Moonshine

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 17 Jan 2018

Member Reviews

There's a lot to like about Moonshine, a fun, exciting fantasy with a setting based on the 1920s. I'm a huge fan of fantasies that utilize non-traditional time periods for inspiration and am always thrilled to see more of them. Soot City, the setting for Jasmine Gower's novel, is in a country called Ashland, a New World stand-in for the U.S. on a continent that has long been uninhabitable due to volcanic activity, but is now the home of a young nation of immigrants and their descendants picking themselves up by their bootstraps.

Our protagonist is Daisy Dell, a college graduate trying to make ends meet and have a good time as a liberated young woman of a new era. Daisy takes...

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I will begin by saying that this is [one] of those books where the setting and characters were more important to me than the plot. The driving plot line, involving assassins and political intrigue, wasn’t boring, but it didn’t captivate my interest enough to keep me up reading long past my bedtime. As such, days would go by when I would absentmindedly start reading something else, having virtually forgotten about my friends in Soot City.

When I found my way back to them, it was always an enjoyable time. The characters are all lively, strong-willed individuals who have come a long way to get where they are. There’s a healthy dose of diversity among the cast, which I appreciate a great deal...

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This 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...

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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...

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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...

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I received an ARC of Moonshine from Netgalley. Some people had been mentioning that it was an #ownvoices book for aromantic representation, and I’m always looking for more of that.

It’s ownvoices for aromantic, asexual, genderfluid, and disabled rep (major characters).

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The part that struck me most was the fantastic worldbuilding. Damn! It was so elaborate and within the first pages, I could already picture what Soot City looked like and what people in the city wore.

There are different types of magic, and it was intriguing to read how they interacted with each other. I would have liked a bit more insight into the origin of magic, and whether the different types are can be learned or...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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Unfortunately this was not to my taste.  I made it to 20% and didn't really like any of the characters or plot.  I did however like the world-building.  It seems to be getting good reviews so far and so I hope it continues to find the audience it needs. I am just not part of it.
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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...

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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...

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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...

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