Monday, January 30, 2017

Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth

Summary 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.

Fans of Star Wars and Divergent will revel in internationally bestselling author Veronica Roth’s stunning new science-fiction fantasy series.
This wasn’t exactly what I was expecting. I ended up liking it a lot more than I was expecting to. Though, I have been in a bit of a sci-fi kick lately. Roth certainly knows how to craft worlds. The world building in here was pretty amazing. And it was also so believable to read of one warring planet having effects on other planets.
The story was what I would expect from Roth: fast paced and full of action. There’s plenty of suffering, death, torture, and fighting –all the standard YA fare lately. And I guess I’d be super disappointed if a book by this author wasn’t filled with action/violence.
Did it stand out for me like Divergent did when I first read it? Not exactly. There’s a lot in this book that clearly is riding on the shoulders of all the YA that came before it. There are notes of Shatter Me, elements of The Red Queen, pieces of Graceling, tidbits from Across the Universe, reminders of Legend, etc. That being said, I don’t think Roth stole from these other YA novels, so much as was inspired by them. It’s clear the author reads a lot of YA. Yet, being so inspired by something I’m so familiar with can make a story seem a bit “old.”
This book certainly didn’t spark anything new for me in the beginning. I actually almost stopped reading it because of this, but I’m glad I didn’t because later what makes it work is the world building. There’s a big focus on the war torn planet, on the differences in the cultures of the people, on the beliefs of the different people, on the cultures and beliefs of the people of other planets, etc. This insight into the people, the customs, the scavenging, and the objects, did make this book finally stand out to me. All of this was so interesting. Its was like an anthropological Veronica Roth, and I liked it.
The world building was top notch. The action was pretty great too. What was missing though was the character development. I never really bonded with either of the main characters. I wanted Cyra to be my new Tris, but she wasn’t. And I feel like the beginning that took place around Akos’ childhood was too rushed for me to really get to know him either. I wanted to know them both more. So, when bad things happened to them (and they happened alright), I’d feel bad for them.
All in all, the world building was awesome. The fast-paced plot was great too. The character development was seriously lacking. And the book clearly took inspiration from a lot of YA books that came before it. I give it an 7/10.

1 comment:

  1. I really and truly fell out of love with the Divergent trilogy with the later books and I'm a little scared to try this one out. Seeing how it's clearly inspired from other YA books - like her first series was IMO worries me too. I'll have to think on whether or not I'll read this one but I really appreciated reading your thoughts on it!