M.K. Hobson creates a fascinating combination of the old West and magic in her novel, The Native Star, portraying the realities of the late 1800s, its cultures, its cities, its horses and trains, and even its wars with just one vital addition, magic. She creates a fascinating cast of characters, from rich denizens of Los Angeles to tribal villagers, with just enough of both old world and new to make them vividly real.
University educated warlock Dreadnought Stanton finds himself saddled with awkward country witch Emily Edwards in a race against time to save the universe. As they speed from one end of the country to the other, Emily learns about different types of magic, with delightfully well-thought-out rules and wonderfully confused questions reflecting much of modern life in the light of the magical. In Emily’s world, not only are science and religion at odds, but so are each with magic, adding a third point of contention to civilized, and uncivilized life. Magic practitioners will either be revered as the hope of the nation, or burned at the stake as the causers of all ills. Valuable artifacts might be captured and studied, stolen and used, or spirited away for safekeeping. But which is the right reaction when Emily tries to tie her long-dead mother’s inheritance with the future world’s plans and the precious stone she holds in her hand?
Of course, Emily is learning about another magic too as she travels, and the bonds of true love. But the question remains, of two loves, which one is true, and indeed, which can be true?
The exciting conclusion solves this mystery and more, bringing a pleasant sense of completeness to the tale. But other secrets lie in the eaves, waiting, I hope, for a second book in the series. Certainly these characters and their world merit more words, and the author has imbued them with such a convincing reality they’re sure to stay in the reader’s mind until book two comes out. Horses, trains and biomechanical flying machines will people my dreams, and the landscapes of late 1800s USA will form a beautifully described background waiting for more.