Woo boy! Where to start? I guess the beginning is as good a place as any. I finished the first chapter before I knew what hit me. It was an absolutely brilliant beginning, it sucked me right into Hobson's 19th century America and made me hungry for more.
And she delivered. Some of the finest world building I've read this year. Quite possibly top 10 ever. Hobson is referring to this as "bustlepunk" I can't tell the difference between this and Steampunk and I really don't care, I think defining differences would be splitting hairs.
Dreadnought Stanton, Wizard. Oh what a cringe inducing name! I saw this and thought I was going to have to read pages of over done silliness; nope. I won't spoil it for you, but the origins of Dreadnought's name are explained and it made me smile.
Emily Edwards, Witch. Our girl Emily has real potential. My only complaint is that I don't think she has lived up to it in this book. But then I think, is that really such a bad thing? The fact that Emily didn't complete her journey in this book can be a good thing for the series (2nd book The Hidden Goddess - March 2011). Reflecting on Emily I thought that by the end of the book everything was happening to her. She didn't have much control and wasn't in charge of her own destiny. This did not ruin the book for me, Emily being a pawn was true to the story. It may not have been what I wanted for her, but it was logical. With the bonus that it gives us lots of material for the series.
The relationship between Emily & Dreadnought was brilliant. I can't think of a single word I would change.
But that brings me to a word I would change, Hemacolludinatious. This one word smacked of deus ex machina to me, and I found this one scene regrettable. It bothers me so much, because it was a singular wrong note in the story.
I did find some interesting political commentary in the book that I think could apply as true today. But if you're reading for enjoyment only it's very easy to keep it as just part of the story. You don't have to worry about being beat over the head with the author's politics.
I set the bar very high for a 5 star review or an A+ grade. To earn either of those a book has to change the way I think. It has to add something to my life that alters my viewpoint. That being said, I highly recommend The Native Star to anyone and everyone who enjoys a story with Fantastic or Magical elements. 4.5 Stars a solid A. I'll leave you with my favorite line from The Native Star.
Do not make the best the enemy of the good.