Title: Carve the Mark
Author: Veronica Roth
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
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.
When 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.
Veronica Roth had some big shoes to fill after Divergent and the expectations were so high that Carve the Mark just couldn’t do it; instead it created a little too much controversy.
First of all I want to say that all opinions are my own, this review is not at all an attack on the author or the fans and if I’m offending someone with my following opinion: I’m so, so sorry and it’s not intentional. With that out of the way let me be clear about two things:
- The Thuvhesit are presented as the peaceful light skinned race Akos belongs to, and they see the Shotet as a brutal and ignorant race which is probably cemented by the fact that the Shotet introduce themselves with their trespassing into Akos’s home where they murder his father and kidnap his brother and him. I think that every society no matter the race has violent and non-violent members and we cannot label them all the same, I also think that skin color doesn’t determine this kind of conduct; so I really question the Author’s intention when, along the book, she keeps reminding us that “white Thuvets” are peaceful while “dark Shotets” are savages and I don’t want to admit it’s racist but I can’t shake the feeling, I mean, why even make that distinction?. Isn’t there enough race vs race in the world already?
- Chronic pain is not a gift so in my opinion VR didn’t do her research well. I think Cyra developed this current-gift as some kind of defense mechanism to trauma, in this case her brother violating her mind by trading one of his ugly memories for one of her happy ones. Needing to raise awareness about certain conditions as well as mental health, these were the topics to be correctly addressed and developed and they had a lot of potential to build a plot around and yet VR just wasn’t up to the challenge.
Now, I was very confused when later in the book it was implied that both societies are of mixed race. Not every character is described but there are some hints of brown skins among the Thuvhesit and pale skins among the Shotet, so, again I wonder, why were the peaceful/brute labels necessary?
I feel that world-building fell too short. VR calls so much attention to unimportant factoids about literally everything that she pays no attention to the characters surroundings; her attempt to develop a world with so much political, religious, cultural and sci-fi elements was confusing and messy so I couldn’t immerse myself completely into the story. A lot of details were lacking: What was the Shotet’s economy and government like? What does a currentblade actually do? What were Thuveth’s cities like? What about the other planets? There was so much material here that I’m disappointed by how undeveloped the settings are.
While the romance was barely a romance, I’m glad it wasn’t too insta-love; still, I wish they had worked harder to win each other over.
I think Ryzeck could’ve been a super villain if only the issue of forcibly taking what you want had been properly addressed. He is a bully who attacks Cyra’s mind, leaves her with post-traumatic stress and makes her feel that she is at fault and these are all issues YA everywhere are facing right now so they should have been properly developed so the story could be used as a light in the dark.
In conclusion, I read this book pretty fast as it wasn’t demanding at all but I hardly found the plot in it and instead found two undeveloped and uncomfortable topics that needed addressing but weren’t; I just hope that those half twists she pulled at the end are enough to make a better sequel.