is really peddling mana out of their so-called wareh I received this book through the publisher via Netgalley.In this secondary world-set riff inspired by the 1920s, Prohibition is in full swing--but the prohibited substance isn't alcohol, but mana, also known as moonshine: addictive stuff that gives normal folks magical powers while the buzz lasts. Daisy is a young woman with a goal of being independent and sophisticated. When she takes on a new secretarial position, she has no idea the company is really peddling mana out of their so-called warehouse. Daisy isn't an addict like so many others, though--her family knows a secret about magically enchanting items. But when one of Daisy's charms goes missing and is found by a mage-hunter with an aim to kill a magic-user to boost a local politician, Daisy finds herself in the crosshairs. I enjoyed the unique setting and era of the book, and the cast of characters is incredibly diverse. There's a genderfluid character and an MxM love scene. I love the friendships that developed between Daisy's co-workers--that was a highlight of the book for me. However, I was left hungry for a deeper understanding of the world and its history. A persistent fall of ash was the only consistent reminder that this wasn't Earth. There are also beings like fairies and ogres, and I was left wanting to know more about ogres in particular.In all, a fun read! Also, kudos to Angry Robot for creating such a fun art deco cover that acts as the perfect intro for the content.
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  • imyril
    January 1, 1970
    There’s a brilliant concept here but the execution drags and at 50% I feel like there’s half a plot and no characters I’m more than mildly interested in. There’s aspects of the world building that I like, but that’s about it. Just not for me. DNFI received a free copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Lucy-May
    January 1, 1970
    Fast paced, a fantasy twist on Chicago in the 1920s, an unpredictable plot, with darling characters & fabulous writing - what more could a reader want?! Seriously, I absolutely loved this read; world-building is so important to me & the world-building in Moonshine was phenomenal - I'm totally obsessed with the world that Jasmine has created & I want MORE of it. The characters were incredible as well & the plot was super original too, so basically this book is near on perfect. Dis Fast paced, a fantasy twist on Chicago in the 1920s, an unpredictable plot, with darling characters & fabulous writing - what more could a reader want?! Seriously, I absolutely loved this read; world-building is so important to me & the world-building in Moonshine was phenomenal - I'm totally obsessed with the world that Jasmine has created & I want MORE of it. The characters were incredible as well & the plot was super original too, so basically this book is near on perfect. Disclaimer: I was sent an advanced copy of this book by the publisher in return for an honest review.Extended Review: https://wp.me/p8MbIo-2rL
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  • Acqua
    January 1, 1970
    ...ownvoices aromantic rep? I know it's a side character but I have to read this nowand also: that cover.
  • Tim
    January 1, 1970
    This is a hard review to write as I feel I’m almost picking on it for things the book didn’t do. This is an extreme case of “it’s not you, it’s me,” as I would in no way classify this book as a “bad” novel. It was just disappointing at every turn.Look at that plot description (I’ll wait until you get back). To say I was excited for this book was an understatement. I read an article about it off some website (Maybe Barnes and Noble sci-fi blog, I can’t honestly remember) but I saved the title and This is a hard review to write as I feel I’m almost picking on it for things the book didn’t do. This is an extreme case of “it’s not you, it’s me,” as I would in no way classify this book as a “bad” novel. It was just disappointing at every turn.Look at that plot description (I’ll wait until you get back). To say I was excited for this book was an understatement. I read an article about it off some website (Maybe Barnes and Noble sci-fi blog, I can’t honestly remember) but I saved the title and author and kept checking on it. My mind ran with all the possibilities of where this book could go. Well… it didn’t go any of those places. None of them. I can’t actually describe the plot, because anything other than the plot blurb above would be a spoiler, but let me tell you a few places this doesn’t go, so that if you want it for the same reason I did, you can give it a pass.This is not an alternate history novel, so there will be no exploration of how the US would change from a historic standpoint with an introduction of magic (this is your classic fantasy world, just set in the 1920s American setting rather than medieval Europe style world). This is not a cops vs. bootleggers novel, so we will not be examining how the police have to change tactic to deal with magic (or how if the police used magic, they would have to deal with the conflicting need for mana vs. the difficultly/illegal nature of obtaining it). Do not expect a magic version of the Untouchables. There are also no rival bootleggers starting a mob war for the territory of this fantasy Chicago. None of these things matter? Check it out. As I said, the book isn’t really bad, it just wasn’t what I wanted to read or even a book I would be interested in had I known what it was actually about. I can understand the positive reviews, this is just simply not a book for me. This is a case where the author wrote the book that she wanted, as well she should, and good on her for getting it published. I’m sure there are plenty of people looking for this story, and I truly hope they enjoy it.
