Another visit to the weird west. In The Native Star, M. K. Hobson gives us a fantasy steampunk old west with everyday magic and biomechanical devices competing for our attention. The story centers on a witch and a warlock as half-rivals, half-allies on a cross-country quest to determine the nature of a magic artifact and save their lives. Hobson even gives us some romance to round out the story.

Official description:

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.


Official Site and Excerpts

M. K. Hobson’s site has a section dedicated to The Native Star, in which she shares several excerpts, links to other reviews, and a character guide.