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Summary

A stunning, addictive fantasy debut that combines intrigue, magic, betrayal, and romance in an original world with a historical WWI tone. 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. 

Moving at a brilliant pace and pulsing with deadly intrigue and unforgettable characters, Witchmark grabs listeners and doesn't let go until the thrilling conclusion. 

Magic marked Miles Singer for suffering the day he was born, doomed either to be a slave to his family's interest or to be committed to a witches' asylum. He went to war to escape his destiny and came home a different man, but he couldn't leave his past behind. The war between Aeland and Laneer leaves men changed, strangers to their friends and family. Even after faking his own death and reinventing himself as a doctor at a cash-strapped veteran's hospital, Miles can't hide what he truly is.

©2018 C. L. Polk (P)2018 Recorded Books

What listeners say about Witchmark

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A fascinating story

At first there were parts of this book that irritated me, and then as I thought about it, it was things that happened in books that featured a M/F romance and we come to not be ready to see them in M/M romances. I actually loved Miles and Tristan (again if my spellings are slightly off, I am dyslexic and listened to this book on audio), they are exactly what I needed to see. I know it is weird but this is the kind of book that you could easily do as a different romance. It was so good, and honestly it was great to see a book with many characters who are LGBT and don't have that as their primary characteristic. Miles is interested in Tristan, but he's also brave, a doctor, a rebel, inquisitive, intelligent and kind.

I loved the elements of politics in this, with the secondaries and primaries, it was something I loved to read about and wanted to know more about it. I loved understanding how the system worked, how it was flawed and how it needed to change and found myself just as frustrated as Miles was with the position he was dealt in life. I felt his struggle and could really relate to him.

I just loved this book so much, there is no way for my to express how much I loved it, although I found it, in part, predictable. I know that the sequel is a change of main character, and possibly a companion novel rather than a traditional sequel, but I am excited to read about Grace and what she does after the end of these events (and hope that there will be some more information about Miles and Tristan because I need to know).

2 people found this helpful

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unique

I'd heard this was good and ended up not being what I expected. Very involved with mental health and ptsd and institutions but a very interesting story and I ended up really enjoying it

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Fascinating!

What a clever story! I listened to the audiobook first, which I always find harder as I have to rely on the narrator to create voices and atmosphere; if I’ve read the book first, I’m able to use my imagination to fill in the gaps! That said, Samuel Roukin did a super job. There were a couple of times I stumbled and wasn’t sure which character was speaking, but on the whole, it all flowed well. The story was complex and I should have read it first to enable me to form a complete picture but instead, I listened to the complete story twice! What an unusual and interesting world C. L. Polk has created. There was a mystery to solve and as the story unfolded, the true horror of what lay beneath, revealed! The story was told through Miles, who was strong, steadfast and good. An unlikely partnership develops and we see the bonds of friendship grow and strengthen between the two leads as they unravel the strands of what begins as two mysteries, but which ultimately lead to the unveiling of all! All very well executed and a refreshingly good read (listen!)

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Magic is a problem as much as a gift

Magic is a problem as much as a gift in the world of this novel, especially if you have an "inferior" type of it, and have to defend yourself from both popular beliefs and superior magic. But in Miles' job his secret, carefully handled inferior gift is precious, until his life is upset by a mysterious dead man and a new, soon special friend in search of answers. In their investigation on that death and on the man's last words, they meet dangerous opposition both from powerful relatives and from superstitious acquaintances. Eventually, as they learn to rely on each other's strengths, they uncover a terrible plot and, with the help of a few allies, fight to undo it at risk of their own lives. A great rollercoaster of a novel, as the protagonist seems to hit a predictable and sad dead end more than once but always ends up finding a convincing and unexpected way out. The relationship between the main characters is refreshingly sweet and defies preconceptions.

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Okay

Good narration though I found myself losing interest in the mystery aspect of the book. Though the playfulness between the protagonists was enjoyable.

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Really enjoyed this

Really great story and excellent narration. Looking forward to the next book in the series.

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  • Andrea Duff
  • 26-03-19

A worthwhile add

This was well written, had engaging characters and maintained an engaging momentum. Fantasy with a LGBTQ character that was relatable and easy to invest in. I enjoyed the world building and am curious to see it expanded upon. I am looking forward to more from this author. In need of a good read, I'd recommend adding this to your library.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Dianthaa
  • 05-01-20

hell of a ride

I know nothing of romance books, but Witchmark by CL Polk was the HEA bookclub pic for december on r/fantasy, and I’d heard only good things about it, so I went in. I was expecting a nice chill love story between two men, maybe some sort of fantasy of manners. I was not prepared for the wild ride this book had in store for me. Yes there was a love story and it was very sweet and I liked it, but oh boy was there a lot of story beyond that, and it got seriously dark.

