cover image Stormsong


C.L. Polk., $17.99 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-0-7653-9899-4

Polk follows her gaslamp fantasy Witchmark with a superb sequel blending political intrigue, witchcraft, and queer romance. Spirited Dame Grace Hensley—fresh from helping her brother, Miles, the protagonist of the first book, foil an assassination plot against Aeland’s Queen Constantina—is appointed chancellor of the England-like country and elected Voice of the secret group of witches that protect Aeland from storms. At the request of the queen, Grace and Miles investigate a delegation from Laneeri, a rival country, that may have been involved in the assassination plot. Meanwhile, norm-bucking journalist Avia Jessup works to get to the bottom of the role the Hensley family played in the discontinuation of Aeland’s use of aether, a power source that draws from human souls. Grace exhausts herself navigating the mass demonstrations over the loss of aether power, her attempts to reform antiwitchcraft laws, and her strong attraction to Avia. When the Laneeri heir dies under mysterious circumstances while in Aeland, Grace and Miles pivot their investigation to find his murderer. Polk’s ambitious world-building never encumbers her assured, action-packed pacing, deep characters, and genuine emotion. This delectable treat is a worthy follow-up to her debut. Agent: Caitlin McDonald, Donald Maass Literary. (Feb.)