** WARNING – THIS REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS**
It is interesting how much a person’s mood or previous reading experience might impact a reader as they open a book. I had just finished two books in a row that I very much did not enjoy (not necessarily the most recent books posted on this blog) and I was not particularly looking forward to another book by an author unfamiliar to me. Fortunately, Jasmine Gower’s Moonshine quickly caught my attention and I was drawn into the story with some fresh characters and a bit of mystery and magic.
Daisy Dell is a very modern girl in this 1920’s-like time period. She has some modern thoughts about being a single girl looking for work in Soot City. She lands a job as the personal assistant to a man who runs a warehouse elsewhere in the city. She is encouraged to socialize with the workers, who look on her with some trepidation – it seems she is the one of the first people hired who didn’t have a direct connection with someone already associated with the business.
What Daisy comes to learn is that they are bootleggers, of a sort. They are bottling mana – a highly addictive drug to some and the source of magic abilities for others. This comes as a bit of a shock to Daisy at first, since this is illegal, but her boss insists she make a choice to stay with the company, knowing full well what they do, or move on, keeping their secret or face assassination. But Daisy has her own secret, which her boss suspected, about using magic and the source of her own powers (passed down through generations of her family line).
I really liked the character of Daisy who comes off as a simple, likable, almost Mary Tyler Moore-like girl, but who has a darker side than she lets on. Yet not so dark that she’s secretly amoral or the villain of the story.
All the characters here at first appear somewhat ‘simple’ but actually have a good deal of depth to them as we get further into the book.
The story, too, is surprisingly complex. We are lulled into thinking this a jazz-age style alternative history style fantasy but Gower weaves a magical web giving us glimpses of something much bigger and more intricate. I really liked how this story and these characters developed. I think that there’s a story here much deeper than what it appears to be on the surface and this is one of those rare books that will really want a second reading to get the most out of it.
I look forward to more by Gower and I hope we get back to this world soon.
Looking for a good book? Moonshine by Jasmine Gower is a rich alternate history, urban fantasy that provides wonderful characters with strong story development.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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author: Jasmine Gower
publisher: Angry Robot
paperback, 320 pages