The Native Star

The Native Star - M.K. Hobson I need to find more books like this, because 95% rocked. I'm a history buff and am particularly interested in the whole 1850's to 1900's America era (my latest project takes place in 1852, so naturally I've been reading quite a bit about it in the non-fiction arena. Note to folks: if you want to be able to use all the cool Old West trappings, set your story after 1860, because a lot of that stuff wasn't around in the 1850's) and while I think this still qualifies as Steampunk, it's distinctly American and I rather like that.

I loved Stanton from the moment walked on stage and was really glad to see that the things I enjoyed about him remained intact despite his character transformation over the course of the book. Emily took a little while for me to warm up to. She came off as a little whiny initially, but eventually I grew to like her a lot. Caul is appropriately sinister and mad, and I particularly enjoyed his savage stuttering. The underlying love story was satisfying as well.

Things I didn't particularly care for: I was really meh about the whole Aztec sangrimancers angle, with them wanting to destroy the world. I feel slightly less annoyed with it now that I've read the opening of The Hidden Goddess and see that it's more complicated than that, but on the whole I would like to see a more diversified portrayal of Aztec religion in fiction. They seem to be an easy boogy man to slap on things as mindless, border-line psychotic villians and paints Aztec religion with too broad a brush. The mass human sacrifices the Spanish saw when they arrived was the byproduct of the political philosophies of one particular Cihuacoatl that reigned in his position through 4 different Emperors, and these practices weren't widely popular with the people, even in the valley of Mexico itself. Otherwise Cortez and his band of conquistadors wouldn't have encountered so many tribes eager to aid him in overthrowing Tenochtitlan. I'm not entirely sure that the next book is going to go far enough to correct this stereotype, but I'm willing to see where Hobson takes it. I hope it's in a good, diversified and thoughtful direction.