Book Review: The Native Star by M.K. Hobson

Title: The Native Star
Author: M.K. Hobson
Series: Native Star #1
ISBN: 978-0-553-59265-8
Publisher: The Random House Publishing Group
Pub. Date: August 2010
Source: Library
Genre: Fantasy/Paranormal/Romance/Historical Fiction/Steampunk
Pages:  387
Rating:  4/5

From Goodreads: 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.

My Reveries and Ramblings:   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.  I give it 4/5.

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The Native Star (Veneficas Americana, #1)

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Book Review: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

Title: Clockwork Angel
Author: Cassandra Clare
Series: Infernal Devices #1
ISBN: 9781416975861
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Pub. Date: 2009
Source: Library
Genre: Fiction/ Supernatural/ YA/ Steampunk/ Victorian / Magic / Paranormal Romance
Pages:  479
Rating:  5/5
From Goodreads:  When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London’s Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.
Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What’s more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa’s power for his own.
Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by–and torn between–two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm’s length…everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world…and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.
My Reveries and Ramblings:  Tessa traveled to England hoping to live with her brother when she is kidnapped by the Dark Sisters.  They convince her to cooperate by telling Tessa that they have her brother.  They force her to awaken her hidden powers-ones she didn’t even know she had.  When the Sisters tell Tessa of their plans to marry her to the Magister, she attempts to escape and is punished.  Will, a shadowhunter investigating a murder, turns up just in time to rescue her.  Tessa is drawn into a world of magic, vampires, werewolves, warlocks, and secret societies.  Tessa is faced with a difficult question: who is she? And is she really human?
This story takes place in a fictional Victorian England-complete with steampunk and supernatural creatures.  I was drawn in from the start.  Cassandra Clare tactfully catches the reader’s attention in the first few chapters, making it almost impossible to put down.
Her characters were all beautifully written.  Tessa is relatable.  I saw a lot of myself in Tessa.  Like Tessa, I love to lose myself in books.  I really enjoyed all the references Tessa and Will both made to other works of literature.  Tessa, like many sixteen-year-old girls, is insecure.  She falls into a deeper hole of doubt when she realizes that she may not be human.  This causes her to question everything she has ever known.         However insecure she was, her values remained strong.  She never waivered from what she knew was right and wrong.  I felt that Tessa had matured throughout the book.
Will is a witty and arrogant shadowhunter.  I loved reading his witty dialogue.  Most of his remarks had me laughing out loud.  I was concerned, though.  It became apparent partially through the book that there is something deeper there.  Something painful and sad.  Almost all the characters notice this about him.  He uses wit, humor, and fighting as defense mechanisms.  He even keeps Tessa at a distance.
Jem is the only person Will seems to open up the most with-which isn’t a lot actually.  Jem is such a sweetheart.  His character was heart wrenching to watch (read).  I have to say-Jem had the best inspirational quotes.  He’s so cute ❤
I LOVED this book.  I was never bored.  I loved everything about it-the characters, the story, the romance, etc.  I recommend you buy this book!!! It’s definitely worth re-reading over and over again.

*Spoiler Alert * If you have already read this book  then highlight the area below…Those of you who haven’t read Clockwork Angel, you have been warned.

Okay, so I can’t decide who I like better: Will or Jem.  I love Will-his carefree attitude and his wit are hilarious to read.  But he puts up so many walls that it’s so hard to tell what’s going on in his head.  One moment it’s like he loves Tessa and then the next he’s being a jerk.  At the end when he tells her they can’t get married? What’s with that? He doesn’t seem like he loves her but then sometimes he does-I’m so confused with him.  Jem on the other hand is the kind of guy that in real life is my type.  I find Will SO attractive but he’s just not my type-maybe my fictional self’s type (if I ever wrote one), but not mine.  Jem is the perfect gentleman and so optimistic which is so refreshing compared to Will’s I-don’t-give-a-damn approach to life.  
I was shocked when that twist at the end came.  That was just sooooo unexpected.  At that point, I was racing to see what happened next.  How could Nate do that to his sister? And that last scene with Will and Magnus…I want to know what happens!!  It’s going to be torturous waiting for the next book.  
What did you think?

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Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, #1)

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