Book Reviews

Novel Review: Witchmark by C. L. Polk

Witchmark by C. L. Polk
Series: The Kingston Cycle #1

Adult ∴ Historical Fantasy > Witches, Magic ∴ Romance ∴ LGBTQIA+ > Queer, mlm
Published June 19th 2018 by
eGalley ∴ 272 pages

Amazon Barnes & Noble ∴ B.A.M. ∴ Goodreads

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 Miles Singer for suffering the day he was born, doomed either to be enslaved to his family’s interest or to be committed to a witches’ asylum. He went to war to escape his destiny and came home a different man, but he couldn’t leave his past behind. The war between Aeland and Laneer leaves men changed, strangers to their friends and family, but even after faking his own death and reinventing himself as a doctor at a cash-strapped veterans’ hospital, Miles can’t hide what he truly is.

When a fatally poisoned patient exposes Miles’ healing gift and his witchmark, he must put his anonymity and freedom at risk to investigate his patient’s murder. To find the truth he’ll need to rely on the family he despises, and on the kindness of the most gorgeous man he’s ever seen.

I received a digital copy of this book for review from Macmillian-Tor/Forge Books through NetGalley for an honest opinion.


Once upon a time, the author, C.L. Polk, was in our book club server on Discord, and she told us she had this book coming out and it was right up my alley, so I added it. 

When I started it, I was afraid it wouldn’t be like I thought it was, and it wasn’t, but in a good way. After about the first 20 pages, I didn’t want to put it down and the time not reading it, I spent thinking about it.

The story is full of magic and relationships and war. Miles is a runaway witch, who joined the army to escape his cruel father and fate of becoming his sister’s Secondary. He spends his time aiding the broken soldier who’ve returned home from the war as a doctor. There are different “levels” of witch, and the lower ones, Secondaries, are used as literal batteries for the Mages. But the country they’re in, Aeland, doesn’t accept witches into society anymore and sends those who fail the test to asylums, and what we find there is astonishing. Miles is lucky to have hidden so long, but his freedom is running short.

I really like the atmosphere and feeling of this book. It’s set in a not-really-Edwardian-England place, a fictional place, but it’s so familiar. The world building isn’t extensive, but you totally get a sense of what it’s like to live there.

I spent a lot of the book dying from the sexual tension between the main characters. I love Miles and Tristan so much. Tristan is the epitome of a Good Boy and I want him to live a long healthy existence. And Miles. He’s kinda foolhardy, but precious and deserves to he happy because his family SUCKS. And Grace is a jerk, that’s all I’m gonna say.

Overall, a stunning debut novel. I can’t wait to see where this story goes. I’m not sure if the author is planning a trilogy or more, but I’ll be first in line to get them, that’s for sure.

∴ 5 stars ∴

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