Sunday, July 15, 2012

My take on: Burn Mark

Imagine being burned at the stake just for being different? Sounds horrible doesn't it? In Burn Mark by Laura Powell burning witches is the norm. If they step out of line or commit a crime, they risk paying the ultimate price. Even worse everyone gets to see you on television in that moment. Every one gets to point the finger at the big bad witch. The London Street gangs have been replaced by covens. Instead of Parliament we have Inquisitors, who make it their mission to rid society of the bad witches.

Yet another book outside of my comfort zone. I'm so used to contemporary books, it almost feels like I'm reading another language when I see the words "fae" and "witch." If you read a lot of books like this, you understand the terminology/mythology. I felt a little out of my element. Burn Mark isn't completely another language, because I found a lot of real-life situations in the book.

Fifteen-year-old Glory is just beginning to understand her powers as a witch or fae. She isn't very powerful yet, but she wants to be. Despite a recurring dream of being burned alive, Glory knows it's part of her destiny to lead the coven.

Lucas is "normal" by society's standards. His father is the top prosecutor for the Inquisitors. Like Glory, Lucas is also on a path to meet destiny. Lucas relishes a chance to see a witch go up in flames. He's supposed to follow in his father's footsteps. But that plan is derailed when Lucas develops the tell-tale mark. The mark of a witch. He's scared and confused. He has to tell his father, right? In this society witches are branded with cuffs, which detail the limits of their power. Lucas is much stronger than he realizes. Like any teenager he wonders about the consequences of being different. What will he do with his power? Will his father reject him? Will his friends still be his friends after they know?

The book alternates between Lucas' and Glory's point of view. Even after they band together later in the book, I connected more to Lucas. Glory is confident in her abilities. She is a strong character. She knows about the world witches live in. Everything is all new for Lucas. He's learning what it's like to be different for the first time in his life. Despite being one of "them," it's hard to get past his prejudices against witches.

Reading this book reminded me of The Handmaid's Tale and The Crucible. Burn Mark and The Handmaid's Tale are totally different, but both society's are so far from what is considered "normal." In both, everyone is split into specific groups. Some of those groups have privileges and some don't. I also saw Burn Mark as a paranormal take on the Salem Witch trials described in The Crucible. Just the mere suspicion of being a witch can ruin your life. The book was a little long for my taste (400+ pages), but there are still some good elements in the book.

Rating: Give it a try

Note: I received an e-galley of the book from the publisher (Bloomsbury) as part of a blog tour.

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