The Native Star (M. K. Hobson)

The Native Star is M. K. Hobson‘s first novel, and the first in a series.

Emily Edwards is a witch in a version of the late 19th century USA that is full with magic and warlocks. She has spent her life in a small town, practicing her spells and healing, when Dreadnought Stanton comes along – a studied warlock who wants to educate her and her father on the theory of magic. Emily is less than overjoyed but when there’s a problem with the zombies in the close-by mine, she accepts Dreadnought’s help. Unfortunately things go a bit wrong and Emily ends up with a huge rock in her hand – a rock that absorbs all magic. For a lack of better options, she decides to go to San Francisco with Dreadnought, in the hopes that the university of magic there can help her remove the rock.

I enjoyed The Native Star. The world building is nice, it’s an interesting new genre – Hobson calls it bustlepunk (because everything’s punk) and Emily is a good heroine. But her romance with Dreadnought left me completely cold and I generally never got really emotionally invested.

For me, reading The Native Star was like talking to someone you have a lot in common with, so you should get along just peachy. But even though you’re interests are the same, say you both love fantasy, they will be the world’s biggest Harry Potter fan while you just thought Harry Potter was okay, while you love George R. R. Martin and they thought it was too big to even start. And also, boring. And so any conversation dies within a few minutes, while you desperately grope for new topics.

For anybody who has never had that happen to them (lucky you!) or can’t translate it to the book world, it means that there is nothing wrong with the book, or with me, but the combination of the two of us just didn’t work.

Maybe if I was a little more interested in the Wild West. Maybe if Hobson had focussed more on the changes in daily life that such omnipresent magic would make. Maybe if I found Dreadnought a little more attractive. Then it might have worked. But in this case there was just no spark that brought the book from “nice reading” to “holy shit how great!”

Summarising: If you find it interesting, do read it. I’m sure that people who are not me will enjoy the hell out of this book.

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