It starts off pretty slow and chill, with Miles Singer working at a mental hospital. He’s a very good man by the way, he’s so compassionate and kind, a sort of Hawkeye Pierce but with magic instead of sarcasm. Then a poisoned patient is brought in by a handsome stranger, and I thought oh right, this is gonna be a murder mystery, nice. While trying to find clues about this murder victim, Miles is also trying to solve a medical mystery, a dangerous madness that affects soldiers recently come back from war. So about a third/halfway into the book I thought, ok this is gonna be about solving this puzzle with the soldiers. But then in the last third it becomes clear that there’s an even bigger fish, strap in everybody cause it gets insane. The final showdown ending scene is so dramatic, powerful and emotional. I wasn’t expecting it all to wrap up so well in a relatively short book, but I was very happy with the ending.

I really liked Miles, but I’m generally a huge fan of good characters. I passionately hated his sister, especially because she was seemingly moderate, wanting change for the oppressed class, but really pulling the same oppressive shit herself. She’s gonna be the protagonist in book 2, and I’m very concerned over how that’ll go. I thought love interest was interesting enough, though I was expecting a lot more of the book to be focused on their relationship, that’s not a complaint just an observation.

Oh I almost forgot, bicycles are an important part of worldbuilding, with even a bicycle chase at one point, and that’s super cool.
The narration was lovely and atmospheric

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  • brad
  • 07-08-18

Amazing read

This book was a wonderful suprise. It was well written and kept me engaged and guessing through out. The main characters were likeable/hateable and I'm hoping there is a sequel because it is a Great story. Cant say enough how much I liked this one.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Jackson Theofore Keys
  • 20-08-18

Great book with a poor narrator

This was a fantastic story, original and interesting. The characters were well flushed out so that you felt like you knew them. The bad guys were completely believable; what they did, although evil, is something people would do when hungry for power. The downfall of this book was the narrator. Quite often it was difficult to determine who was speaking and when the speaker changed. This was annoying to say the least. Might be a better experience in book form.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 26-06-20

A romance. Not my thing, but well written as a romance.

Would recommend to anyone who likes "noble-almost-immortal elves, queen of England, oops, Eland, LGBTQ, silver dagger" fantasy. Narrated well.
Not really wanting to be snarky about this book, but I guess I am just getting burnt out on all the "woke" literature coming out everywhere. It's becoming formulaic.
The author does create an interesting world. She is a good writer with a good consistency and well turned phrasing. It's just...romance is not my thing and books written in a clearly male or clearly female voice also are not my thing. This story is 100% female voice.

1 person found this helpful

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  • AllAboutThoseBooks
  • 29-12-19

Excellent

More than a bit of a cliffhanger, but so good it's worth it. The narrator has a really pleasant voice. He doesn't provide distinct voices for each character, but somehow that isn't confusing. I did understand who was talking at all times.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Empress Kate
  • 28-08-18

Magical plot, world, and LGBT romance

4.5 stars
I absolutely loved this!
Anyone looking for an adorable LGBT+ romance, historical fantasy, murder mystery, that explores upper class privilege, and the consequences of war? It's right here!
The beginning was a bit tough for me because I thought it would be more historical urban fantasy, and it did vaguely resemble England after WWI, but the places and past events were all made up, and the magically system is very unique.
I loved all the characters, Tristan reminded of Howl (from Howl's Moving Castle only more put together). The murder mystery was intriguing, and I had a ton of fun finding out were it lead, and how everything tied together. What an interesting outcome it had in the end!
Miles and Tristen where so cute, and I eagerly await the next book to see what happens to them.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Lee
  • 31-07-21

pretty fun, a wild ride

y'all this was pretty entertaining. I felt engaged the whole way through with the fast paced narrative.

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  • sarah lynn craft
  • 10-06-21

Excellent!

I loved this book so much. The story is magnificent and I can’t wait to read/hear more of C.L.Polk’s work.

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  • Jody Robinson
  • 18-05-21

This should be a movie!

What an amazing book. It's like Lord of the Rings meets Harry Potter. I don't remember the last time that I have been this engrossed in an audiobook. The narrator was amazing, and the story was awesome.