The Native Star (Veneficas Americana Series #1)

The Native Star (Veneficas Americana Series #1)

by M. K. Hobson

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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: 634,479
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.80(h) x 1.10(d)

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.

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Excerpted from "The Native Star"
by .
Copyright © 2010 M. K. Hobson.
Excerpted by permission of Random House Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Native Star 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 59 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
mbg0312 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Good but not great, but left looking forward to the next one.
stephxsu on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Emily Edwards is an old-fashioned witch in the small town of Lost Pine in the Sierra Nevadas. Her modest living is about to be run out of town with the introduction of Baugh¿s Magic, mass-produced, commercially savvy, mail-order products. But when Emily unexpectedly ¿inherits¿ a valuable artifact, she is forced to team up with Dreadnought Stanton, an unpleasantly stuffy East-educated warlock, and run for their lives. The only person who can help remove the mysterious magical gem that has embedded itself into her palm is Stanton¿s mentor back East, and so Emily and Stanton embark on a cross-country journey while trying to avoid the various unpleasant folks who have taken an interest in the stone in Emily¿s hand.THE NATIVE STAR, M.K. Hobson¿s debut novel, is an original blend of witchery and the Wild, Wild West. It didn¿t leave a particularly long-lasting impression on me, but was definitely an enjoyable and well-written romp of a read.For me, the strength of THE NATIVE STAR lay in its inventiveness. Just when I thought I had Emily and Stanton¿s world figured out, Hobson throws in another twist and element that takes me by surprise and forces me to reorganize my thoughts about the story¿s world. The book combines steampunk and magic with the post-Civil War American West, resulting in an exciting new subgenre for magic and steampunk lovers.And yet these surprises also contributed to my slight skepticism of the story. Oftentimes, new elements were introduced with seemingly little forethought: the characters are just walking along when all of a sudden¿BAM!¿oh, hey, interlude while we describe this new twist to the world. This just didn¿t agree with me in this book, perhaps because I wanted more of a setup of the foundations of the world at the beginning of the novel.Furthermore, I wasn¿t the biggest fan of Emily and Stanton. She gave me the impression of being one of those pinch-faced ladies who look and act older than they really are, and he was standoffish the entire time. Their romance still seemed to come out of nowhere for me, despite how much the back-cover summary pimps it. They¿the book summary and tagline¿set me up to expect a great, life-changing romance, but I didn¿t quite get it here.Overall, THE NATIVE STAR is a good and interesting mix of magic, steampunk, and the Wild, Wild West. If that sounds even half as intriguing to you, then I definitely recommend that you check it out!
sbreiden on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I enjoyed this book. It takes place in 1876 and I liked that the author's take on magic was so different from the paranormal fiction and worlds I've been reading.
ladycato on LibraryThing 8 months ago
In 1876, the Old West has been strengthened by the use of magic, steampower, and zombie mine laborers. Small-town mountain witch Emily Edwards is worried about maintaining her disabled adopted father's charms business against the threat of mail-order magic. Those worries turn out to be petty when a mine accident ends up with a magical stone embedded in her hand--the famed Native Star. The haughty local warlock, Dreadnought Stanton, believes he has connections who can help remove the stone. Backstabbings and ambushes lead the two to trust no one as they flee across the country to find the secrets of the Native Star.This fun historical frolic has a definite urban fantasy vibe even with the Old West setting. Some aspects reminded me of Cherie Priest's Boneshaker even though the authors do very different things using the same steampunk-tinged Reconstruction period. In some spots the book felt uneven--such as the very beginning and the end--but once Emily steps into the story, her situation immediately grabbed me. The romance with her and Dreadnought felt predictable, but the story had enough twists and turns to keep everything fun even if it felt like too many fantasy elements were crammed in sometimes. I enjoyed the book and would like to read the sequel (it seems to come out today) but I'm not in a rush.
cecilypk on LibraryThing 8 months ago
The Native Star was a book that kept me up until 5 in the morning. I think that it was predictable and I felt like it was a love hate relationship drama with action to fuel it along that I have read many tines before and yet I found myself giggling at some of the Witty dialogue that Stanton and Emily supply, it was nicely paced maybe a bit slow and redundant plot wise and I felt like he author even in four hundred pages managed to make it feel like they were rushing to wrap the story up but didn't know quite where to go, it tied most of the knots up though but left us with an expectation for a sequel with what happens in the last chapter. it was charming and fun to read I enjoyed this book.
