REVIEW: CARVE THE MARK BY VERONICA ROTH

“That fate… is a lie told by the people who want to destroy us.”

Official synopsis from Goodreads:

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.

Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth Book Cover

GENRE: Science Fiction/Fantasy/Young Adult 
ISBN: 9780062348630
FORMAT: Hardcover
GET A COPY: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository / Fullybooked / National Bookstore

CONTENT WARNING: Manipulation, Racism

THOUGHTS:

Carve the Mark is the first book written by Veronica Roth that I’ve read and to be honest, I was quite disappointed.

I had high hopes for this one because I’ve heard so many positive reviews about The Divergent Series, which was also written by Roth, but this book, unfortunately, did not meet some of my expectations.

This book is very slow-paced and I felt like nothing much and really important happened here. The brutality was not convincing, the fight scenes were short and tedious and I found the characters a bit annoying. I was also expecting an action-filled story given that it’s categorized under Fantasy and Science Fiction but like I said, it just disappointed me.

The world is underdeveloped for my liking. This is set in space and I didn’t even feel like it actually is. This aspect could’ve saved the book but, this too, contributed to its overall failure due to the weakness of the descriptions and the execution itself. Plus, the author focused too much on the world-building (that still ended up underdeveloped) and put too little time investing on the more important thing: the characters’ development.

Having characters with (super) powers or gifts or whatever you call that is not new in Young Adult literature and it literally can make or break a story. Having said that, I felt like the characters’ powers or what this book calls Currentgifts would’ve been interesting if Roth made those out of the ordinary: There are those who have the ability to see other people’s future and are called Oracles. Cyra’s gift is the ability to deliver/cause intense pain to anyone she touches and feels pain herself while Akos, her obvious love interest, can take away the pain through his touch. Awww. No.

MXCAREYES Book Blog | CARVE THE MARK BY VERONICA ROTH

The budding romance between these children them was not that wonderful or incredible. I felt like their relationship is a little bit too physical for their age. And I couldn’t help but cringe when I read this:

In a small quiet voice, I asked the question that was buried deep inside me. “Am I ugly now?”

“What do you think?” he asked, and not like it was a rhetorical question.

“No,” I said. “I’m not.”

I didn’t quite mean it yet, but I thought maybe, over time, I might start to.

“I agree,” he said. “In case that wasn’t clear from all the kissing we’ve been doing.”

Was that supposed to be romantic or is the author teaching young girls that a woman is only beautiful when a boy has the guts to kiss her? I can see what the author is trying to do, but I do not like how it actually turned out.

Another thing: this book has a harmful trope concerning race. The Thuvesites are described as light-skinned/pale, bright-eyed and calm/gentle people while the Shotets are golden-skinned, dark-eyed, and portrayed as the brutal ones. We know that POCs or People of Color especially the black men and women are continuously marginalized in our society for all the nonsense reasons and writing about POCs in a toxic standpoint may have a more negative effect on them.

It is perfectly okay and normal to have villains and heroes in a story but I think proper representations and careful and sensitive descriptions are needed to make the story line successful and worth-reading.

To be honest, this book could’ve been an interesting and enjoyable read if it didn’t lack some things and contain unimportant scene fillers. It could still be enjoyable for some though but this book is clearly not for me. However, I still want to give Ms. Roth a chance and read the Divergent Series after Carve the Mark. Maybe her first series wasn’t that bad.

RATING: tumblr_mj0pswo4xz1rm6jd7o1_500tumblr_mj0pswo4xz1rm6jd7o1_500

EXTRAS:

Okay, I can’t deny this one: The book cover is really beautiful. It even tricked me into buying this book lol.

Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth Book Cover

The map looks pretty too!

Carve the Mark Map

LET'S CHAT | Want to say something? Any violent reactions? Let me know everything. I wanna hear what you gotta say!

Have you read this book already? What are your thoughts about it? Let me know in the comment section below. 🙂

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Photo of 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, came out on October 22, 2013. She spends endless hours browsing Wikipedia in her pajamas as she eats corn flakes. (Or some other kind of bland breakfast cereal.)

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8 comments

  1. I thought the name sounded familiar. The film trailers for Divergent put me off and apart from the book cover there seems little to recommend this to me. You save me money, I appreciate that! YA seems so sophisticated these days compared to what it used to be but still has a long way to go in some aspects.

    Liked by 1 person

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