This book definitely reads like a first novel, which confuses the hell out of me because it’s by the author of “Love Will Tear Us Apart.” “Love Will” was one of the best short stories I’ve read ever in my whole life (review and excerpt here), so self-assured and masterful that it tossed aside storytelling conventions the way a samurai warrior knocks aside NERF grenades.
I had to check to make sure that this was written by the same person. Moonshine is almost comically derivative. Thusly:
- Cover art depicts the neck portion of a young lady flaunting a prominent vampire bite.
- Plucky heroine is named Zephyr Hollis.
- Heroine is mysteriously immune to vampire bites and has implausible combat skillz.
- Story is set in Prohibition-era New York, has stylish hats, jazz, and atmospheric poverty.
- Heroine is a do-gooding, immigrant-helping, bicycle-riding suffragette. Also, vegetarian when nobody is vegetarian.
- Supernatural love interest with body temperature issues.
- Writing is…composed of words…a lot of words.
So…ZOMG Alaya Dawn Johnson has been killed and replaced by a skinchanger! Since Zombies vs. Unicorns came out 3 months after Moonshine, Ms. Johnson’s unfortunate demise and replacement may be all for the best. Unless the real Alaya submitted the “Love Will” manuscript a year in advance, after which she was unceremoniously devoured. To fulfill her contract, the murderer cobbled together a book by cutting and pasting tropes from 57 other YA fantasy novels. Oh shit, the second storyline sounds much more plausible. RIP Alaya Johnson, you smelled too delicious for your own good.*
* So did the real Orson Scott Card.