In a modern world—where witches are hunted down and burned at the stake—two lives interact. Glory is from a family of witches, and is desperate to develop the ‘Fae’ and become a witch herself. Lucas is the son of the Chief Prosecutor for the Inquisition and his privileged life is 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, whether they like it or not.
I am a sucker for kids with magical powers and a lot to lose. Glory and Lucas live in present-day London. Glory, 15, is being groomed to be a powerful witch by her Auntie Angel. Glory can’t wait to use her powers, while Lucas, also 15, learns he is fae accidentally. Lucas, the heir to a family of inquisitors, knows his life of comfort is over; he and Glory band together to do what they feel is right. They are essentially orphans; both have lost their mothers and have emotionally distant fathers. Glory’s got herself some attitude, sarcastic and funny. She knows how to take care of herself, and has a will of iron:
This is it, Glory thought. My life, my world. Scams, squalor and stupid bickering…I should be better than this. Mab Almighty-I have to be.
In another scene, Glory thinks a guy is going to get fresh with her, and she thinks, If he tries anything on, I’ll nut him.
I love that kid.
But Lucas intrigues the heck right outta me. Here’s a kid who’s destined to become a leader, to follow in the prestigious family business, but he discovers he’s fae:
My name is Lucas John Augustine Stearne. I am fifteen years old. My father is a twelfth generation inquisitor. My mother is dead. I am Lucas Stearne. I am fifteen years old. I am Lucas. I am a witch.
Poor Lucas goes to tell his Dad that he’s different, and Dad wants to know if his pride and joy has girl (or boy) problems. If only. The next thing you know, Lucas is volunteering for a dangerous assignment. Lucas has to stand up for himself, tells his Dad he has to do this assignment. Everything suddenly makes sense to Lucas. This is the job that he’s supposed to do in this world. Lucas grows up very quickly. Glory’s always been an adult, because she’s had to be. And she does not want to be the good little girl, by marrying into the family dynasty in order to produce a new line of little witches. Both characters are declaring their independence, stepping feet first into adulthood.
In this London, many witches practice their craft openly, while others choose to have their fae bridled. All of the characters have human traits; some are good, some evil. And there are lots of interesting characters in this book. Laura Powell is a descriptive writer, giving lots of detail about this London, the covens and inquisitors, the politicians and the crime bosses. The story moved along quickly for me, as Glory and Lucas got closer to danger, and it became clear how much danger they were in.
Burn Mark is about growing up in a world populated by those who are fae and those that aren’t. Witchcraft is something to be controlled, feared, hated, and coveted. Glory and Lucas are growing up hard, learning to use their powers when they should be worried about an algebra test, or what to wear to the prom. Burn Mark is written for ages 14 and up; there’s some violence, but I’m guessing most fourteen year-olds can handle it. I got a tad squeamish when I realized what bridling entailed, but managed to keep my dinner down.
I really liked Burn Mark: the characters are well developed, the dialogue is fresh and keeps the story moving along. And again, I’m a sucker for powerful kids living in a war zone, fighting adults and growing up too fast.
4 stars, a fun read that will make you root for the gifted witch kids.