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The Native Star (Veneficas Americana #1)

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3.56  ·  Rating Details ·  3,279 Ratings  ·  476 Reviews
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.
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Paperback, 387 pages
Published August 31st 2010 by Spectra Books
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(showing 1-30)
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Tatiana
May 22, 2011 Tatiana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those looking for an adventure filled with romance and magic in a historical setting
Recommended to Tatiana by: Jillian -always aspiring-
The Native Star is for me what (I assume) Soulless was for many of my dear Goodreads friends - a romance wrapped up in a steampunky adventure. I thought Soulless was a trite fanfic stuffed with ripping bodices and an occasional gadget or two, but The Native Star, IMO, is the real deal, a well thought-out and original alternative universe romp.

The story takes place in 1870s AU America. In this America witches and warlocks stopped being persecuted and now are a legitimate strata of the American s
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Flannery
I get ridiculously animated when I am excited about books and boy, you should’ve seen me explaining this book to people I encountered in real life who asked me what I was reading. “There’s this woman who lives in backwoods California in the late 1800s but in, like, a slightly different universe with all sorts of magic. So she and her pa, who isn’t really related to her, are the local witch and warlock who create hexes and spells for people and their business is in trouble from a mail order compa ...more
Emily May
May 13, 2012 Emily May rated it really liked it
Recommended to Emily May by: Tatiana
Shelves: fantasy, steampunk, 2012

The goodreads and Amazon descriptions for The Native Star promise so many elements that it's hard to believe the novel could possibly deliver them all successfully: historical fiction, fantasy and magic, steampunk, western, and romance. And yet, this book is one of the rare cases when an idea that crosses so many genres and brings in many different aspects actually works well.

Emily Edwards is the local witch in a small town in California. The year is 1876, but this isn't quite the past that his
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mark monday
May 07, 2012 mark monday rated it did not like it
EH? EH! i tried to like this one, i really did. but after the sorta well-done and atmospheric prologue, it became so increasingly aggravating that my eyes felt almost fixed in their rolled-upwards position. i gave up on page 210. the magic in this alternate version of the western is rather interesting - particularly the idea of credomancy. but everything else... Dear God, make it stop! an insufferable heroine who is chock-full of uninteresting motivations and corny pluck, who one minute spits ou ...more
Katyana
This book is really tough for me to review.

Let's start with this: the world was fabulous. It was unique and fascinating. Flavors of steampunk, and the varieties of magic were cool. So this author gets an A for world-building.

Now let's chat about everything else. First and foremost:

What the fuck is going on in this book?

It is strange to reach the end of a book and feel like you understand less about what is going on than you did in the first couple of chapters. I think that the combination of the
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Megan Baxter
Aug 26, 2013 Megan Baxter rated it liked it
Native Star is set in 19th century America, an America which is vaguely steampunky, but much more magical. Both sides in the Civil War used magic, which is presently divided into three schools: animancy (that may not be right, but it's close), traditional magic using herbs and things from the earth. Credomancy, which uses belief in magic and its abilities to power said abilities. And sangrimancy, blood magic.

Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the recent changes in Goodreads
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Catie
Oct 12, 2011 Catie rated it liked it
Recommended to Catie by: Flannery, Tatiana
3 1/2 stars

This is an absolutely enjoyable ride that will appeal to fans of urban fantasy or maybe even historical romance. It is best described as an alternate history, western, magical and mystical steampunk romance with a side order of zombies. Initially that made me almost overcome with excitement, like a kid given free rein* of the pic n’ mix aisle. Imagine all the possibilities…all that sugary goodness, in endless varieties, and mixed together!! I’ll take one of these and one of those and
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Miriam
Aug 10, 2010 Miriam rated it liked it
Shelves: adventure, fantasy
Emily is a simple, marginally-educated country witch struggling to make a living in a world that is in the process of shifting to more modern, mass-produced magics. When she investigates a problem with zombie miners and ends up with the mysterious stone in her hand, sorcerer Dreadnaught Stanton (yes, really. Practically everyone but Emily has ridiculous names) persuades her to accompany him to San Francisco to consult specialists there. But even once they've survived Indians and Abberancies to r ...more
Vinaya
When I first heard about The Native Star, I expected it to be an epic fantasy tale in the sweeping style of the Lord of the Rings, or the Wheel of Time. Oh boy, was I in for a surpise! It's like setting out to watch The Last Airbender and instead ending up at a screening of A Knight's Tale.

Jillian's review first inspired me to pick this book up. I read the review, I read the blurb, I got excited. However, I was still expecting it to be a weighty tome, along the lines of "thou shalt fulfill thy
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Amanda
Dec 22, 2010 Amanda rated it really liked it
Shelves: blog
Take a pinch of the Wild West, a dollop of whimsy, just a dash of romance, and a heaping helping of magic and you apparently get a helluva good time!

