The Native Star (Veneficas Americana Series #1)

The Native Star (Veneficas Americana Series #1)

4.1 50
by M. K. Hobson
     
 

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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

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Overview

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

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. (Sept.)
From the Publisher
"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

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780553592658
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
08/31/2010
Series:
Veneficas Americana Series, #1
Pages:
400
Sales rank:
683,238
Product dimensions:
4.10(w) x 6.80(h) x 1.10(d)

Related Subjects

Meet 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. 

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Native Star 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 49 reviews.
Tuber_x More than 1 year ago
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!
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1876 in Lost Pines high in the Sierras Mountains local witch Emily Edwards struggles with a failing business as technology has changed and her neighbors mo longer purchase spells from her as they can mail order them. She decides to cast a love spell to catch a man she has adored since she was a child. She mouths the rhyme while dancing nude and applying lavender. However, success proves a failure as she has her man adoring her, but she realizes it is not the real thing. Making her feel worse about her error is the exiled wizard from the East Coast Dreadnought Stanton who snottily enjoys telling her she is a snafu. However, Emily has a bigger issue to contend with as minors are turning into hungry berserker zombies and raccoons as large as whales due to ill advised magic appear. Finally, after finding an artifact Emily eludes witch hunters, mindless assassins and evil blood sorcerers. She figures if she flees California for New York, all will be right in her out of balanced world; Dreadnought accompanies her. This is an entertaining alternate historical fantasy as M.K. Hobson does a great job setting up a United States in which the government uses magic to enhance national patriotism and magic can be bought through the mail. The story line is fun as Emily struggles to undo her error while Dreadnought smirks at her until both are running, riding, and railing for their lives. Sub-genre fans will appreciate The Native Star as alternate Reconstruction Era America comes vividly alive. Harriet Klausner
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Curls up and lies down in bed and is soon asleep
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Goes to result 1
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BBandReveries More than 1 year ago
Take an old Western then add some magic, a pinch of paranormal, and a sprinkle of romance and you get The Native Star. This was one crazy steampunk adventure. The Native Star follows a 25 year old witch, Emily. She and her adoptive father, Pap, own a magic shop-mostly for home use; however, it is being run out of business by a larger company. In an effort to ease Pap's life, she casts a love spell on her friend for money hoping that after they get married she will grow to love him. However, her spell goes wrong and a poor drunk warlock, tells Emily about suspicious events occurring as well as accusing her of using dark magic. After going to check on his suspicions, Emily gets a native star stuck in her hand. With the help of Dreadnought Stanton, the most aggravating Warlock ever, she goes in search of removing it. Their journey across America is filled with problems. Almost every magical society is after them, including the government. Apparently the native star is much more valuable and deadly then Emily originally thought. What an adventure! I felt like I was there. When Emily and Stanton were tired, I was tired. When they were scared, I was scared. It was so much fun. This novel takes place in 1876. Their journey takes them from California all the way to the east coast. It is an America where magic is used everywhere, even in the government. This magic is powered through faith and belief in it. You do get the occasional anti-magic religious town. This world is filled with secret societies, radicals, zombies, and flying machines. The story has an old western feel to it-so much so that I visualized some of it in sepia. No joke, it was almost like watching a blockbuster western film. Epic. The characters were so well-written (the whole book was!) At the beginning of the novel, Emily made a choice. It was the wrong one and everything that happens to her after that is the consequence of one small decision. Hobson explores choices and their consequences throughout The Native Star, for almost every character. Emily is a very human character. She makes mistakes and she is not perfect in any way. But she tries to do the right thing. Emily gets stuck with the "insufferable" Stanton, who has made it his life mission to show off his magical knowledge. Stanton was a fascinating character. At the beginning, I agreed with Emily on his annoying and supercilious attitude and comments. I remember thinking "It's going to be a long ride." But over the course of the book, the reasons for his actions and personality are revealed and I (and Emily, of course) started to fall in love with him. The romance wasn't overpowering though. It started out as hate then turned to love over time-basically a growing attraction. Stanton reminded me of Mr. Rochester from Jane Eyre. He's definitely the strong smart guy, but there is no doubt that he is tortured. These two are the central characters of the novel. There are a whole bunch of others including an Indian Holy Woman, an evil soul that possesses people, a radical warlock who happens to run the American military, and a paranoid feminist witch. This is the first book in a series. The Native Star is an exhilarating adventure that will leave you wanting more.
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Chocolate-Peanut-Butter More than 1 year ago
I rarely stay up at all hours to finish a book, but Native Star kept me turning the pages until I was done. It wasn't just the plot that kept me involved, but the characters, all so richly imagined and vividly drawn. By the end of the book, I felt like I really knew Emily, and wouldn't mind spending more time with her. I will definitely be buying the next book! Dreadnought was just so lovably irritating, half the time I wanted to smack him, the other half I couldn't help but admire him. Neither are perfect, but are believably flawed. Please don't think this is a strictly a romance. The book is first and foremost an adventure/mystery story. The romance was handled very lightly, it wasn't the center of the story, but still very satisfying. The plot was full of twists and turns, and the story never went where I expected it to go. Unpredictable!
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