Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Native Star

by M. K. Hobson

Grade: Good
Story: Emily Edwards gets a magic stone stuck in her hand. Smack in the middle of her palm. So she sets off with a pompous Warlock named Dreadnought Stanton  in order to get it out and get back to helping her blind father and marrying her rich admirer. (Who, incidentally, is her rich admirer because she just put an extremely powerful love spell on him...)

Well, this hit the spot. It's always difficult to start new books in the summer, I find, and especially when I'm working full time. So I need something cool, and easy to read, and hopefully with romance. I know, I know. I always complain about romance bugging me, but I seem to need some of it when I'm in this sort of mood. Just so long as it is the right type. This was, and there were a couple of key elements that made it so:
--Dreadnought Stanton has a weird name. I mean, Dreadnought? Not at all romantic.
--Stanton was never once described as handsome or sexy or even really described at all. True, his green eyes were mentioned a couple times, but not until a ways through the book, and they were never said to be electrifying or sexy or deep pools, or any such thing.
--Emily was feminine. She dressed up as a man once, and was not really at all convincing. And she had no particular desire to go about wearing trousers and shooting guns and all sorts of things. It was rather refreshing. (Not that I dislike the other kind of girl, but they seem to be more frequently found these days, so it was nice to read about someone different.)
--It took a while to happen. One of the most important things.
And also just in general I liked the two of them. They both had decided faults. Emily was actually prejudiced against Native Americans, which is something you do NOT see in books very often. And Stanton was really rather stuck up, and not just in an attractive Mr. Darcy sort of way. Plus his backstory! Cool! I won't explain more, because, "Spoilers!" (Said in a lovely River Song way.)

However, I'm not sure whether this is really a book that will last in my memory very long. Normally books that I read at this speed and enjoy this much would be "To Own", but not really this one.
Thoughts on this:
--Apparently the sequel isn't as good. Often this is fine. One can simply ignore the sequels and pretend they are bad fan fiction, or something similar that doesn't really count. But in this case I couldn't. Perhaps because I felt like the romance needed more validation, and there were some definite unanswered questions? My enjoyment of this book reminded me quite a lot of Poison Study, especially since I didn't much like the sequels for Poison Study either. But PS on the other hand, I own and reread and care not a jot that I don't like the sequels.

But all in all, jolly good. I think I may be able to say the historical fantasy is one of my favourite genres of all time. Like Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, and the Bartimaeus trilogy, the combination of emerging science and old magic and some of the awesomest clothes ever is ... well, awesome.

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