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Witchmark (Witchmark #1)

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  432 Ratings  ·  134 Reviews
C. L. Polk arrives on the scene with Witchmark, a stunning, addictive fantasy that combines intrigue, magic, betrayal, and romance.

In an original world reminiscent of Edwardian England in the shadow of a World War, cabals of noble families use their unique magical gifts to control the fates of nations, while one young man seeks only to live a life of his own.

Magic marked M
Kindle Edition, 272 pages
Published June 19th 2018 by
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Elise (TheBookishActress)
You know when you read really good fanfiction, and yes, you know that there might be a few tropes, but you are just so invested in everything within the story, and you want to praise it forever and send it to all your friends? That’s how I feel about this book. This has all the good qualities of really good fanfiction [well-used tropes, story beats we can sense but still aren’t bored by, excellent and likable characters] and then all the good qualities of a good fantasy novel [great worldbuildin ...more
Jun 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Witchmark is a novel I find very difficult to sum up, because it's one of the few books which are many different things at the same time - a sweet m/m romance, a paranormal, a murder mystery, an exploration of class privilege, a novel about the consequences of war - and manage to develop all those aspects.

I have to say that the first few chapters weren't exactly easy to get into. I was a bit confused by the world at first, I didn't understand what aether was supposed to be or what was the differ
Nov 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An amazing book; an extraordinary first book.

Enthralling, fast-paced, and romantic, Witchmark unveils a fascinating world. Polk writes with assured ease. I can't wait for her next book!
Y'all, please read this book. Cool magic and happy gays.

s/o to for sending this to me.
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
Jun 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2018
I have to admit that the stunning cover of this book was what first caught my eye. Then, I read the blurb and my weakness for a world that is like our, but with magic won me over. Just imagine a world that is a reminiscent of Edwardian England, where a war has been going on, between Aeland and Laneer. Miles Singer is a doctor, but he is also born with powers that have destined him to be a slave to his family. A fate he didn't want, so he ran away, to use his skills for healing. He fought in the ...more
Sep 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
A lovely adventure/romance featuring a shell-shocked veteran working in a hospital in the wake of a devastating war, and the mysterious and aloof being who is here to investigate the disappearance of dead souls. Very strong atmosphere and strong characters (sister/brother relationship ftw), and an intriguing magic system.
Oct 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Delightful magic, an intriguing mystery, a well-shaped world, sweet M/M romance, a sexy shaving scene, and bicycle chases. It's a good one.
May 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing

Witchmark is so refreshingly different from everything else I’ve read lately. It pulls elements from all sorts of familiar story types in fantasy and yet it feels like something completely new. Fans of urban fantasy might like the murder mystery plot and all the investigating that goes along with it. There’s also a strong romantic side-plot which I adored. Fans of
May 31, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: for-pleasure
Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from my place of employment.

2.5? Maybe?

My main problem with this is that it reads like fan fiction (I'm saying this as someone who has read more 100k+ fics than I could possibly count). When you start reading a fic, you already know who the characters are, so the author only has to give minimal development of their personalities and motivations, as well as the world they live in, because it's assumed that you already know. I feel like that's what happen
Jun 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A really lovely, lyrical romantic fantasy novel with an Edwardian feel and a truly distinctive magical system. I was lucky enough to get an ARC, and I enjoyed it so much! It isn't fast-moving, but it's really lush, gorgeously written and full of emotion.
May 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Mon avis en Français

My English review

I must say that when I saw the cover and when I saw that this novel was staging witches, I did not look for more and I plunged into it.

