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Witchmark by C. L. Polk
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3071456,403 (3.83)19
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.… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
I do love it when I land on a new fantasy series to become engrossed in, and the Kingston Cycle is definitely shaping up to be a good one. I'm enthralled with the magic system, wrapped up in the complicated relationships, and eager for the next book to land on my shelves. Definitely a recommendation for fantasy readers! ( )
  NeedMoreShelves | Aug 4, 2019 |
I wanted so badly to like this book.
  miri12 | May 31, 2019 |
“Witchmark” is the first novel of a series referred to as “The Kingston Cycle”. The reality is that this book is probably better than the rating I am giving it, as there is much to recommend in the world and the characters. I am glad this isn’t another swords and sorcery time fantasy, and instead it is a much more modern world one finds themselves with most fantasy stories, and Edwardian England is a very different type setting. There are some very interesting social factors, which help make it a unique world, and one can easily see why this is going to be a series, as C. J. Polk has made a decision that we will learn about the world through the story, and not through long passages of exposition.
Where I had issues is with the writing style, and it took a good portion of the book for me to get past that. It is difficult to put my finger on exactly where I had a problem, but I think it was probably a lot of small things. As an example, we are reading as if we are a fly on the wall, and yet at one point in the story, Miles indicates he has a list of demands before examining his father, and then a quick statement “Once she heard them she argued, but in the end I had my way.” If we are a fly on the wall, it is rather unfair to suddenly hide information. As it turns out, that information was a non-factor in the story, but it gives the reader a feeling that they are being manipulated, and as it turns out it was completely unnecessary.
Despite my harsh rating, I will continue to read the series as the positives are there, and my issues with the writing style are probably over as the last part of the book did not present me any concerns. I expect that the next instalments will not cause me the same type of problem, and I think there are many more interesting aspects to her world that are yet to be revealed. This book was nominated for the Nebula Award for Best Novel, the Locus Award for Best First Novel, and the Lammy Award for best LGBTQ SF/F/Horror. ( )
  dave_42 | May 24, 2019 |
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 war, was captured and reported dead. With a new identity is he now working in a veteran hospital trying to figure out why men that are returning is coming back having the same delusion. That someone inside them trying to take over and kill everyone. And, then a man arrives at the hospital, dying, knowing Miles true name and ask for his help...

You know what I wanted more when I read this book, more knowledge about Aeland and Laneer. It did feel like you only got tidbits of information and I wanted to know more, More history about the countries, etc. I felt a bit lost now and then, but I liked the story. I liked the M/M love story that blossomed between Miles and a certain gentleman that shows up with secrets of his own. I liked the writing, the story had great flow. The last part of the book, when the pace stepped up as Miles started to untangle the truth about what is going on is truly great. I hope to read more books set in this world.

I want to thank Tor for providing me with a free copy through NetGalley for an honest review! ( )
  MaraBlaise | May 19, 2019 |
STARS, WHAT A GREAT AND INTERESTING BOOK! I felt sorry for Christopher by having to fake his death in order to be free of his family's control. Posed as doctor Miles Singer, he worked at the hospital as a psychiatrist to help returning soldiers coming from from the war where he could secretly use his powers to help the men. After 13 years of hiding, it only took one outing for his sister to discover that he was alive. THANK GOODNESS BOOK 2 IS COMING! ( )
  HOTCHA | Apr 25, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
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To AJ and Tom, who were there every day
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The memo stank of barrel-printing ink and bad news.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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.

At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
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