(Burn Mark #1)
by Laura Powell
by Laura Powell
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Hardback: 416 Pages
Publication: June 19, 2012 by Bloomsbury USA Children's
In a modern world where witches are hunted down and burned at the stake, two lives intersect. Glory is from a family of witches, and is desperate to develop her 'Fae' powers and become a witch herself, though witch-activity carries a threat of being burned at the stake. Lucas is the son of the Chief Prosecutor for the Inquisition with a privileged life very different from the witches he is being trained to prosecute. And then one day, both Glory and Lucas develop the Fae. In one fell stroke, their lives are inextricably bound together.
◆ A copy was provided by Bloomsbury for review ◆
This novel intrigued me with how it brings witches and witch trials to the modern era. In a world where witches are very real and present in daily life, the majority fears them and persecutes them. Law-abiding witches must wear iron to subdue their Fae (their powers), and those who don't register themselves live in fear of being burned for treason. In the UK, where the story takes place, the Inquisitors run the witch trials as representatives of the law.
The novel is told from the alternating perspectives of Glory and Lucas. I like how it gives us the viewpoints of two teens coming from very different areas of life. Glory is raised in a community of witches and has yearned to come into her powers since a very young age. Lucas, on the other hand, comes from a family with a long history working as Inquisitors and has always wanted to follow in his father's footsteps. He never thought about the possibility of becoming a witch because it isn't in his blood. But then he does, and he is forced to rethink his entire life and how it'll change the way people look at him.
I found myself sympathizing with and liking Lucas more. He's not a spoiled brat despite his family's affluence. From the start, he establishes himself as an amiable, honest character with a good heart and sharp mind. His father is a righteous man unlike many of the other people he works with, and Lucas has learned from him to hold good morals and stand up for what he believes is right. Glory also has character. She's strong, courageous, and a tad bit outspoken. She has strong loyalties to the witches of her community, though she doesn't always approve of how they run things. Nevertheless, I never quite connected with her like I did with Lucas. There isn't much to say about other characters except that they are present, some likable and some unlikable. There are a fair amount of them, and few are developed enough to have a lasting impression.
Lore-wise, I enjoyed learning about the history of the witches and their role in this world. I do wish that the story went into it more in depth at the beginning, as the story is slow to start, and it took me a while to understand the beginnings of the workings of the world. There's no need to info dump, but it would have helped to understand a little more about witches. I also feel as though we could have gotten more out of the story. I'd liked to see more to the plot and the world than we get in the novel.
On the whole, this is a straightforward, enjoyable read. The pace starts off slow but speeds up as we get more into the world and the plot starts moving. I recommend this to those who enjoy an urban fantasy book with sound lore and history behind the world building.