thewalkinggirl on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I stayed up way too late reading this.You know those books that make you go "oh, that's how that happened!" about five minutes after you put it down? This is one of those. (Or, it could have been the whole staying up too late thing making me a little slow. Hard to tell sometimes.)Well thought-out world-building and characters provided so many embedded twists and turns that I didn't realize how twisty everything was getting until about halfway through. (Which is fabulous! I hate being able to tell exactly what's going to happen 100 pages in advance.)Both Emily and Stanton are flawed characters -- educable, but flawed. This shows up in terms of Emily's development within the first chapter, when she chooses an immoral act for very pragmatic reasons. Stanton's full character gets revealed later. Despite Emily's incredible naivety about life outside her small community, there were no real TSTL moments -- unless you count the scene where I mentally shouted "feed him!" at her for a good number of pages.The supporting characters are vivid. It's well-paced. Occasional bits of humor mixed in with the angst. No sex, but Witches are open targets for sexual harassment, which made me want to punch a few characters.Overall, I enjoyed it a lot and am looking forward to the next one--where we'll hopefully learn more about Emily's birth parents
cnrivera on LibraryThing 8 months ago
This book was a fantastic read. The pace is great, the characters are engaging, and the magical system is interesting. The romance between the two main characters doesn't overshadow the story, and there's action to spare. Emily Edwards is easily one of my favorite heroines. I enjoyed watching her get through a dozen different dilemmas as she makes her way from her little home town to New York City while in the company of Dreadnought Stanton. Their interaction can be quite funny at times--they definitely have chemistry. This is Hobson's first novel, so I can't wait to find out what she has for us next.
allureofbooks on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I picked up this book after seeing it reviewed at The Book Smugglers. The historical fantasy/romance mix has always been one I enjoy - and this novel was certainly no exception. In fact, it might be my new favorite historical fantasy novel. The mixture of great characterization, world-building an plot make it practically perfect in every way. I was intrigued from the beginning - the prologue threw me a little, but once the main storyline started with Emily in Lost Pine, I was hooked. She was a great character to get to know - not perfect and not fully formed. She had a lot of growth throughout the novel, and that is something I always enjoy reading. Actually, all the characters had layers, especially Dreadnought (unfortunate name that somehow fits him anyway). Although he gives you plenty of reasons to hate him at the beginning of the story, I could never quite pull it off. And as things progress, his background and personality come out and make him very complicated and real...I loved him by the end. He is not your typical hero. The world that unfolds throughout the novel is an intriguing one, I loved every aspect of it. Same goes with the plot - there was a lot of action and a lot of intensity. The few breaks from the action give the characters a chance to interact - there was never any point where I was bored with the story. Another thing I love is that things more or less wrap up at the end of the book. It is the beginning of the series, so a new conflict is referred to at the end...but the main plot of this story is wrapped up. If you aren't intrigued enough with the book to continue with the next one, you'll get a fulfilling ending. I, however, can't imagine reading this and not wanting to continue the series! I fell in love with the characters and their world, and am now anxiously awaiting the sequel, The Hidden Goddess.
ronincats on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Set in 1876, starting out in a settlement in the Sierra Nevadas, and ending up in New York City, this book has a lot going for it in terms of the settings (from Lost Pine, San Francisco, across the country to NY) and the complex systems of magic. The viewpoint character is a young woman/witch who acquires suddenly and unexpectedly a "native star" stone embedded in her hand that absorbs all magic in the vicinity and ends up journeying to NY to find from the magician institute there how to get rid of it.The cover says "this brilliant first novel fuses history, fantasy, and romance." Emily is almost a great character--but the demands of the romance tropes prevent her, I think, from achieving greatness--that and the lack of maturity of the writer. Hobson has great ideas, almost too many as they are crammed in on top of each other so tightly that there is no room to appreciate them. The basic plot itself is fairly formulaic, even as the settings and magic structure are original. The writing can be very pedestrian at times. However, it is a GOOD first novel, and I think this will be an author to keep an eye out for in the future. If she is able to polish her writing craft to match her imagination, she will produce some very good books.
bonbonsandreveries on LibraryThing 8 months 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.
Scarls17 More than 1 year ago
I picked up this book after YA author Susan Dennard recommended it and once I saw it started out in Nevada, I was in! I enjoyed the magic and the characters a lot! The plot takes you all across America and it's a real page turner.
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