Review: Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth

Posted February 1, 2019 by Lillian in Reviews / 0 Comments

Review: Carve the Mark by Veronica RothCarve the Mark by Veronica Roth
Series: Carve the Mark #1
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on 2017-01-17
Length: 468 pages
Reviewing Hardcover from My Book Shelf
Reading Challenges: 2018HW

In a galaxy powered by the current, everyone has a gift.

Cyra is the sister of the brutal tyrant who rules the Shotet people. Cyra’s currentgift gives her pain and power—something her brother exploits, using her to torture his enemies. But Cyra is much more than just a blade in her brother’s hand: she is resilient, quick on her feet, and smarter than he knows.

Akos is the son of a farmer and an oracle from the frozen nation-planet of Thuvhe. Protected by his unusual currentgift, Akos is generous in spirit, and his loyalty to his family is limitless. Once Akos and his brother are captured by enemy Shotet soldiers, Akos is desperate to get his brother out alive—no matter what the cost.

Then Akos is thrust into Cyra's world, and the enmity between their countries and families seems insurmountable. Will they help each other to survive, or will they destroy one another?

Carve the Mark is Veronica Roth's stunning portrayal of the power of friendship—and love—in a galaxy filled with unexpected gifts.

I loved the Divergent series by Veronica Roth but that ending….ugh!!! It’s been nearly six years and I still can’t even with that ending. SO naturally I was cautious about reading Carve the Mark. However I was pleasantly surprised. Despite a slow start, Carve the Mark was exactly what I wanted out of a YA dystopian scifi. Alternating points of view between two members of clashing nations/clans, the book unfolds.

The book opens with Akos and his family being murdered by members of the Shotet nation. Akos and his brother are then taken, Akos as a slave/soldier and his brother kept hidden for his ability. Akos is described as gentle, kind, and the smaller of his family. Yet it is his currentgift that makes him unique. He is able to stop the flow of the current through others, essentially making their own gifts obsolete, at least for a short time. Loyal and determined to find his brother and return home, Akos is assigned to Cyra Noavek, the sister of the ruler of Shotet.

Cyra is my favorite, hands down. Her currentgift though is pain. She is in constant pain and can channel that pain to others for torture or even execution. However she is torn by this. She struggles with morality in the face of her brother. Which makes her more likable to the reader. I enjoyed reading how her relationship with Akos unfolds.

Despite liking the characters, I struggled with the plot. Basically the gist is you have two warring factions on the same planet. But it is SO much more than that. There are oracles from each culture who deliver the “fates” of each babe born. These fates are the be all/end all of the universe. You can’t go against it, you will live your life to that fate. It’s kinda fatalistic in the sense that you know your destiny, it’s all planned out for you. Yet Cyra and Akos both defy that, or at least want to.

Overall I really enjoyed the book. I took my rating down a star though because the plot pacing was off. It started off quick then went to a snail’s pace for half the book before picking back up again. Unfortunately the pace was up and down the entire book. BUT that wasn’t enough to deter my enjoyment 😉 If you enjoy YA sci-fi, I highly recommend it.

Note: After finishing my review and copying it to Goodreads, I noticed the drama that surrounded the book at release. I was unaware of this prior to reading and writing my review. I do want to address it though. 

  • I did not see racism in the book. It’s science fiction, I saw described alien races, not black and white. 
  • I did not see ableism. While I do not deal with a chronic pain and cannot attest to what is being said, I can say that this is one experience and one way of dealing with it. I did not find the author’s descriptions of Cyra as weak, in fact I saw the opposite. She was a strong character, going up against insurmountable odds. 
  • I did not see anything that would be a blatant trigger warning as described in some reviews. There is no rape, however there is mention of child abuse (off page, not detailed). 

I suscribe to the thought that not every book is for every person. With that in mind, I highly recommend that if any of the above would deter you from reading that you research and make your own decision prior to buying the book.

About Veronica Roth

Veronica Roth is from a Chicago suburb. She studied creative writing at Northwestern University, and wrote DIVERGENT (Katherine Tegen Books, May 2011) and INSURGENT (May 2012). The third and final book in The Divergent Trilogy, ALLEGIANT, will come out on October 22, 2013. In the meantime she will spend endless hours browsing Wikipedia in her pajamas as she eats corn flakes. (Or some other kind of bland breakfast cereal.)

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