Format: paperback novel
About once a year, I read a book that’s pretty much perfect, a book that makes me wish I could give it six stars on the five-point scale. The good news is that CL Polk’s Witchmark is one of those books. The bad news is that means the rest of my reading for 2019 has big shoes to fill.
Witchmark is a fantasy novel I could compare to a lot of others, but it’s also wholly unique. Set in Kingston, Jamaica, it’s the tale of Dr. Miles Singer, a former military officer hiding his magic and his heritage so he can use his healing gifts to treat the soldiers just returning from a terrible war. But a mysterious death in his ward, a handsome stranger who wants to investigate that death, a jealous colleague, and his selfish family refuse to let Dr. Singer do his job in peace. Along the way to solving the mystery death, he deals with politics, unravels conspiracies, kindles a heart-stopping romance, and engages in a thrilling bike chase. I described this book to one of my friends as “bike fantasy” because it’s everything great about a fantasy/mystery/romance but with bikes (and the occasional automobile) instead of horses.
Witchmark will appeal to adult fans of the Harry Potter books, readers who are looking for the same thrill of magic and mystery with a heady romance to add a little emotional punch. Polk’s gorgeous, baroque writing reminded me strongly of Jacqueline Carey, so if you’re a fan of the Kushiel’s Dart series you will probably enjoy Witchmark. I absolutely cannot wait for the sequel.
Final numeric rating: 6/5 mustachioed henchmen!
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