Here is this week’s 52 Books in 52 Weeks post…
The Native Star
by M.K. Hobson
This is an e-book that I was given as an ARC prior to its release date. The author thought I might be interested in it – and she was right! The Native Star has a lot of elements that I enjoy from a good book: a well-built world, a romance (that in this case isn’t ever taken very far) between the main couple, and a bit of a mystery.
The mystery isn’t really a “mystery” by definition. It’s more just plot elements that aren’t flat out stated (because they’re the bad guy’s plan and telling would ruin the story’s surprise). However, the very beginning of the book sets up the ending, and if you’re anything like me, you get so immersed in the story that by the end, you’ve essentially forgotten about the opening.
Going backwards in my checklist: the romance in this story is not a surprise. From almost the first chapter (rather than the prologue) you can guess which character the heroine will end up with. However, that does not make the end result any less rewarding. I was rooting for the match long before either character was, for instance. It is also a believable pairing, rather than something for convienence only. They also stick pretty closely to the historical era in what would be acceptable for guy-girl interactions, which I appreciated.
And then the world-building. I’m not as familiar with the actual historical setting (Old West, essentially) so I can’t judge on a lot of the accuracy of setting. I can tell you, though, that the magic and its related subcultures are well developed. There are rules for magic which make sense (once you learn them), and as the story goes on you get a very clear image of how the whole system works. (I doubt we know all of it, but we know as much as the characters in the forefront of the story do, which is more believable anyway.)
If I have a complaint about this book, it’s that the final fight moves a bit faster than I did. I had a touch of trouble keeping up with what happened. Some of that may be that the main character wasn’t sure what was happening, but there were sections I had to read twice to fully understand the situation.
I recommend this book for those who like historical fantasies, even if you don’t think you’d like the setting. I imagined this as being like a Western, and Westerns are not my preferred genre. However, the focus for this story is more on the fantasy part, and I enjoyed it more than I had expected to.