Magic, steampunk, and mystery come together in perfect harmony in “Witchmark,” the award-winning debut novel from C.L. Polk. Set in a world where magic and technology coexist, this book takes us on a captivating journey that will leave readers enchanted, entertained, and guessing until the very end.
Polk’s story centers around the life of Miles Singer, a war veteran who has exchanged his military uniform for a life as a doctor in the bustling city of Kingston. A city that is powered by magic and steam, Kingston is home to two very distinct social classes: the wealthy and powerful ruling class called the Circle, and the commoners who live below. Miles is a member of the latter, but he happens to possess a rare gift: the ability to use magic. His family has long been cursed with this gift, and so he hides it for fear of being persecuted or institutionalized.
One day, a dying man stumbles into Miles’ office and whispers a name before drawing his last breath. That name leads Miles to an investigation of his own that will take him through the labyrinthine streets of Kingston, across the thresholds of the upper-class houses, and into the depths of his own family’s secrets. Along the way, he meets the handsome and charming Tristan Hunter, a member of the Circle who is hiding secrets of his own. Together, they navigate their way through politics and betrayal to uncover the truth behind the man’s death and the dangerous plot that threatens to unravel Kingston’s fragile peace.
Polk’s novel is a refreshing take on the classic mystery genre, weaving a magical touch into a steampunk world that is both familiar and unique. The author’s ability to create a rich and detailed world that feels both lived-in and magical is one of the book’s strongest points. The city of Kingston is a character in itself, a place that is both beautiful and dangerous, where magic is a force to be reckoned with.
The author’s writing style is also notable. Polk’s prose is elegant and descriptive, but not overly flowery. She has created characters that are engaging and believable, with flaws and virtues that make them relatable. Her pacing is sharp, with twists and turns that keep the reader engaged from beginning to end.
In conclusion, “Witchmark” is an impressive debut novel that both steampunk and mystery fans will enjoy. C.L. Polk has created a richly detailed world that feels both familiar and unique. Miles Singer is a refreshing character, and his relationship with Tristan Hunter is both satisfying and heartwarming. The book’s ending leaves some questions unanswered, which sets up for the sequel. If you’re looking for a well-written, entertaining, and magical read, “Witchmark” should definitely be on your radar.