The world in which Miles lives is not easy, especially when someone has powers. He has been running away from his family for a long time because he is hungry for freedom and he hopes to be able to exercise quietly as a doctor. However, his life will change radically when he crosses Hunter’s road when one of his patients is poi
That cover though. I’m powerless against that cover and all the magical steampunk romance it promises. Take my money!
Megan Lyons
Apr 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
A strong 3 1/2 stars

I really liked this. It was a fun historical fantasy. It felt like a modern urban fantasy procedural, but with a slightly historical time frame. It took place in an alternative world, but during WWI, which gave it a mildly historical feel. The characters, and world building were well done. The queer romance was really fun and engaging. It just worked on so many levels. I was engaged right from the start, and couldn't put it down. It is a bit of genre fiction for sure, but has
The Nerd Daily
Jul 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Holly Angus

Our protagonist Sir Christopher Hensley goes by the alias Miles Singer, in order to escape his discovery and continue living a mundane life as a psychiatrist in a veteran’s hospital. His country has been at war; one which Miles has seen first-hand. He went to war to escape his destiny as Sir Christopher, but when he returned home, he couldn’t leave his past behind. When his patients start murdering their families, Miles has to quickly
Jul 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Every so often I read a book that reminds me just how good MM fantasy can be and this is one of them. Witchmark has flavors of steampunk, fantasy, and some Fullmetal Alchemist-like plot elements which result in a very enjoyable magic mystery conspiracy novel. The characters are all fully realized, strengths and flaws alike. The mystery was a little predictable, but ultimately satisfying with that touch of horror that demands both the characters and the readers have 'skin in the game.' The romanc ...more
Annemieke / A Dance with Books
Witchmark is the first installment to a fantasy, clearly inspired by Edwardian England. While this book certainly has its flaws, I ended up falling for it very hard.

My falling hard for this book translated to reading it in one sitting. Luckily my toddler slept on and on and on during his nap but I’m not sure if I could have taken having to put this down during those last 100 pages. At that point there was just no stopping.

What I really liked about this book was the inclusion of the veterans an
Jun 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Hmm, I enjoyed this one!

A story that starts off rather quiet, at times even domestic, until a few isolated incidents- a doctor trying to heal a troubling delusion shared by his patients who are soldiers returning from war, the apparent murder of a leisure column journalist, and a fae man trying to figure out why the souls of an entire country are no longer reaching the land of the dead that his people guard- converge in a relentless sequence of betrayals and reveals for the last third or so of t
Hélène Louise
(I thank Netgalley and Macmillan-Tor/Forge for sending me the ARC in exchange for my honest review)

This book was just a perfect read for me! I loved it so much that I've already pre-ordered the paper book (no hard cover version, a shame, but such a magnificent cover!) and will certainly reread it before reading the next one.

The atmosphere was great, with a definitive European world war vibe in an imaginary fantasy world. A little bit like steampunk, but... without the steampunk. There is definit
Taryn Pierson
At the beginning of the year, I had a little Christmas money burning a hole in my pocket, and I used it to preorder some of my most-anticipated books of 2018. It turned out to be super fun to get books in the mail, especially books that I was so excited to read. I still like to get new releases from my library, but due to their limited budget, there’s often a long wait for library copies of highly anticipated releases, so it’s a special treat to get them delivered right to my door on release day ...more
May 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-release
If you’re a fan of Martha Wells’ work, you may enjoy this debut fantasy novel with a gay lead.

Miles Singer is in hiding. He ran away from his family, escaping a dehumanizing future as a walking magical battery. But if witches like him aren’t bonded to the elite weather mages, then they’ll be carted off to an asylum for sure and never heard from again.

Nobody knows about Miles magic or who his family really is. He values his freedom, and he’s careful to keep it. He’s working as a doctor in a veter
All Things Urban Fantasy
WITCHMARK is a sweet story full of magic, bicycles, romance, and mystery. It'll delight fans of Edwardian England, though it's based in an alternate world where the war between Aeland and Laneer impacted lives and changed fates. I was immediately drawn into WITCHMARK as it jumps straight into the main mystery.

