Review: Burn Mark

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Burn MarkBurn Mark by Laura Powell
Series: Burn Mark #1
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on June 19, 2012
Genres: Mystery, Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 416
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley

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.

First Sentence: “The walls of the Burning Court were high and white-tiled, its ceiling one giant chimney.”

Looking at this book on Goodreads, I noticed that the average was lower than I expected. Apparently, most people didn’t like this much; it seems to have largely received a resounding meh. Well, I do so love to have a different opinion on a book, even if it makes me feel weirder than I thought I was, but I really enjoyed Burn Mark.

First off, I totally dig stories set in alternative universes. There’s something about it that calls to me. In Burn Mark, everything about the world is the same (facebook, cell phones, cars, politicians, etc), except that witches are truly known to exist and have been. Witchy powers, known as the fae, are persecuted, just like the suspicion of them was in history. Powerless people fear the fae, and hate what they fear. Set in Britain, Burn Mark portrays the life of a witch in a Britain controlled by the Inquisition. Witches are still burned, dunked and blamed for everything.

Our main characters are Lucas and Glory. Lucas is a son of a Head Inquisitor, raised in privilege and the product of a quality magic-less lineage. Surprise, surprise, he develops the fae, and, not only that, he’s a very powerful witch. Through his view, the reader can see the very few options open to a witch, and the mercurial nature of the power, the fact that it does not merely pass from parent to child but can spark up at random. Glory, on the other hand, is a bit of a street rat. She comes from a long line of powerful witches and has been waiting impatiently for her fae to come. Through her, the reader views the life of an unregistered witch, living in a rather seedy criminal coven.

While I wasn’t especially emotionally attached to Glory and Lucas, I still liked them and was rooting for them to uncover and destroy the corruption in the Inquisition. (Seriously, the Inquisition? Come on, guys. Almost any other word would make you sound less like prejudiced bastards, but whatever.) Though there is some romantic tension between Glory and Lucas, this stories focus is not on romance. Instead, Burn Mark focuses on the political and ethical questions inherent in a world populated by people with powers and a jealous majority without.

For some, this book was slow-moving and boring. I recommend it to readers that enjoy considering sociological questions. This one focuses on world building more than characterization. If the idea fascinates you, I definitely think you should check it out. If you’re looking for a YA paranormal romance, Burn Mark is not the book you want.

Favorite Quote:

“‘A secret boarding school for teen witches? No thanks.'”

8 responses to “Review: Burn Mark”

  1. wheres waldo says:

    I’m not sure if you’ve already posted on this… When romance isn’t the main plot of the story (usually leads to 50+ unnecessary pages of brooding on either mc’s part) what do you think qualifies for a good one? (I pulled an all nighter last night, so if you don’t understand this, I’m just sleep deprived XD)

    • Christina says:

      Hmm, yeah, I’m not entirely sure what you’re getting at.

      I know some books without any actual romantic developments still seem to be ABOUT that, and the MCs do brood over one another, without anything actually happening between them, which seems like poor plotting. That happened in Dead Reckoning. This one wasn’t like that. It’s more like the scenes in Beauty and the Beast where the characters start to become friends. I suspect romance is in the future, but it’s not the point of this bit.

      If that makes sense at all…

  2. cleemckenzie says:

    Personally a book that has a love interest, but isn’t focused on that is always interesting. And what darker more tense topic than an inquisition could there be? Glad you aren’t thwarted by low starred reviews. Some books just aren’t popular a the moment, but might last long enough to gain readership and appreciation. Thanks for diving in and giving your opinion on this one.

    • Christina says:

      I do note low-starred reviews, but I always at least start a book first. If I can tell I’m going to hate it, I generally do DNF. In this case, I didn’t even look at the Goodreads ratings or see any reviews until I was like 3/4 done. I was really surprised to see so many 2s.

  3. Jaime Lester says:

    I am the odd one out a lot, so I get it. Especially with books. It takes a whole heck of a lot of crap in a book to make me just not like it at all. That is the #1 reason that, while I do take reviews into consideration, that usually won’t stop me from reading a book. Burn Mark sounds great to me, and I can’t wait to check it out. Thanks for your review, and for not being afraid to be the odd man (woman!) out!

    • Christina says:

      Awwww, thanks! I didn’t LOVE this with allcaps, but I enjoyed Burn Mark all the way through. It was definitely a pleasant reading experience….even if most bloggers did not agree. Depends what you want from your books!

  4. Burn Mark seems like a very interesting read. Kinda neat that it’s taking something from history (the Inquisition and punishment of witches) and putting it in an alternate universe. Very neat! Thank you for sharing your honest thoughts. I’m not too into witches, but if I was this book would be one to intrigue me. Love the title!

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