The Native Star

Emily Edwards is a small-town girl in post-Civil War California, practicing her simple folk magic on things like casting a love spell on the local lumberman, whom she thinks will make a good husband. She also tries to avoid local warlock Dreadnought Stanton, who’s pompous and considers her magic to be inferior dabbling.

A zombie uprising in the local mines leaves Emily with a mysterious stone lodged in her hand which Stanton recognizes as a dangerous piece of the Native Star…and everyone wants a piece of it, especially the evil Maelstroms, military-minded practitioners of blood magic. As Stanton and Emily flee cross-country, dodging magical aberrancies such as gigantic killer raccoons, the mysterious murmurings of a Native American witch, and animal-shaped flying machines, they encounter magic whose secrets could stifle the feelings Emily and Stanton have begun to feel for each other—not that they’d ever admit it--not to mention put all the earth's magic in the hands of a madman.

The Native Star is the first in a new series by debut author M.K. Hobson that is brimming with humor, tension, light-hearted romance and dark, dark magic—everything a reader could want, in other words, from a creative blend of steampunk and romance. Hobson creates a rich new magical world in late 19th-century America, where the ways of magic are being slowly strangled by the advent of science and technology—unless they begin to fight back. Pompous Dreadnought Stanton becomes the unlikeliest of romantic heroes, with dark secrets and a noble heart he ultimately can’t hide.

This is an almost sweet story, with its Victorian feel, clever humor, and evocation of a time when a kiss was a daring romantic gesture. But wrapped around the sweetness is a hard core of magic and blood and, ultimately, the place magic will hold in the world.

Book Blurb for The Native Star

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.

Night Owl Reviews Oct, 2010 5.00