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The Native Star Mass Market Paperback – August 31, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
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“M. K. Hobson dazzles! The Native Star is an awesome mash-up of magic and steam-age technology—call it witchpunk. This debut novel puts a new shine on the Gilded Age.” —C. C. Finlay
“Splendid! In The Native Star, M. K. Hobson gives us a Reconstruction-era America, beautifully drawn and filled with the energy of a young nation—and magic! Her heroine, Emily Edwards, is outspoken, rash, loving, and true; a delight to spend time with. Could there be a sequel, please?” —Madeleine Robins
Top Customer Reviews
The era is the 1870's and the location is in the American west. Fate has intervened and thrown together two very different individuals...a benevolent witch by the name of Emily Edwards and an out of favor warlock, Dreadnought Stanton. Unusual circumstances lead them to the site of a strange mining accident where Emily finds a beautiful blue gem...and upon picking it up, it becomes embedded within her hand. This gem has mysterious powers and once its presence in known, every necromancer, every magician of any renown, wants to have it for his own. Our heroes flee with the hopes of getting to New York, where the one person who might be able to provide some answers and help resides...the story begins and the chase ensues.
Author Hobson weaves a fine tale. I had the feeling at the beginning that this would be a light hearted 'western' (romance, horses and small towns etc.) with a few zombies thrown in the mix. However, such was not the case, because not only did this turned out to have some very well developed, interesting characters, but also the 'light-hearted' (mentioned above), soon turned out to be exceeding gory and unpleasant at times. All this because of some interesting evil-doers doing whatever was needed to accomplishes their goals...in this case gain possession, at any cost, of the blue gem.
Previously, an unknown author to me; I picked up this book mainly because of an intriguing cover and the high number of 5 star reviews.Read more ›
Young Emily Edwards, the local enchantress of a remote California timber camp, begins the book by making a series of very bad decisions involving love spells, a young man she's adored since childhood, mining camp zombies, and a hotly pursued magically reactive mineral that has not only embedded itself in her hand, but also seem to have something to do with her dimly-remembered murdered mother. To top it off, Emily is saddled with an irritatingly attractive New York City-slicker wizard who knows much more about magic than she does, and isn't afraid to rub her nose in it -- when he deigns to tell her anything at all.
Emily's adventure avalanches from there, chasing her from her childhood home across the United States by trans-continental train and clockwork-magical flying machine. In quick succession, this rural girl has to run from the wood-fired rustic Sierra Nevada backlands to San Francisco's red light district, and then to the glittering arcane lights and overcrowded hoopla of the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition. Along the way, Emily must figure out where her own backwoods spell casting fits into the world economy of magic systems, and discover how cheaply life is bought and sold by the political and magical power brokers of the U.S. and the terrifying, ruthless underworld overlords.
The Native Star is original, blisteringly paced, satisfying, and compulsively readable. The author has created her own new sub-genre of fantasy (she calls it Bustlepunk but I'd name it Spellpunk Western.) She reports that a sequel is in the works, and I personally hope for many more. As quickly as possible, please!
The Native Star takes place in a slightly different late 1800's America. Witches and Warlocks are standard fare and there are competing schools of magic. The schools themselves are amazingly well thought out and each have a fascinating culture of their own. Strong world building is what pulled me in to this novel, and a wonderful cast of characters kept me reading. Apart from the magical schools (credomancy being my favorite for the sheer brilliance of it's design) there are the Aberrancies, creatures (and occasionally people) twisted by a dark matter the magical core of the earth exudes from time to time.
The protagonists are wonderfully human, with all the flaws and failings that implies, and the best of the villains are perfectly chilling. It is a love story worked very well into a grand tapestry of adventure, violence, and betrayal.
The book opens with a love charm gone terribly wrong, works its way through zombie miners that would kill to keep something buried, and the woman who unfortunately gets past them and winds up with an artifact of unprecedented power embedded in her hand.
And all of the competing magical schools would kill to have it in their possession.
What results is an excellent, fast-paced read that is very hard to put down.
Before I talk about the story I have to gush a little over the cover. I ended up having to order this book on my Kindle because our library didn't have it and I wanted to read it quickly - so I'm missing out on displaying that gorgeous cover and that is a bit disappointing. That said, isn't it beautiful? And it does a great job of portraying the spirit of this novel.
Emily Edwards is a spunky, back-town witch involved in charms and various remedies and she was doing just fine until a warlock named Dreadnought Stanton arrived on the scene. This isn't the wild west that is portrayed in John Wayne movies - no, this wild west has magic and several factions of magic users along with an incredibly unique way of looking at the system of belief and magic as being connected to one another.
While I thought the book was fun, I also have to say there were parts of it that were a little too slow and bogged down to fully enjoy. But those parts were few and far between and I thought the pace of the book was, overall, well done. Fantastic addition to the list for Nebula nominees!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Really deserves about a 3 1/2 star rating. It had some action that was interesting but not riveting. It was a pretty easy book to put down.Published 8 months ago by Cheryl B
This book had a wonderful beginning. It started with intriguing characters -- a good ol' country witch (the sticks and herbs and perfumes and potions kind) in the Dr. Read morePublished on March 14, 2014 by Eric Juneau
I was very pleasantly surprised by this novel. There are an avalanche of steampunk/magic/romantic fantasy or whatever combination you can dream of. Read morePublished on February 17, 2014 by Kindle Customer
I need to find more books like this, because 95% rocked. I'm a history buff and am particularly interested in the whole 1850's to 1900's America era, and while I think this still... Read morePublished on November 12, 2013 by Shopgirl
This book was a brilliantly crafted bit of ingenious adventure. I absolutely adored the underlying themes in the book. Read morePublished on November 6, 2013 by mgraves
A decent book. The general plot line was interesting + fairly unique. The relationships between the characters left a lot to be desired. Read morePublished on November 1, 2013 by Laura
Well written. Great plot. The story draws you along with all the twists and turns. Extravagant and imaginative world of magic.Published on September 24, 2013 by Jonathan
I give this three stars because, on the whole, I was not bored by this book. There are many concepts and side stories within this book that are interesting and really cool, but... Read morePublished on August 24, 2013 by Maxwell Higgins