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  • J.S. Fields
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 starsAnother book from the #DVsquad and #DVpit! Woohoo! I'm delighted that I got a chance to review an ARC. As with CITY OF BRASS, this was an enchanting fantasy with a deep connection to its time period.Daisy is a Modern Girl in a sort of post-apocalyptic version of the Roaring Twenties, where faeries and ogres and magic all exist. Not a magician herself, Daisy has inherited some trinkets from her grandmother that are imbued with magic--not enough to cause trouble, but enough to keep soot o 4.5 starsAnother book from the #DVsquad and #DVpit! Woohoo! I'm delighted that I got a chance to review an ARC. As with CITY OF BRASS, this was an enchanting fantasy with a deep connection to its time period.Daisy is a Modern Girl in a sort of post-apocalyptic version of the Roaring Twenties, where faeries and ogres and magic all exist. Not a magician herself, Daisy has inherited some trinkets from her grandmother that are imbued with magic--not enough to cause trouble, but enough to keep soot off her clothes and hide her personage when needed. She takes a job as a clerical worker at an (unbeknownst to her) magical mana factory (all very underground, you see, because in this Prohibition, it's magic juice that's outlawed) and looks forward to a very average life. But working for a magical speakeasy is anything but safe, and Daisy soon finds herself the target of a hit, as well as in charge of an exiled faerie her boss may have accidentally freed. Good thing Grandma's blood magic trinkets are still around!The strong sense of setting was my favorite part of this book. Every image evokes a sense of yearning at an era those from the USA often romanticize, but it is if we are viewing this history through a distorted lens. There are speakeasies, but they deal in magic mana. There are hit people, but they have cannons that block magical ability. There are all the same horrible social stratifications, but here they revolve around magic users, both human and other.The plot is a bit slow to get started, which is the only real negative of this book. At first I assumed the story arc would involve something with the underground mana business, but about halfway through the book it becomes clear that cleanup of the boss' mess (releasing the faerie) is the primary arc. With the strength of the characters (which the author carries well) and the setting, I think the narrative could have handled something heavier than 'return faerie to his dimension' plot, but I was not unhappy with it. I think I just wanted more, and was upset to so quickly leave this world.The writing was strong and even, and Daisy's voice was easy to connect with. Her desires and goals resonated quickly with me, and I also appreciated the unique voices of the secondary cast. There was a great deal of queer diversity in the book as well, spanning gender fluidity, pansexuality, ace and aro characters, etc.MOONSHINE is a quirky, often surprising take on the Prohibition Era of the USA, drenched in fresh fantasy elements and strong characterization. It deserves a place on every fantasy-lover's bookshelf, and is a strong addition to the #DVsquad archive.
