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The Native Star

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The Native Star Cover

ISBN13: 9780553592658
ISBN10: 0553592653
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

Review:

"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." Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)

Synopsis:

In the tradition of "Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norell" comes a brilliant first novel that fuses history, fantasy, and romance as Hobson presents an enchanted take on the wild West. Original.

About the Author

M. K. Hobson’s short fiction has appeared in Realms of Fantasy, Fantasy & Science Fiction, Sci Fiction, Strange Horizons, Interzone, Postscripts, and many other publications. She lives in the first city in the United States incorporated west of the Rockies and fancies herself a historian, bon vivant, and raconteur. Her husband, daughter, yellow Lab, and moggy cats generally humor her. The Native Star is her first novel. 

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

emmejo, June 7, 2011 (view all comments by emmejo)
Emily Edwards was perfectly content being a small-town witch out west, making lucky charms and protection spells for the local folks. But it isn't much of a living, and with the recent influx of popular mail-order spells, she's losing enough business that she is worried about being able to support herself and her adoptive father. She decides to put a love spell on a young and rich man in hopes of not having to worry anymore, but goes just a little overboard and he becomes obsessive. Emily is trying to figure out how to undo it when disaster strikes in the nearby mine- the normally calm zombie miners go crazy. Emily and Stanton, a pompous big-city warlock who wants to bring her magic into the modern times, go to investigate. The problem turns out to be a strange, magic-absorbing rock which Emily makes the mistake of picking up. It embeds itself in her hand, making it impossible for her to do magic. She unhappily sets out with Stanton for San Francisco in hopes that they will find a way to get the damned thing back out, but their road isn't going to be smooth. The resulting road trip involves a number of people who would like to have the stone and don't care if they spill blood to get it.

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. The cover description made it sound like romance was a major part of the plot, but instead it remains only a tasteful subplot. I also loved that Emily felt like a girl from the 1860's, not a modern lady in an old dress. Her concerns and decisions felt much more historically accurate than you sometimes find. Stanton was exasperating at the beginning, but as Emily softened up and decided that he wasn't so bad, so did I.

The writing hit a few rough spots and every now and then the pacing staggered, but it is highly impressive for a first novel. The dialogue made me laugh a couple times just because it was so sharp and in-character, quite the achievement for a newer writer.
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kehills, November 26, 2010 (view all comments by kehills)
The Native Star is an alternate universe story that starts out in the wild west of California and small mountain mining towns before moving through an AU, post-Reconstruction America to New York City. It's about magic and science and the conflicts between the two, and everything being caught up in the hand - literally - of a poor, backwoods witch who has a practical education and suddenly finds herself very badly in need of modern magical knowledge. That's provided by Dreadnought Stanton, son of a wealthy senator who's found himself assigned to Emily's backwoods town of Lone Star as The Jefferson Chair, a representative of The Mirabilis Institute who's supposed to take stock of the kinds of magic being worked in the country, and attempt to pull people into modern knowledge - perhaps for his, and the Institute's, own need.

Overall, I found this to be thoroughly engaging novel - in fact, I couldn't put it down, and I raced through it in near-record time, even for me. The characters were believable and I rarely found myself wondering why in the world $CharacterX would fall for $StupidPlotDeviceY. In fact, I only had one Admiral Ackbar moment, and that was when this was the reaction the reader was supposed to have.

Hobson wrote an extremely well-crafted novel, and I think Clarion West should definitely consider this a strong piece of advertisement for the workshop - if this wasn't the only thing she had published (which I discovered, much to my sorrow, after finishing the book - if she'd had other novels, I would have purchased them immediately), I would have never believed it was a first novel.
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Tuber_x, September 3, 2010 (view all comments by Tuber_x)
There is so much good stuff in this book. The author has created a version of America in the 1800's full of magic, action and interesting characters. I have to admit that I'm usually not a fan of that era, but M.K. Hobson's choice of details kept me fascinated, intrigued, and, for lack of a better word, nostalgic. This amazing backdrop supported a storyline filled with fast-paced action, following the plight of two colorful characters across the United States. I was dreading the romance that was alluded to by the cover ("the magic of the human heart"), but the romance is genuine, not mushy at all, and not an overbearing aspect of the book. One character, Dreadnought Stanton, has an incredible acerbic wit that had me laughing to myself as I read. Emily Edwards is the heroine who goes through an incredible journey. She goes from an 1800's backwoods woman trying to find a man to marry and take care of her financially to a woman with extreme power, literally in the palm of her hand.

There is more to this book than just adventure, characters, magic and romance. M.K. Hobson has also managed to ingeniously weave philosophical and political commentary seamlessly into her work as well, giving this book something extra to reflect upon. She explores the power of ideas and propaganda in a truly unique way as well as a myriad of other ponderables. I would expound upon that, but I don't want to ruin the joy of reading it...and it is a must read!
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780553592658
Author:
Hobson, M K
Publisher:
Spectra Books
Author:
Hobson, M. K.
Subject:
Fantasy - General
Subject:
Science Fiction and Fantasy-Fantasy
Edition Description:
Mass market paperback
Publication Date:
20100831
Binding:
MASS MARKET
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
400
Dimensions:
6.88x4.24x1.10 in. .46 lbs.

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The Native Star Used Mass Market
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$4.95 In Stock
Product details 400 pages Spectra Books - English 9780553592658 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "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." Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
"Synopsis" by , In the tradition of "Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norell" comes a brilliant first novel that fuses history, fantasy, and romance as Hobson presents an enchanted take on the wild West. Original.
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