Tuesday, July 26, 2011

62 of 111 The Native Star by M.K. Hobson

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. (Published August 31st 2010 by Spectra, description from goodreads.com)


Usually I am put off by any hint of a western theme in a book, but I'd been thinking about the book Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke and the top of the description mentions JS&Mr.N. That caught my attention so I decided to take chance and give The Native Star a read. I'm so glad I did.
This was one of those books that exceeded every expectation I had. It was thoroughly enjoyable. I found it easy to get into the action and how Hobsen's world worked. I liked the characters and felt invested in the outcome. 
Emily Edwards is a backwoods small-town witch who becomes embroiled in a plot to steal magic from the earth when a "native star" stone magically embeds itself in her hand. Emily was a great character. I really liked her and the way she dealt with everything that happened. She wasn't overly abrasive, but she tried her best not to be taken advantage of. Dreadnought Stanton (who travels with Emily) was also likeable and well-written. Like Emily, the more we learn about him the more we understand him and begin to like him. The romance that develops between Emily and Dreadnought was a nice subplot that worked well with the larger story and added a sweetness to the plot.
Overall, fans of steampunk (is there a magicpunk genre? because that's what I'd call The Native Star) will enjoy this book. I found it to be a surprisingly enjoyable discovery. 

An enjoyable adventure!

some romantic scenes

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