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  • Crittermom
    January 1, 1970
    Moonshine is a fantasy with jazz age pizazz.  Ashland lies at the foot of a volcano, and Soot City is a bustling metropolis complete with gangsters, speakeasies and Modern Girls (flappers straight from the mold).  But there is something else that defines Soot City - the existence of magic.Daisy Dell is the quintessential modern girl, fashionable, educated and ready to take on the world.  She also has a few tricks up her sleeve - the trinkets left to her by her grandmother are magic.  Her new job Moonshine is a fantasy with jazz age pizazz.  Ashland lies at the foot of a volcano, and Soot City is a bustling metropolis complete with gangsters, speakeasies and Modern Girls (flappers straight from the mold).  But there is something else that defines Soot City - the existence of magic.Daisy Dell is the quintessential modern girl, fashionable, educated and ready to take on the world.  She also has a few tricks up her sleeve - the trinkets left to her by her grandmother are magic.  Her new job seems to be a simple office job, typing letters and filing reports.  She soon discovers her job isn’t quite what it seems and the people aren’t quite what she expects.  But as a Modern Girl she isn’t one to back down when the going gets dangerous.  When she and her friends are targeted by an assassin hired by a conniving politician, she learns just what type of a family she’s joined.  Be prepared for a wild gin and magic fueled ride.Moonshine is a fantasy that has a unique spark and an unusual premise.  It is definitely a standout fantasy that will leave readers thirsting for more of its special blend.  The characters and the story are unforgettable.5 / 5I received a copy of Moonshine from the publisher and Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.--Crittermom
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  • Rene Sears
    January 1, 1970
    This was such a fun book. I am a sucker for the 1920s, and while this is a secondary world setting, Soot City definitely has a 20s feel. Daisy Dell is a 'Modern Girl' with a new job as a typist in Soot City, but her boss's company is not all that it seems. In Soot City, there are illicit ways of getting mana, an illegal substance that can get you high, or, if you're a magician, power your magic. Daisy has a secret of her own--her grandmother passed down certain articles that can do magic without This was such a fun book. I am a sucker for the 1920s, and while this is a secondary world setting, Soot City definitely has a 20s feel. Daisy Dell is a 'Modern Girl' with a new job as a typist in Soot City, but her boss's company is not all that it seems. In Soot City, there are illicit ways of getting mana, an illegal substance that can get you high, or, if you're a magician, power your magic. Daisy has a secret of her own--her grandmother passed down certain articles that can do magic without mana, and the dark secret to making them. When an assassin starts targeting magicians, Daisy seems to be on the list. But why, and will she and her new friends and coworkers be able to save themselves? If you enjoy flappers, bootleggers, and corrupt politicians, along with ogres, fairies, and magic, this book is for you.
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  • Coolcurry
    January 1, 1970
    Moonshine is a debut fantasy novel inspired by the roaring twenties.Daisy wants to be the perfect embodiment of the Modern Girl, stylish and independent. However, she also uses arcana — and magic is outlawed in Soot City. When mercenaries start targeting magicians, Daisy will find herself right in the middle of the bull’s eye.Moonshine‘s biggest failing is plot. It’s just not compelling, and I think this is due to a number of reasons. For one, Daisy isn’t driving the plot, she’s reacting to it. Moonshine is a debut fantasy novel inspired by the roaring twenties.Daisy wants to be the perfect embodiment of the Modern Girl, stylish and independent. However, she also uses arcana — and magic is outlawed in Soot City. When mercenaries start targeting magicians, Daisy will find herself right in the middle of the bull’s eye.Moonshine‘s biggest failing is plot. It’s just not compelling, and I think this is due to a number of reasons. For one, Daisy isn’t driving the plot, she’s reacting to it. This partly falls under characterization, but Daisy does not have strong motivation. She wants to be a Modern Girl, but it’s not like there’s a whole lot of conflict inherent in her desire to be stylish and independent. She wants to keep using the arcana her grandmother gave her… but it’s never clear why she’s so determined to hang on to it. For the most part, the artifacts her grandmother left her with seem to be no more than conveniences that make her life a little bit easier. They keep the soot off her clothes, help her water plants, and catch things she accidentally drops. Is using them really worth the risk of discovery that she’s supposedly so worried about?Also, the plot (the mercenary after Daisy) felt contrived and more like an events happening in a roughly sequential order instead of events following naturally from each other. It feels like the author created the world and characters and then remembered that she needed to have some sort of plot and threw this in at the last minute. And it takes forever to get rolling! There’s a lot of time spent twiddling thumbs and setting things up, and it ended up feeling undeniably boring. If I wasn’t reading this for review, I would have DNF’ed.Onto characters! I think the biggest issue with them was lack of motivation, which I’ve already talked about. I also found them to be fairly