Following the events in the previous book Nightlife, Niko and Cal have settled down in New York City. In partnership with Promise, they now have their own investigative/security firm and are about to be thrust into the world of the Kin (the supernatural/werewolf mafia).
Once again the story is told by Cal, the younger half human / half 'monster' brother, who turns his cynical eye on both himself and those around him. As with Nightlife I found the story slowly draws you in without you being aware of it. After a slightly awkward start (where the events of the previous book are recapped) you're pulled back into the world of the Leandros brothers. It is still the relationship between the siblings and their friends (and enemies) that make this series such a joy to read. Rob Thurman has a great knack for making her characters come alive on the page.
I feel that Moonshine is an improvement over Nightlife. Cal as a character works much better when he is interacting with others, and thankfully there is no unavoidable change in his behaviour in this book. There is one part where he goes undercover on his own and I remember thinking I hope he's not going to get kidnapped. I've come to the conclusion that it's Kushiel syndrome, whereby I like the other characters more than the protagonist. BUT I like to see them as described by and interacting with said protagonist.
We get to see much more of Cal and Niko’s relationship and how they were (and still are) affected by the Auphe. (Trying to keep this relatively spoiler free). The fallout from Nightlife is dealt with and somewhat resolved. We're introduced to Flay (a werewolf) who although his story is pretty much concluded here I hope we might bump into again.
Robin Goodfellow has a much larger part in this book, which I was very happy about. His quickfire wit and sarcastic humor make the dialogue sparkle whenever he is present on the page. His unrequited yearning for Niko is beautifully written. Hopefully he will continue to play a major part in the series. Promise and George also return, and their deepening relationships with the brothers are one of the main threads of the story. Rafferty (the healer from Nightlife) is mentioned very briefly, and I hope this intriguing snippet will be followed up in a forthcoming book.
Having said that Robin is witty. Niko has my favourite lines in the book. The spoilerless one from p289 - "Let's focus on one life threatening disaster at a time. Multi-tasking at this level of catastrophe isn't quite feasible." The other is on page 335. :)
This book even more than Nightlife makes you think about what a monster is. Cal - half monster, Niko - prepared to do monstrous things to save his brother, Flay the werewolf (and various other nasties) - monsters on the outside - but should we always judge the book by the cover? Maybe we all have a monster inside of us - except George.
Book 3 release March 2008 (subject to change)