Title: Burn Mark
Author: Laura Powell
Published June 19th 2012 by Bloomsbury USA
Source: Received from the publisher for review via NetGalley
Glory is from a family of witches and lives beyond the law. She is desperate to develop her powers and become a witch herself. Lucas is the son of the Chief Prosecutor for the Inquisition—the witches’ mortal enemy—and his privileged life is very different to the forbidden world that he lives alongside.
And then on the same day, it hits them both. Glory and Lucas develop the Fae—the mark of the witch. In one fell stroke, their lives are inextricably bound together, whether they like it or not . . .
The premise of Burn Mark by Laura Powell is genius and drew me into the story immediately. Set in an alternate version of present-day England, the main difference is the commonality of witchkind. There are, therefore, government practices in place to work with/against them, such as the inquisitors (only non-witches allowed) and Witchkind Intelligence & Covert Affairs (aka WICA, comprised of witches themselves). Laura Powell, of course, does a much better job of explaining this in Burn Mark than I’ve done here.
Lucas and Glory were brought up with very different ideas of their futures would entail and the emotions that come hand-in-hand with the development of their fae were executed well. Lucas is terrified; this is something that he’s never expected, but he takes it in stride. Glory is ecstatic; she’s always wanted to be a witch.
Both are developed on their own, but I admit that I was partial to Lucas’s character. His whole life has been thrown off-kilter when he inadvertently works his first magic, but he learns to deal with it and develops new plans for his future with the hand he’s been dealt. Glory, in contrast, could be a little grating.
But since they’re from different sides of the track, so to speak, I can admit that I was partial to Glory’s world. She’s a member of the Cooper Street Coven, which in Burn Mark means she’s a member of the MOB. Hell yes. Organized crime in the hiz-ouse!
When Glory and Lucas’s worlds started to intertwine, I practically went into paroxysms of delight. We had political corruption, witches, AND a mob factor? Helloooooo, nurse.
Because Burn Mark contained many of my favorite elements, I was disappointed with… well, some of the disappointment I felt. It felt like some subplots were touched upon, but only briefly. The author was probably leaving herself room to expand upon said subplots in future novels, I felt that Burn Mark would have been a stronger novel had those elements been left out for now or maybe reinforced just a little more.
As the climax and falling action started, things began unraveling at a truly confusing rate, pulling in desperate characters and non-essential points of view that took me out of the action where Glory and Lucas were.
Still, the smart world-building, fascinating subcultures and characters mean that I look forward to seeing where Laura Powell takes us in future novels in her world… because, near as I can tell this is the beginning of a really interesting series.
Overall rating: 3.5/5. Lovers of mystery, witchcraft, organized crime, and political instability will be fascinated by the world constructed in Laura Powell’s Burn Mark.