static. Daisy might learn more about the co-workers at her new job, but I didn’t see her changing or growing through the story. All in all, I would have liked more character development.Actually, “more development” could be applied to most aspects of Moonshine, including the world building. One of the draws is the setting based on 1920’s Chicago. The influence is clear, but Moonshine doesn’t delve much beyond the aesthetics. There’s a number of fantasy books inspired by the 20’s that have magic be outlawed instead of alcohol. Moonshine doesn’t do much to distinguish itself from the pack.However, there is one big positive when it comes to Moonshine: it’s got a ton of queer rep. Daisy read to me as bi or pan, and there’s also a gender fluid character and an aromantic character. In fact, Moonshine is actually an #ownvoices aro book. I’d heard that Moonshine dealt with gender and sexuality, and that was one of the key reasons I requested an ARC. Happily, I didn’t find this aspect disappointing.On the whole Moonshine had a lot of promise, but it is plagued by inherent structural issues. It’s not a book I’m planning to recommend, but that said, there may be other readers who enjoy it more than me.Review from The Illustrated Page.I received an ARC in exchange for a free and honest review.
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  • David Harris
    January 1, 1970
    I'm grateful to the publisher for an advance e-copy via NetGalleyThis is a strange, mixed-up yet nevertheless joyful book. Set in a world going through something like 1920s-era US Prohibition, it strongly evokes the spirit of the Jazz Age: our heroine, Daisy Dell, is "the very picture of a Modern Girl - slender of frame; her short, tight curls coifed with a shiny pomade; heeled dance shoes dressing either foot; and her dark skin complemented by the contrast of daisy yellow, so vibrant as though I'm grateful to the publisher for an advance e-copy via NetGalleyThis is a strange, mixed-up yet nevertheless joyful book. Set in a world going through something like 1920s-era US Prohibition, it strongly evokes the spirit of the Jazz Age: our heroine, Daisy Dell, is "the very picture of a Modern Girl - slender of frame; her short, tight curls coifed with a shiny pomade; heeled dance shoes dressing either foot; and her dark skin complemented by the contrast of daisy yellow, so vibrant as though it was part of her identity. This she supposed it was."Daisy is making her way in Soot City, capital of Ashland, a nation recently resettled after centuries of volcanic eruptions - think Iceland, but with a gentler climate. The portrayal of Ashland, its social and political tensions, the hints at a wider world - many of the citizens have fled there to escape from vaguely described trouble elsewhere ("Mr Blaine's family fled to Ashland presumably to escape the fascist regime in Berngi"), most of all the morality campaign aimed at suppressing magic - for, reader, this is very much a fantasy world - are all done very well. And as we might expect, Dell pretty soon falls in with gangsters, dealers in the illegal substance mana ("the blue stuff") essential for magicians. From then on it gets a bit Bugsy Malone with shootouts, political shenaniganns, a ruthless hitwoman and romantic entanglements.The plot is pretty linear and restricted - we're not dealing here with world changing conspiracies, Dark Lords or the fate of the Universe. Some may dislike that: for my part I found it rather refreshing, allowing time and space for Gower to develop her characters - she gives Dell, and her boss, Swarz, plenty of backstory (Daisy's eventually reveals a rather horrifying secret that counterbalances the less pleasant aspects of the speakeasy gang - no-one in this book has clean hands) and a nicely complicated relationship. It was a slight disappointment that the plot is pretty transparent, with the antagonist and their motivations identified to the reader (not to Dell) early on. To set against that, there is, as I have said, a satisfying atmosphere of moral murkiness to the book. The same phrase - "a girl's got to eat" - is used of both Dell and her Nemesis. Motivations here are mundane, about making rent or keeping food on the table or just having good time at the end of the week, not about fulfilling ancient prophecies or crusading against evil.The book is also nicely observed. Early on, Swarz challenges Dell's motivations, wondering if she shouldn't spend a bit less money on partying and move into a better flat. Dell is having none of it and basically tells him to mind his own business. Gower also has a nice line in hard-boiled one-liners ("She had to admire his nonchalance in approaching someone... younger... drinking alone like she was contemplating revenge", "Daisy held forth the letter, putting on a smile she was too weary for"). The book is unashamedly progressive and pro-diversity, with, for example, a character who presents sometimes as male and sometimes as female ("Well, sure, when I am a man. I'm not now") and with the treatment of both the native ogres and the magicians a proxy for the results of ethnic and social privilege ("Magic, alongside ogre technology... had probably built half the city.")Overall this was a great read. the world building is second to none, the characters plausible, and if there's a bit less plot then I might ideally have liked, that also has its attractions and Gower never, never lets the pace of events slacken with several viscerally realised set-piece battles before the end.A great debut, and I hope that Gower writes more about this intriguing world soon and especially about Daisy Dell. (Also, just take a moment to appreciate that gorgeous, glamorous cover!)
