cover image Burn Mark

Burn Mark

Laura Powell. Bloomsbury, $17.99 (416p) ISBN 978-1-59990-843-4

Secrets, lies, and crime go hand in hand with magic and mystery in this urban fantasy from Powell (The Game of Triumphs). In an alternate present-day England, witches are a small but present minority, licensed and regulated by the government, at risk of being burned alive if they’re caught misusing their powers. On the same day, two 15-year-olds come into their powers: Glory Wilde, part of a witch family entangled in crime, and Lucas Stearne, son of a High Inquisitor. When Lucas volunteers for an undercover assignment to prove his worth and offset the stigma of being a witch, he and Glory become uneasy allies, united as they discover a corrupt conspiracy involving the Inquisition that could spell disaster for witches everywhere. Twists and surprises abound in this fascinating drama. Although the story is a bit dense and slow-moving in places, Powell’s world-building is solid, her details are grounded, and the novel’s magic system is refreshingly logical. A satisfying series opener with hints of Holly Black and Diana Wynne Jones. Ages 14–up. Agent: Sarah Molloy, A.M. Heath. (June)