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.
The 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.
My Rating: 4.5 Stars
When the final book in the Divergent trilogy was released 4 years ago, I remember being incredibly upset with the way it had ended. Divergent was one of the books that made me fall in love with the dystopian genre. Somehow, the ending of that series soured me and gave me selective memory. Although I understood why Roth wrote the ending she did, the book left me crying instead of smiling – a reaction that I’m not accustomed to in a genre full of happy endings. Through all of this, I managed to forget what made me fall in love with the Divergent series to begin with: Roth’s incredible world building, and character developing talents.
Carve the Mark was quite unlike any book I have ever read. In this novel, Roth managed to bring to life a number of unique worlds and cultures. Although the Shotet and Thuve cultures were the most focused on in this particular book, Roth offered light introductions to other worlds and their people. I can only hope that in the sequel to Carve the Mark (which I am waiting for with bated breath), she continues to educate me.
The Shotet life is a hard one, and for an outsider looking in, its people may appear to be savages. Cyra was raised by the leader of the Shotet people, a ruthless, power hungry dictator who ignored her and turned his own son, her brother, into a monster. At the beginning of Carve the Mark, Cyra is just trying to manage the unbearable pain of her currentgift, (an ability that all Shotet and Thuve come into at some point in their youth) and survive her brother. When Akos, A prisoner from Thuve is “gifted” to her by her brother to ease her pain, Cyra began to change into a character that was easy to admire and connect with.
While Cyra became a slightly softer version of herself, the reader got to witness an entirely different transformation in Akos. When he and Cyra were introduced, he was a bit scrawny and unable to defend himself. Under Cyra’s tutelage, he became a skilled warrior. What I loved the most about Akos, however, was that although he got stronger physically, his values didn’t change. He learned to stand up for himself a bit more, but remained a good-hearted person who only wanted his brother’s safety.
With a slew of interesting secondary characters, stomach dropping adventure, and a beautifully crafted new world for readers to delve into, Carve the Mark is a must read for 2017. I only rated it 4.5 instead of 5 stars because at times the book did drag – as is typical for the first book in a fantasy series (world building isn’t always riveting, but is definitely necessary).
My Takeaway: With Carve the Mark, Veronica Roth has reminded me why I fell in love with her writing in the Divergent series. This book provides a rich new world for readers to explore and a plethora of new characters to love and hate.