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Witchmark (The Kingston Cycle, #1)
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(The Kingston Cycle #1)

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  1,611 Ratings  ·  381 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, 318 pages
Published June 19th 2018 by
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Susan I think it is YA and older but not specifically YA.
Good story!

Community Reviews

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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
Oct 06, 2018 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: fans of idyllic pacing, Edwardian England
It's quite, so very, very twee.

The good stuff: it is very charming. There's a sweet romance. There are men bicycling. There are feisty ladies. And I wasn't inclined to either fall asleep or throw the book once.

The background: There's a very Edwardian England feel about it, all waistcoats, dressing for dinner, carriages, and well-bred women chaperoned when with the opposite sex.  The story surrounds a man who has essentially escaped his family to live under an assumed name as a doctor. His family
Jul 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
historical ✓
magical ✓
gay ✓✓✓
murder mystery ✓

I adored this. it wasn't anything like what I expected
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
2.5 stars

Wanted to love this one but struggled to connect to its writing and characters. I most enjoyed the elements of class conflict and family strife. C.L. Polk writes about class privilege and servitude well, and the tension between our main character, Miles, and his family helped imbue Witchmark with surprise, intrigue, and betrayal. However, as other reviewers have said, the book reads like fanfiction at times, where the characters and world-building receive little development and the writ
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.
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.
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 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
An short fantasy with a setting inspired by Edwardian England and with a compelling protagonist.

Dr Miles Singer is a returned veteran working at a hospital as a psychiatrist. Only that's not the whole story: he's also Sir Christopher Miles Hensley, a powerful Secondary Mage, who would be bound as a living battery by his family of Mages had he not run off to war and disappeared. But the war is won, and the returning soldiers are putting an immense strain on the country's mental health facilities
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.
Sep 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
I really liked this. It’s a rich world (beware, you do get dropped in the deep end), with a compelling main character and a wonderful romance to boot. I will eagerly read the next one!
Oct 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this fast-paced story with its post-World War I analogue world. I thoroughly liked Miles Singer, and his sweet romance with Tristan Hunter. I liked the magical system and the way class was used to indicate acceptable and unacceptable magical practitioners. And though I took a while to warm up to Mile's sister Grace, I was willing to forgive some of her actions in the story when she came through at the end. And the end definitely leaves a lot of plot points hanging, so I'm eagerly await ...more
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
¸. • * ° *❧Gwendolyn❧°**★°**★
New Writers. A Box Of Chocolates...

Can be sweet finds!

I always feel like the box of chocolates quote when I open a book of a new VERY new writer. And, this one was a bittersweet find. I kind of lost interest at midpoint, and found it was a struggle to finish.

My Overall Thoughts

🍫The audio....Samuel Roukin (Narrator)rocked this book.

🍫The magic system was fantastic.

🍫The world was nice and vivid, perfect description writing.

🍫The SCs , well....I freaking loved Gerald (but only him I liked).

🍫 Lg
Bogi Takács
I enjoyed it, but review probably a bit later, because I'm still thinking about multiple aspects (and also, another round of Jewish holidays is coming up).

Content notice for nonconsensual power exchange. (There is also consensual power exchange, so it's not only that.)

Source of the book: Present from my wishlist!! Thank you!!!
Jul 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-releases
Where do I even start...

I’ve struggled a lot while reading it. The atmosphere of the story is oppressive and unsettling, it’s been some time since I’ve read the book like that and my poor heart has tried to abandon me but I’ve finished the book and I’m very pleased about it.

Witchmark is adult fantasy novel, set in a world resembles our of mid 20th centuries. It feels like alternate England of 1930-50s based on customs, traditions and strong class system. The basic world building is as follows: t
Nov 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
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
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
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
Lindsay M.
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was ok
This...did not work for me. Everything about it felt underdeveloped (the worldbuilding, the plot, the characters, the romance, the relationships, seriously EVERYTHING) and I skimmed the last 20% because I just didn't care. I read in another review that it feels like the author just assumes you know everything about the world already, a bit like fanfiction, and just throws you in with little explanation. I have to agree, and it really dampened my reading experience. Bummer.
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
Jul 06, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: lgbt, fantasy
I think the only reason this exists is because Tor was looking to push themselves as a diverse SFF publisher, and nary anyone sent in some LGBT+ fantasy except Ms Polk lmao.
It’s a very thin, straightforward book, and I thought it might be otherwise because of the reviews and the promotion and the promise of the setting and premise.

I’ve read better worldbuilding, characterization and romance in self-published and indie-published queer fantasy books (hellooooooo The Rifter). Seriously, this book
Aug 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
I need a sequel ASAP so I can see certain characters die suspended over a slow fire

I mean what
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Other books in the series

The Kingston Cycle (2 books)
  • Greystar (The Kingston Cycle, #2)