On the surface, The Native Star is fairly formulaic. There's the Austen-esque dynamic of the stubborn and headstrong (but always proper beneath it all) woman who finds herself at odds with a pompous and equally headstrong jerk (who remains, fundamentally, a gentleman beneath it all). I have to admit that I'm a sucker for this dynamic because nothing
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Gail Carriger
Review pertains to an uncorrected galley given me to blurb by the editor.

A delightful Gaslight Fantasy romp set slightly later in time than The Parasol Protectorate series and in, as you may have gathered, the heathen Americas. It features parochial upstart witch, Emily Edwards, and the deliciously named Dreadnaught Stanton.

I enjoyed this book immensely. It took me a little while to get into it and I had a few problems with info-dumps, but it takes A LOT for me to even finish a book these days.
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Jo
May 22, 2011 Jo rated it really liked it
Shelves: e

Much to my granddad’s disgust, Westerns aren’t usually my thing. I think in my life I’ve seen two Westerns.
Fieval Goes West and Back to the Future 3.
See?
Told you.
Not my thing.
But, I tell you, if this book was made into a film (with Adrien Brody as Dreadnought, naturally) I would be the first in line… riding a horse and pretending I was a witch and wearing lovely lacey gloves.

When the lovely Flannery suggested a readalong for this book I was a bit dubious. I wasn’t a massive fan of Ms Carrige
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Felicia
I really loved this book! It was a Steam-Punk=Fantasy-Western-Romance hybrid, which...you don't see every day? haha. I really liked the characters, the magic system was quite interesting and the romance didn't make me roll my eyes, it was actually sweet. HIGHLY recommended!!
Lemon
Apr 06, 2011 Lemon rated it it was ok
Shelves: western, fantasy, sci-fi
I like Westerns, magic, and romance very much… so why didn’t this book do it for me? I’ve been mulling over my lack of enthusiasm for a little bit, and I think it mostly comes down to poor characters. They behaved in ways that struck me as super convenient, clichéd, and/or unrealistic.

I found Emily Edwards, the heroine, very tiresome – her and her foolish assumptions and pointless tirades and confrontations. I liked her imperfections at the beginning because I thought they were actually imperfe
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Allison (The Allure of Books)
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 g
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Stephanie Swint
Jan 08, 2013 Stephanie Swint rated it really liked it
Surprisingly good. I downloaded the second immediately. So far not that impressed with it, but the first was good YA. Review coming soon...
Erica (daydreamer)
The Native Star is a breathless, intriguing adventure that drew me in utterly with its magical allure, and historical appeal. It shone to me so brightly, shining brilliant radiance into my mind and soul, pulling me straight into this old western tale, suffused with old as time magic. Hobson expertly crafted a truly enlightening tale, weaving history and science and the old west with intrigue and magic and a dash of romance. I am truly astounded with how amazingly well this story was told and plo ...more
Krystle
Sep 14, 2010 Krystle rated it really liked it
Here’s something I haven’t had for a while: A GOOD BOOK! Amazing, huh? I just had this burning need to read this after glancing over at so many positive reviews and with my current reads not ending up so great, the urge built up more.

This book rocked my socks. I love how feisty the main character, Emily, is. She totally doesn’t sit back like a weak, passive protagonist. She speaks up and quite plainly too. Emily might panic but she keeps her head together and is always trying to find a solution
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Katrina Passick Lumsden
It's been over 24 hours since I finished reading Native Star...and I have no idea what to say. It was...wow, I just don't know. Perhaps if I use enough ellipses, the words will come to me...

Nope, nothin' doin'. I didn't really like this book, but gave it two stars because it really is just OK. What would have made it better? Well, a little less condescending hatred of science would have been nice. Oh, and a decent female protagonist. This has proven to be, by far, my biggest personal hurdle in r
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Kelly
May 15, 2011 Kelly rated it really liked it
The Native Star is a fantasy set in a West that never quite was: the West of tall tales, dime novels, and cheesy patent-medicine ads. M.K. Hobson realizes this mood perfectly, peoples the setting with memorable characters, and spins a compelling and well-thought-out plot.

When we first meet the heroine, Emily Edwards, she’s preparing a love spell to ensnare a local lumberman. The new patent-magic companies have cut into Emily’s business as a witch, and she can see no other way but marriage to kee
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Heidi
Jun 11, 2012 Heidi rated it liked it
Recommended to Heidi by: Flannery
3.5 Stars.

You know that expression “it’s not the destination, it’s the journey”? Yeah…whoever first said it was obviously trying to make themselves feel better about that awesome road trip they had on the way to stay with their boring Aunt Mildred for the summer. Because honestly, when it comes to reading, I like both the destination and the journey to rock my socks off. I want the payoff, and I can’t help but feeling that while I enjoyed the lead up in M.K. Hobson’s The Native Star very much, I
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K.
So steampunk, huh?