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  • Anna
    January 1, 1970
    If you enjoy urban fantasy and "Thoroughly Modern Millie," you're in for a treat - Moonshine is the intersection of fantasy and 1920's culture you never knew you needed.I really liked this book. It was creative and delightful. The characters were well-built and memorable (and minus all the illegal activity, the kind of people you'd want to hang out with). I felt like I got to grow and learn with Daisy Dell (our delightful heroine) and that was charming and wonderful. She's a real sweetheart caug If you enjoy urban fantasy and "Thoroughly Modern Millie," you're in for a treat - Moonshine is the intersection of fantasy and 1920's culture you never knew you needed.I really liked this book. It was creative and delightful. The characters were well-built and memorable (and minus all the illegal activity, the kind of people you'd want to hang out with). I felt like I got to grow and learn with Daisy Dell (our delightful heroine) and that was charming and wonderful. She's a real sweetheart caught up in the world of magic and speakeasies - and it was very satisfying to see how she learned to balance both while still remaining true to herself. Daisy is one of the best parts of this book. Ming Wei is also a great example of a well-written female character - she's pragmatic and somewhat simplistic, but only out of her own necessity. She's the girl who can get things done. And seeing how the two of these women (who were so different from each other) interacted was really fun.Another thing I greatly appreciated about this book was that there was so much diversity - but the book wasn't bogged down with it. Sometimes, books feel like they were written simply to make a point - the plot gets lost in the political/social agenda. Books like this do so much more good in promoting diversity in fiction - the lifestyles never came across as preachy or defensive. All the characters accepted each other's differences and eccentricities as completely normal and the author expected the reader to also accept this in order to keep up. I loved that. Honestly, my biggest complaint about this book is that it felt a little long. I'm not sure what I would cut out, but by the end, I was ready for things to wrap up. I also felt like some of the writing was a bit choppy periodically - mostly in transitioning between different characters' viewpoints. But overall, this was a wonderful book and I'm excited to see what the author will turn out next.Recommended for fantasy readers (especially lovers of urban fantasy) and lovers of 1920's culture.