However, my attention began to drift a few chapters in. There's very little description or buildup in WITCHMARK. Dialogue is relied upon for both character development and worldbuilding. Te
Nthato Morakabi
Jan 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
I must admit that the first few pages started off quite slow as the introduction of Dr. Miles Singer and Mr. Hunter seemed to include all these unnecessary details that did nothing more than paint pictures rather than tell the story. This form of writing was present throughout the whole book and took a while to get used to. Nonetheless as the story began to progress, getting to know Miles Singer and his amazing healing ability, this "historical" fantasy/mystery novella started to gleam like star ...more
May 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Stina by: Carrie Vaughn
Book #38 for 2018
The Messy Middle Summer Reading Challenge: A mystery
The Goodreads Summer Reading Challenge: Take Pride - Read a book written by an LGBTQIA author or that features an LGBTQIA character
My Personal Reading Challenge:
- A book published this year
- A book you picked based on its cover
Possible OFB Summer Bingo Squares:
- A Book Published This Year
- A Book with a Mystery
- A Book by a Female Author
- A Book with Non-Human Characters
- A Book with a One-Word Title
- A Book with a Blue Cover

Feb 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Disclaimer: I received this book as a free ARC from Copperfish Books, where I'm currently employed.

This book was an absolute delight. It was like a banana split on a hot day.

I have to be honest, I didn't expect this book to be as good as it was. I mean, c'mon. You can't tell me there's a book out there that's a soft sci-fi and a vintage-style mystery and a gay romance and it's vaguely steam-punk and it covers WWI-era culture and battle fatigue and the Golden Age of Mystery style mysteries seamle
LAPL Reads
Jun 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Dr. Miles Singer is a man with secrets. First, his name isn’t really Miles Singer, it is Sir Christopher Hensley. He is a child from an aristocratic family of magic users who are deeply entrenched in Aeland’s government. While it is true that he is a doctor and a veteran, however he was never meant to be either. He was meant for a life of servitude to his sister, acting as a booster or battery, for her magical power. So he ran away, hiding his magical abilities and noble background, to pursue a ...more
Jun 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I don't think I can write a long review yet, because my thoughts aren't really in order, but I absolutely loved this. I was eagerly anticipating it for months, and it met and exceeded my high expectations. I think it might be one of the best books I've ever read - a new classic of queer fantasy.

I'm primarily a romance reader these days, and I'm always a little hesitant to read a book that isn't marketed as romance but features queer characters, (view spoiler)
Jun 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-reads
‘Magic was rare, a dangerous curse. It brought no one good fortune.’

This debut novel by C.L Polk introduces us to Miles Singer, a gifted surgeon lately returned home from a WWI-like war. Miles lives in Aeland, currently at war with the kingdom of Laneer. His ‘gift’ is the ability to wield magic, specifically to help with his healing work. The problem is he must keep this a secret or risk personal disgrace and the threat of being locked up in an asylum.

Polk builds a fascinating world to set her s
katayoun Masoodi
Jul 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: ebook, fantasy
2 1/2 stars (or 2) really, but since alot of people that i like, really liked this and since there was alot of great reviews don't want to change the average. But i didn't find the people interesting or very like able, not that they were unlike able either, they were just bland and not defined. i must say i didn't like the writing all that much either, the world was interesting, but told in that voice and not detailed, it didn't add to anything.
i will try to stick to my resolution of only readi
Jul 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: queer, sf
I very much enjoyed this alternate world gaslamp fantasy-mystery book! The lines of oppressiona nd privilege may be shifted from those of our own, but the difficulties faced by Miles, a runaway nobleman who uses his outlawed magic in secret rather than consenting to have his power enslaved to his sister for the use of the privileged, meets a mysterious and attractive man named Tristan Hunter, who joins him on his investigation of several magically mysterious occurrences Miles finds while treatin ...more
Jun 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
Prilično dobro napisan prvenac. Donekle ponavlja motive romana Sorcerer to the Crown i napisan je u suštini na talasu društveno angažovane fantazije, ali uspeva da ne bude iritantan - ako već nije preterano originalan. Sve u svemu, sasvim solidno štivo koje se lepo može pročitati za jedno popodne, ali ni u kom slučaju nešto nezaobilazno.

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