I've heard there are better examples of the sub-genre than MK Hobson's The Native Star but as its my first time venturing into the unknown, I suppose its better I am gently eased into it, rather than thrown right in. The idea of steampunk never really interested me. I think I developed quite an aversion to it actually. I like old school magic, and the concept of merging that with innovative gadgetry was just a turn off.

But I liked it, relatively speaking. The plot is straight
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Althea Ann
May 13, 2011 Althea Ann rated it liked it
I enjoyed reading this book, but I felt like I was enjoying it in spite of myself.
It was so, so, so like Cherie Priest's Dreadnought (& Boneshaker) in tone, plot elements and setting that I could almost have believed it was a new book from Priest - except that I don't think she'd use such a trite romance as a driving plot device. (I really dislike the whole romance trope of "I hate you - but wait, that means I'm actually in love with you!" People just don't work like that.)
It also, several t
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Kelli Lee
Dec 29, 2010 Kelli Lee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Urban Fantasy fans looking for something different and everyone else!
Recommended to Kelli by: myself
Simply stated, I adore The Native Star.

Personally, I detest anything wild, wild west, yet M.K. Hobson somehow managed to draw me into this era with such ease. Aside from the western era, this book has it all (sounds like Stefon from SNL recommending a NYC club): magic, adventure, human fire hydrant people, Teddy Graham people (Just joshing, or am I; you'll have to read for yourself), whimsical romance, steampunk; the author even throws in reality is what you make it mumbo-jumbo, which to some i
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Donna
Nov 29, 2010 Donna rated it it was ok
I liked the setting and the timeframe, and for the most part I enjoyed the prickly, pragmatic heroine. The overall concept of the three schools of magic was also great.

The first half of the book hummed along fairly well, but after that the story started to feel hectic and messy. My biggest disappointment was that by the end, the character-driven drama got a little lost in a soup of gadgets, magical terminology, and last-minute antagonists.
colleen the convivial curmudgeon
3.75

When a book is compared to Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, I expect not just an alt-history with magic, but a lushness of prose and ambiance - which I didn't quite find here.

I was also thrown, a bit, by the description referring to it as a tale of the Wild, Wild West - which, for me, conjures images of dusty towns and tumbleweeds and saloons and gunfights more than a small, rural town in the frontier somewhere. But that's more on me than the book.

But while what I got wasn't quite what I w
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Isamlq
Jun 21, 2011 Isamlq rated it it was amazing
A western witchpunk fantasy.

Curious yet? What a mouthful, right? Immediately after putting it down, I had this big grin on my face. It was fun; it was exciting but what had I just read exactly? "Western witchpunk fantasy" is perfectly apt because there are witches and warlocks. There's blood magic, spirit magic then faith magic. There are doors to other dimensions and zombie miners. What a splendid surprise this was!

This story is just what readers impatient with today's current crop of books
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Steph Su
Mar 23, 2011 Steph Su rated it liked it
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 boo
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snowplum
Jun 23, 2014 snowplum rated it liked it
Perhaps you're searching GR user reviews because you can't figure out whether this is a romance novel or not. The answer is.... sort of, but not really. Clearly in the "no" category are the facts that there are no sex scenes and that there's a good bit more depth about magic and more adventure and violence than you'll find in most romance novels. Skewing a bit toward the "yes" category, however, is the nature of the relationship building. This is a very traditional fight-until-they-admit-they-lo ...more
Sherwood Smith
Sep 01, 2010 Sherwood Smith added it
Shelves: fantasy
I ripped through this novel in a day, sneaking back to it every chance I could get.

Emily Edwards is a Witch, actually pretty much of a hedge witch, in a just-past-Civil War frontier town of Lone Pine, one universe over from our own. Desperate to save her old Pap and herself from starvation, she overcomes her better judgment to cast a love spell on a man who is decent, kind, successful, and strong.

But . . . right after she does it, an irritating Warlock named Dreadnought Stanton appears and scold
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M.K. Hobson recently decided to follow a time-honored authorial tradition and become a bitter recluse. She swore off all social media and left her website to go to seed. At the moment, she exists only as a voice on short fiction podcasts such as Podcastle and Cast of Wonders. She leavens the tedium of her vastly expanded free time with misanthropy, paranoia, and weight lifting.
More about M.K. Hobson...

Other Books in the Series

Veneficas Americana (4 books)
  • The Hidden Goddess (Veneficas Americana, #2)
  • The Warlock's Curse (Veneficas Americana, #3)
  • The Unsteady Earth (Veneficas Americana #4)

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