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  • Rachel Noel
    January 1, 1970
    *Free book for an honest review.This book was not what I was expecting, and that's a good thing. I genuinely thought this was an alternate, historical fantasy that would take place in 1930's USA. What I got was a fantasy world with as much magic as any other high fantasy world, but with prohibition era aesthetics. It was really cool! The world is incredibly interesting and I want to know more about it. I greatly appreciated the difference in approach between Mr. Swarz and Daisy. His academic, po *Free book for an honest review.This book was not what I was expecting, and that's a good thing. I genuinely thought this was an alternate, historical fantasy that would take place in 1930's USA. What I got was a fantasy world with as much magic as any other high fantasy world, but with prohibition era aesthetics. It was really cool! The world is incredibly interesting and I want to know more about it. I greatly appreciated the difference in approach between Mr. Swarz and Daisy. His academic, political views of the world versus her aesthetic, social perspective really helped to flesh out the world. She's more likely to note the combined uses of magic and ogre technology where he is more likely to note the local politics and economic climate. The fact that this city of Ashland actually exists near a dying volcano that frequently covers the city in ash provided an interesting mental picture. Combine that with a culture that has incorporated (however begrudgingly) ogres and fauns, and you've got my attention. I really do want to read more about this world.Then there are the characters. We only get to read the book from three character's perspectives: Daisy, Mr. Swarz and Ming Wei. These three are kinda all we need, though. As different as they each are, they are also surprisingly similar. All three have had to work from nothing to something, but Daisy and Mr. Swarz had plenty of family support while Wei needs to support her family. Daisy and Wei have good health while Mr. Swarz is physically disabled. Wei and Mr. Swarz are in charge of their groups while Daisy has never had any kind of influence or power. I really liked how Daisy and Wei almost bonded over their shared understanding of "a girl's gotta eat."This book was a very enjoyable introduction to a very new world that I would really like to read more of. I'm eager to read more of Gower's works and encourage you to pick up a copy of Moonshine. 4 hoots!
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  • Stephanie
    January 1, 1970
    Moonshine is set in an alternate world with the stylings of the 1920s in America, minus some specifics of race relations; Daisy Dell is a recent college graduate who needs a job and finds one as a secretary. She doesn't exactly suspect that the job will introduce her to a world of bootleggers, illegal magic, and hired killers, but that's exactly what happens.Ms. Gower has succeeded in writing a faintly unsavory tale, starring criminals and drug addicts, and yet in providing us with a whole bunch Moonshine is set in an alternate world with the stylings of the 1920s in America, minus some specifics of race relations; Daisy Dell is a recent college graduate who needs a job and finds one as a secretary. She doesn't exactly suspect that the job will introduce her to a world of bootleggers, illegal magic, and hired killers, but that's exactly what happens.Ms. Gower has succeeded in writing a faintly unsavory tale, starring criminals and drug addicts, and yet in providing us with a whole bunch of likable characters. It's awfully difficult for me to enjoy a book where I vaguely hate everyone, but that wasn't even remotely a problem. Of course there were characters that I didn't like, including a couple of corrupt politicians, but even they were fascinating in their own ways, as were the actual bad guys and, well, even some of the one-off characters who showed up for a scene and nothing more. If I had any complaints about the characters, it's that a couple of them in the inner circle had similar names (not the ones who were twins) and I got them confused a few times. But everyone had a distinct personality and I enjoyed meeting all of them.The world-building was pretty solid, although it felt as if Ms. Gower had built a giant world and had only touched the smallest portion of it. I can imagine that there's so much to explore, not only in different parts of the city but in different countries and in the giant spans of history that were only lightly referenced. Even though the story was rather well-confined (it did take a bit of an unexpected turn at one point towards the middle but, taking that into consideration, I never found the plot to lag), it still gave the impression of great breadth of ideas, and I'd love to see more exploring in this world.Overall, a solid novel with an entertainingly diverse cast of characters. Heed warnings about drug use and diet talk if necessary for you.
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  • Jay Roberts
    January 1, 1970
    Very original tale! I liked the character complexity: allies could be prickly or disrespectful, while villains were not entirely rotten. The story also stays away from the standard "kill 'em all!" approach so common in today's fantasy, and uses kindness and forgiveness effectively. So if you liked Vivian Shaw's Strange Practice (2017), you'll enjoy Moonshine just as much.
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  • Jessie (Ageless Pages Reviews)
    January 1, 1970
    Magic is prohibited in a 1920s-feel alt-Chicago, but modern girl Daisy gets caught up in bootlegging and local politics. Fun and creative ideas but the middle lags.
  • Martina DF
    January 1, 1970
    I have to admit I really wanted Andre and Cyan to have an epic love story :/
  • Kelsey
    January 1, 1970
    I'm not quite sure what to rate this yet, but it was fun! Review to come.
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