(I thank Netgalley and Macmillan-Tor/Forge for sending me the ARC in exchange for my honest review)
This book was just a perfect read for me! I loved it so much that I’ve already pre-ordered the paper book (no hard cover version, a shame, but such a magnificent cover!) and will certainly reread it before reading the next one.
The atmosphere was great, with a definitive European world war vibe in an imaginary fantasy world. A little bit like steampunk, but… without the steampunk. There is definitely a delicious vintage shade in the writing, which reminded me of A.J.Cronin’s books (particularly of « Shannon’s way », where the main character is also a doctor). If I had to chose an only word to describe « Witchmark », it’d be elegant. The writing is elegant, the characters’ interactions are credible and touching, the story itself is clever and delicately woven. The modern themes (egality between men and women – jobs wise, different skins’ colourings, homo or bisexual relationships) are carefully blended in the story, with discrete explanations, for a beautiful unaffected result.
And other way to describe the book is romantic. Not romantic in a romance kind of way, even if there is a romance in the book, but the poignant romantic way of a broken destiny – without the usual narrative abuses, with finesse.
The general idea about how magic exist and is known in the world is at once simple and clever. It’s realities have given the opportunity of a dramatic situation for our hero, Miles, skilfully used to tell us a fascinating story. The facts are not brutally throwed in our way, but on the contrary brought slowly in the story, for a riveting r
ead. For all its finesse, this book isn’t a challenge to read, it was quite a page-turner for me!
The main character, who tells the story, is one of the book’s strong points. I loved how the author shows that sensibility and empathy can be associated with strength of character, and how these very traits can simultaneously be an advantage for a healer and a suffering.
Miles’ voice is very good. It’s not so easy to make loveable a character who speaks in the first person in the narrative, but C.L.Polks manages it beautifully. I loved his melancholic strength, his decency, his warm-hearted nature.
If the bases of the story were interesting, its unravelling was also quite good, with a surprising revelation in the end. The romance was also pleasant, sweet and delicate, just like the narrator. If you need some steamy sexe action in your romances, you’ll be disappointed! If you prefer, as I do, subtlety, you’ll probably like it as I did. And, if you don’t care for romance at all, you shouldn’t be bothered by it, as it’s rather discreet in the whole book.
To conclude a very good surprise, I’m looking forward reading the sequel, which isn’t so frequentfor me nowadays!