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The Native Star [Mass Market Paperback]

M. K. Hobson
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)

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Book Description

August 31, 2010
In the tradition of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, this brilliant first novel fuses history, fantasy, and romance. Prepare to be enchanted by M. K. Hobson’s captivating take on the Wild, Wild West.
 
The year is 1876. In the small Sierra Nevada settlement of Lost Pine, the town witch, Emily Edwards, is being run out of business by an influx of mail-order patent magics. Attempting to solve her problem with a love spell, Emily only makes things worse. But before she can undo the damage, an enchanted artifact falls into her possession—and suddenly Emily must flee for her life, pursued by evil warlocks who want the object for themselves.

Dreadnought Stanton, a warlock from New York City whose personality is as pompous and abrasive as his name, has been exiled to Lost Pine for mysterious reasons. Now he finds himself involuntarily allied with Emily in a race against time—and across the United States by horse, train, and biomechanical flying machine—in quest of the great Professor Mirabilis, who alone can unlock the secret of the coveted artifact. But along the way, Emily and Stanton will be forced to contend with the most powerful and unpredictable magic of all—the magic of the human heart.

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Clever and original, Hobson's splendid debut is a colorful journey through Reconstruction-era America. Young country witch Emily Edwards battles a horde of zombies and winds up with a mysterious magical stone embedded in her hand. Escorted by the academically-trained warlock Dreadnought Stanton, who is afflicted with a magical disease and a very superior attitude, Emily reluctantly sets out to meet with warlocks from the Mirabilis Institute in hopes of getting the stone removed. Betrayal sends Emily and Dreadnought fleeing on a rollicking cross-country trip, with military blood-warlock and torturer Captain Caul in hot pursuit and the fate of all magic at stake. Clever techno-magical artifacts with steampunk flair, evil Aberrancies, and a unique tripartite magical system provide a colorful backdrop to the politics of the warlocks, the secrets of the stone, and the mystery of Emily's past. The growing attraction of Emily and Dreadnought is convincingly portrayed, while Caul's willingness to commit evil act in the service of patriotism makes a timely political point without belaboring the issue. The story is complete in and of itself and will leave readers eagerly awaiting the sequel.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Review

"The Native Star is engaging, atmospheric, and lovely. I was quite taken by the concept of an Old West built on a foundation of magic and zombie slave labor. Oh, and giant raccoons. Bring on the coons! And how spectacular is the name Dreadnought Stanton? This book utterly absorbed me from start to finish—these days you have no idea how rare that is. You have something special in your hands—no pun intended." —Gail Carriger, New York Times bestelling author of Soulless

“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

More About the Author

Author M.K. Hobson grew up in Oregon, and has been writing since early childhood. By day, she is a Creative Consultant who has helped produce award-winning campaigns for a variety of national and international clients. She has also owned a newspaper, driven night-shift taxi, read tarot professionally, and taught conversational English in Japan.

She lives in the first city in the United States incorporated west of the Rockies in a 1916 Craftsman bungalow that she shares with her husband, her daughter, and a menagerie of pets.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Amazon Verified Purchase
"The Native Star" is, I believe, the first solo work published by author M.K. Hobson. (she has published other short stories in a collection series of fantasy works with other authors). This Kindle ebook edition is 400 pages in length.

*SPOILER*

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.

*END SPOILER*

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.

Conclusion:
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. After a 'quiet' beginning this turned out to be an extremely well written fantasy/adventure...getting better as it went along. Some interesting characters, some unexpected turns and some chilling descriptions made this a very enjoyable fantasy read. The epilogue certainly left room for a sequel. 5 Stars.

Ray Nicholson
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rollicking historical fantasy August 31, 2010
Format:Mass Market Paperback
A fast paced, heady blend of adventure, romance, western and fantasy, I found The Native Star to be a delicious, compulsive read.

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!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent historical fantasy December 1, 2010
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Amazon Verified Purchase
I will start this review by pointing out I adore period pieces. I have a soft spot for urban fantasy. Urban fantasy set in a wonderfully rich historical setting? Sold.

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.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars An interesting story, but at times I felt like I needed a translator
If I had been asked my opinion of Native Star at various points as I was reading it, my answers would be all over the board. Read more
Published 3 months ago by The Rekindled Reader
5.0 out of 5 stars Exciting, Magical, Stressful!!!
The Native Star
By
M.K.Hobson

My" in a nutshell" summary...

Magic, mayhem, mystery! Maybe a bit of madness? Read more
Published 3 months ago by PattyLouise
4.0 out of 5 stars one of the most fun examples of American Historical Fantasy I've...
You know that expression "it's not the destination, it's the journey"? Yeah...whoever first said it was obviously trying to make themselves feel better about that awesome road trip... Read more
Published 5 months ago by H. Frederick
3.0 out of 5 stars Problematic, but ultimately worth reading.
The Native Star came on strong, and for the first third of the book I was sure that this would be a five star book. Read more
Published 6 months ago by 100bookproject
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Alternative History book.
I love alternative history, and I love magic, so it's nice to see them brought together so well. The heroine is a feisty young girl, a little mean and prone to judging others, but... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Elizabeth D. O. Connell
4.0 out of 5 stars Magic Vs. Alternate History
I always enjoy a novel that starts with the bad guy-- a good sign evil will be taken seriously. In the case of Native Star, this is exactly what you get. Read more
Published 10 months ago by David Mark Brown
4.0 out of 5 stars 3 1/2 stars worth, rounded up.
Firstly I enjoyed this book. It wasn't quite what I was expecting -I was looking for steampunk whereas this is more of a magic wild west than what I've come to think of as... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Roses for C
4.0 out of 5 stars A Mish-Mash of Genres That Totally Works
I get ridiculously animated when I am excited about books and boy, you should've seen me explaining this book to people I encountered in real life who asked me what I was reading. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Flannery
3.0 out of 5 stars Self-rescuing pioneer princess
I finished this book two days ago, and I keep thinking about picking it up to start re-reading it. I can't point to what makes it so sticky, but it really is. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Heidi Waterhouse
2.0 out of 5 stars 3 of us say it isn't worth reading.
I wasn't sure about this. I had to work to get through it, instead of my baing able to read a book in an evening, or a couple of them. Read more
Published 12 months ago by P. Boynton
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Spectra (August 31, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553592653
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553592658
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #585,850 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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