Review courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy
I am a “character oriented” kind of girl, to the point where, given witty dialog or a relationship I care about, a story’s premise is entirely irrelevant to my enjoyment (case in point, Aaron Sorkin’s “Sports Night”. What on earth do I care about sports TV? Handsome men with witty dialog? Yes, please.). Given my proclivities, imagine my surprise when I found myself ranking the world building in THE NATIVE STAR
right along side my interest in the hero and heroine. Not that Dreadnaught Stanton and Emily Edwards weren’t great characters, with enough development and surprises to keep me entertained, but they were framed by such an unique premise that their world almost stole the show.
Admittedly, I don’t have a great deal of books in the steampunk genre to draw on when saying THE NATIVE STAR
was “unique”. Dru Paglissotti’s Clockwork Heart is the only one I can think of off-hand (I count the Parasol Protectorate
books as much more fantasy than steampunk, but even if I didn’t, that only raises my grand total to 4 books). What I lack in steampunk reference points, however, I make up for in “American History magical crossovers”. I adore Patricia C. Wrede’s Thirteenth Child, which shows settlers striving to tame a frontier rife with magical creatures and plagues. A world where ordinary people view anyone who attempts to eke out a living without magic as suicidal extremists. While THE NATIVE STAR
takes a different tact (and a different period of American history), it’s world gave me an enjoyment reminiscent of Thirteenth Child, the delight of reading a wholly original reprisal of a familiar period of time.
Supposing there is a magical/mechanical world, THE NATIVE STAR
takes us through the growing pains and natural disasters of that very complex, steampunk industrial revolution. Mass production replaces cottage industry, “patent magics” take the place of home remedies, and native folklore is disregarded in favor of a more academic school of magic. And through this mass of cultural upheaval and economic unrest swirls Dreadnaught Stanton and Emily Edwards, each brilliant products of this fantastical world. Despite representing different sides of the “revolution”, they were far from being cliche. I found Emily and Stanton to be believable and interesting, capable of surprising me (pleasantly and otherwise) without leaving me feeling “tricked”. I know I will eagerly purchase THE HIDDEN GODDESS, the next installment in this series. Not because I want to resolve any plot threads or unravel any puzzles, but more because I can’t wait for another chance to step into the world M. K. Hobson has created.Sexual Content
: As appropriate for the time period, more romance and sensuality than sex. Crudity is only crude by 19th century standards.