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Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth
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Carve the Mark (2017)

by Veronica Roth

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7953116,627 (3.49)14
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Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
Absolutely loved this beautiful story. Two cultures at war with the chosen trying to escape their fates. An amazing love story woven into political strife and heartache. This shows you can't judge someone by what you are taught to believe because their pain just might be deeper than your own. I'll note that I enjoyed the odd names. ( )
  JEReedAuthor | Aug 16, 2018 |
Apparently this book is controversial? I dunno, I liked it well enough.

I thought its presentation of two races at war was clunky, at worst. As I was reading I was under the impression that both Akos and Cyra were from mixed race families. And a lot of other reviewers point out othering language Akos uses in reference to the Shotet but, like. Dude’s gotta have a character arc and realize he’s wrong about them.

Another thing is Cyra’s chronic pain. It seems disingenuous to say that Roth is implying that people with chronic pain can get over it if they just try hard enough. There are enough fantastical elements attached to the origin of Cyra’s chronic pain that make it really hard to find a real life analog. ( )
  captainmander | Jul 19, 2018 |
Literary Merit: Fair
Characterization: Not great
Recommended: Recommended with reservations
Level: High School

This is book I was wary of from the start. I loved Roth’s Divergent, and its sequel Insurgent, but Allegiant left me with so many mixed emotions, I was unsure of what she would produce next. Add in the controversy surrounding Carve the Mark, and I was pretty sure I was just going to stay away. But then I went to the May meeting of my YA review group for work, and a copy of the sequel, The Fates Divide, was up for grabs. Still I was hesitant, but I decided that since it was something I could read at work and review for reader’s advisory, I’d go ahead and pick it up.

Of course that also meant I had to first go back to the beginning and pick up Carve the Mark. What greeted me was a slow paced, drawn out political war that I guess was set in space? This is definitely not your usual space opera, and honestly felt like it could have taken place in any setting. It also felt way more fantasy than sci-fi, seeing as there were these “currentgifts” which act kind of like a magic system. Our main characters Akos and Cyra are both bestowed different gifts that are more hindrance than reward.

Cyra is overcome with chronic pain, physically seen by the way the current runs through her veins. She can in turn inflict that pain on others by simply touching. Akos has the gift of disrupting other people’s gifts. In other words, he’s pretty much the only person who can touch Cyra without feeling pain, and on top of that, he can also take away her pain. (Sound familiar? This ability isn’t really all that new and groundbreaking.) Cyra also has a vicious, ruthless brother who uses her to his advantage whenever necessary. He’s always threatening to harm people she cares for in order to get her to use her gift for interrogations and gaining powerful knowledge. He isn’t very well developed and has no depth or reasoning for doing the things he does other than the fact that his father ruled in the same manner.

There are a lot of other characters as well, all with frustratingly difficult names to pronounce, which is why after an initial skim/flip through of the book, I figured my best bet would be to listen to this one on audio so that I didn’t have the constant urge to rip my hair out every time a new name appeared.

This book has been highly criticized as being problematic due to racial issues concerning the aggressive, violent race presented, and ableism regarding people with chronic pain. I can definitely see those issues in the novel in regards to way people are described. The physical appearances of the characters are a little messy and confusing, and the idea of an aggressive race versus a pacifist race without much back story on why they are the way they are is problematic in itself. The reader is mostly presented with the idea that the aggressors look a certain way and the people being attacked look a certain way, and that everyone on both sides of the war share the same thoughts and mannerisms as those on their side. The Shotet are all seen as harsh and villainous, with mixed blood and varying skin tones, while the Thuve are seen as lighter skinned pacifists who are constantly being attacked by the Shotet. The book opens violently, with the Shotet arriving at Akos’s family home where his father is murdered in front of him and he and his brother are taken captive.

The idea of chronic pain is a bit romanticized, being seen as a gift, and a plot point that bonds Akos and Cyra together, growing their relationship from enemies, to codependent friends, to romantic. It’s also used as a device that allows Cyra to never be underestimated, a feared warrior amongst her people. I don’t live with chronic pain and I can’t even begin to imagine what people who do feel like on a daily basis, but I see how in some instances, this book can be insensitive to the feelings and frustrations that come with this malady.

This was not my favorite book, but it also wasn’t as terrible as I was anticipating it being. It’s a bit problematic and it’s very slow and drawn out. The world could be better developed and the characters could have more depth, but seeing as there is a sequel I can only hope some of the major issues are addressed and rectified. ( )
  SWONroyal | Jul 10, 2018 |
I received an advanced reader copy of this book from HarperCollins.

In the days before I read this book, I read about its harmful depictions of people of color (for more - http://justinaireland.com/dammit-this-is-a-blog/2016/12/4/the-continent-carve-th...)

And that is the biggest reason why this book did not get more than an average rating for me. The story was good, I was and am invested in both Cyra and Akos (and fully appreciate the subversion of traditional gender expectations), but overall it was really tough to forget that the Shotet, regardless of what the author may have intended, come off as a brutal people and are described as having dark skin, especially in contrast with the Thuve.

I think that Roth has come a long way in her narrative and writing style, and while there are elements of thoughtfulness on representing same-gender romance, the aforementioned gender role-subversion, and some really cool space and planet world-building, it does not make up for continuing to play into bad = dark skin. I hope that author, editor, and publisher think about ways in which this book plays into stereotypes rather than subverting them. ( )
  watersgendry | May 22, 2018 |
I purchased this book from Amazon to read. All opinions are my own. This was a #buddyread with my bestie @mycornerforbooksand. 🌟🌟🌟🌟Carve The Mark by Veronica Roth. This book was intriguing but in the beginning it lulled to me. After Part 2 though I got sucked in and had to finish it. So about half way before I absolutely committed to finishing it. The characters while sketchy are well written and I found it easy to feel their emotions. Roth did very well in that area. Some of the vocabulary that I found quite distracting in the beginning made sense after I discovered there is a glossary in the back so if you plan to read this one I suggest reading the glossary first, it will create less of a distraction for you. Now I must go because The Fates Divide (second book) must be read now to maybe find the conclusion I am hoping for! Review also posted on Instagram @borenbooks, Library Thing, Go Read, Goodreads/StacieBoren, Amazon, Twitter @jason_stacie and my blog at readsbystacie.com ( )
  SBoren | May 19, 2018 |
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To Ingrid and Karl -
because there is no version of you I don't love
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Hushflowers always bloomed when the night was longest.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Living on a violent planet where everyone develops a unique power meant to shape the future, Akos and Cyra, youths from enemy nations, resent gifts that render them vulnerable to others' control before they become unlikely survival partners.

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