Review: The Native Star

I like weird books.  Not necessarily weird for weird sake but mainstream fiction about sad people having sad sex and going to fourteen funerals is kinda why I couldn’t stomach the thought of an English degree.  The world is a crazy place!  The glass is half full!  And reading is for entertainment.  The first thing the Sumerians wrote about was beer and folk tales so c’mon people!  Let’s have fun with it.

The cover art does not suck, eh?

The Native Star is M.K. Hobson‘s debut novel, published by Ballantine Spectra in August 2010.  I know Hobson’s name from my volunteer work with BroadUniverse, an organization that promotes women writers & editors within the field of science fiction, fantasy, and horror publishing.  (Is that a disclosure?  I do not know the author at all.)  So when I saw this book on the shelf at my local indy bookshop, I read the blurb and said, “Heck yeah! This sounds like fun.”

Set in an alternate 1880s United States, Hobson’s novel follows a backwoods witch and an urbane warlock who must race across the country just ahead of government-funded, ultra-menacing blood sorcerers.  The action is exciting, the magic has meaning, the romance is not sappy or heavy-handed, and Hobson’s language is precise.  She also sets us up for a sequel (The Hidden Goddess, released eight months ago) that did not leave me feeling irritated and oversold.  Instead, I was running to my computer to look up the deets.

My one beef — because no review is complete unless the reviewer complains about something, right? — is that the subplot about Dag was kind of left hanging.  Maybe Hobson covers this in the second book, but that seems unlikely.

Not a fan of fantasy?  I promise you, if you can manage the Lord of the Rings trilogy or Harry Potter heptalogy (the books, NOT the movies!) then this will not be too weird.  And it would make a good film.