Thursday, November 10, 2016

{Review} CARVE THE MARK by Veronica Roth

Thursday, November 10, 2016 with 2 comments
Title: Carve the Mark
Author: Veronica Roth
Series: untitled duology, book #1
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: January 17, 2017
Source: ARC received from publisher
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

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Fans of Star Wars and Divergent will revel in internationally bestselling author Veronica Roth’s stunning new science-fiction fantasy series.

On a planet where violence and vengeance rule, in a galaxy where some are favored by fate, everyone develops a currentgift, a unique power meant to shape the future. While most benefit from their currentgifts, Akos and Cyra do not—their gifts make them vulnerable to others’ control. Can they reclaim their gifts, their fates, and their lives, and reset the balance of power in this world?

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 from the peace-loving nation of Thuvhe, and his loyalty to his family is limitless. Though protected by his unusual currentgift, 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, the enmity between their countries and families seems insurmountable. They must decide to help each other to survive—or to destroy one another.


FTC Disclosure: This review is sponsored by HarperCollins/Epic Reads. I received compensation and an advance copy of Carve the Mark in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and are not influenced by the publisher.

Carve the Mark started off a bit slow and info-dumpy for me, but I think that the immense world-building done in the first part of the book leaves the author free to explore the intricacies of her world more fully later in the book, and it serves her story well. So, if you can make it past the first 100 pages or so, you’ll be well on your way to experiencing a truly awesome book.

I found that the political aspects and ramifications in this book reminded me whole-heartedly of Star Wars, as did the currentgifts which could be used for good or evil, much like The Force. However, because of one of the main character’s specific currentgifts, I felt that the story resembled Shatter Me a great deal, especially in direct relation to the other main character’s currentgift. Even with the familiar vibes this book gives off, it’s still very much its own story, full of the amazing characters and heart that Veronica Roth is already known for.

Both Cyra and Akos live in a world of moral ambiguity, though they are both on different sides of a war that has been brewing for some time. Cyra’s people, the Shotet, want legitimacy. They are considered the invading faction by the Thuvhesit, those Akos’ has called his people for his entire life. In the conflicts between these two peoples, we see Cyra and Akos and many others make decisions that are in a morally gray area, where there is no good choice and someone will undoubtedly be hurt…or worse. It was jarring at times, to see what lengths some will go to for a cause, but it made it all the more real.

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed how the aspect of fate was portrayed in this novel, as well. I don’t put much stock in fate or destiny; I’m an advocate for free will, after all. Which is why I can understand – at least to some degree – the choices made by some of the characters in their reluctance to accept their own fates, as horrifying as some of those choices could be. It added a layer of depth to their characters that I did not expect, though I am usually the first to fall for a villain so maybe not so unexpected after all.

I love dual perspectives, but I’m not the biggest fan when one perspective is told from first person and the other is in third person. However, because much of the story is set in Shotet or among the Shotet people, it makes sense. Cyra’s perspective is in first person, but Akos’ is in third, which just feels right as you’re reading because he is Thuvhesit, an outsider, and that’s how the third person point-of-view has always made me feel: separate.

Cyra considers herself a monster, and to be fair, she has done some pretty monstrous things. She was raised in a militant family with a singular goal. But throughout the story, her loyalties are tested. She is at war with her conscience. Cyra is complicated and sometimes confusing, but at the heart of it, she simply doesn’t want to be this thing that she’s been made into. Akos, on the other hand, was raised in a loving home until he and his brother were abducted from it. While his loyalty to his brother is limitless and sometimes questionable, he, too, has had to make difficult decisions in the name of survival. When push comes to shove, Cyra and Akos are not so very different after all.

It’s pretty obvious from their first meeting that these two will be more to each other, especially considering the circumstances under which they are thrown together. But their relationship is founded on friendship, even amid betrayals and monstrous developments, and so Akos and Cyra are very accepting of each other. There’s not a lot of romance in this novel, but what there is of it is very sweet and genuine.

I wouldn’t say this novel is action-packed either, but it’s steadily-paced. I got to know the characters slowly, through dialog and actions, and I’m captivated by what I’ve read of this world so far. I’m also ecstatic that the story concludes in the second book, rather than being drawn out in a trilogy. I think Roth has surpassed her previous work and written a book that will appeal more to the masses, as it’s got something for every kind of reader. I’d definitely recommend reading Carve the Mark if you were a fan of Divergent, but even more so if you weren’t a fan, as this book is an animal all its own.

Download a free “First Look” at Carve the Mark on Epicreads.com.

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About the author:

I’m Veronica. I write books for young adults. Specifically, I wrote the books Divergent, Insurgent, Allegiant, and Four: A Divergent Collection.

I like things. Some of those things are (in no particular order): Harry Potter, rain, YA, books, puns, cute animals, tea, sitcoms, grammar, writing, Chicago, Doc Martens, trains, flat stretches of prairie land, cold weather months, and so on.

Find Veronica:

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2 comments:

  1. I'm a bit disappointed to hear there's quite a lot of info-dumping but it sounds like the book redeems itself later on. I was a fan of the Divergent series so I've been eying this book since I heard about it. Anyway, I'm glad you enjoyed it and thanks for a great review!

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  2. I agree with pretty much everything you said, especially the "I wouldn’t say this novel is action-packed either, but it’s steadily-paced." comment. That is 100% true. I was captivated the entire time I was reading.

    Thanks for sharing! Great review!

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