Carve the Mark (Carve the Mark #1) by Veronica Roth: Book Review

Title: Carve the Mark
Series: Carve the Mark #1
Author: Veronica Roth
Publication details: January 17th 2017 by Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: YA, fantasy, science fiction

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 this 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?

Before getting to my review, let's first admire the cover without the dust jacket featuring Carve the Mark's "solar system" 😍

Inside is a clearer version. How cool eh? 😁

Now on to my review...

In Carve the Mark, we follow two characters from different sides of the world as they try to break their bondages from the status quo, and as they try to relearn their identities despite the society's preconceptions. With Cyra's and Akos' fates laid out to them and with the gifts manifested to them, the two main characters go from challenging their fates to gaining and winning each other's trust, to surviving and fighting for their lives and for their loved ones'.

Carve the Mark was a semi-refreshing read for me. Sure we still have the usual YA elements, but there are few elements that I haven't much read about in other YA books. Also, the world-building is something quite new to me. I had a hard time grasping the world-building at first (as I do with other fantasy reads with different worlds). But as I went along, things started to get clearer and quite intriguing.

As I got deeper into the story, the focus shifted from trust and loyalty to love, bravery and revenge. And while I am really not into the 'revenge' path, it did set the pace of the story, and consequently my reading.

I also think there's an insta-love involved, but it did not bother me as much, so that's forgiven. Haha! 😁

Some scenes, I felt like I could do without. I felt like they just dragged the plot a little bit. And there were also quite a lot happening especially toward the end- Akos', Cyra's, the renegade's, and Isae's quests- that perhaps competed with the main focus of their "mission". Nevertheless, I believe these will set things into action for the next book. Thus, they're something to look forward to. And I am curious how those events will shape Akos and Cyra's future.

There are a lot of controversies clouding the book which totally did not occur to me until I glimpsed some of the reviews on Goodreads. These include the glorification of inflicting pain to oneself and to others, as well scarring of oneself. And while none of them resonated with me as I was reading the book, I still acknowledge that these are problem areas.

I don't think that glorifying pain and scarring is the author's point in writing the book. But yeah, we are entitled to our own interpretation of plot elements.

The point of the book for me is that we can never truly know a person from the surface, from what he or she appears to be, from what the society makes him or her appear to be. Because really, there is more to a person than meets the eye.

What the book reaffirmed to me is that we have no right to judge a person without us knowing the truth behind his or her action.

Anyway, I am looking forward to reading more of the story and how things will go in the next books, especially since we have a revelation in the end. I think Carve the Mark is a good read for a first book in a series. Haha! I believe it did its job in setting the plot and characters. And I'm pretty sure they will develop further along the series.

Overall, I may not be 100% amazed by the book, but I still had an enjoyable reading experience. I think most of the scenes were weaved together to support the plot development, as well as the main characters' growth and relationships.

If you are up for a science fiction/fantasy with strong protagonists, and if pain and 'self-scarring' don't bother you at all, go ahead and try Carve the Mark.

Veronica Roth is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Divergent, Insurgent, Allegiant, and Four: A Divergent Collection. Ms. Roth and her husband live in Chicago.