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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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I enjoyed Veronica Roth's writing in the Divergent Series and did not realize she had a new book out until about a month ago when I was perusing through Goodreads and some of my favorite authors to see if there were any new books forthcoming. Thankfully the wait list wasn't long at the library and I was able to pick up this book and devour it. It was a bit slow at the beginning and the similarity of some of the character's names threw me off a bit along with all the "made-up" terminology, but once I figured out who was who the plot moved along quickly and effortlessly.

I really like this world that Roth has created, although she could have done a bit more to flesh out some of the characters and the story may have move too fast, which made it seem at times like Roth was rushing therefore the plot had more holes than I would have liked. However, I can't wait to read further books set in this world. Since I haven't researched the series, but I hope this is not another trilogy. I can't begin to express how much I don't like YA trilogies because often times the second book isn't as well thought out as the first and the third book ends unsatisfactory. Here's to hoping it's not a trilogy and that we get more books from this world! ( )
  jthao_02 | May 18, 2017 |
I borrowed Carve the Mark without knowing anything about it - I liked Divergent and was curious about what sort of stories Veronica Roth would tell next. The answer: a story about two teenagers in a world of fates, magical abilities and interplanetary travel.

Akos and Cyra belong to very different societies and very different - albeit both important - families. Akos is the youngest son of Thuvhe’s sitting oracle, while Cyra is the youngest member of the Shotet ruling family; Cyra has an adversarial relationship with her brother, whereas Akos is determined to rescue his no matter what. When Cyra and Akos are forced into each other’s company, they discover their survival could depend on learning to work together.

The title comes from the Shotet custom of “carving a mark” in one’s arm after killing someone. If I’d known that beforehand, I might have decided against reading this. I am idiosyncratically (and some have said, illogically) squeamish about some things: certain types of violence, poisons, things that destroy memories. Between this and my empathy for a character dealing with chronic pain, parts of this book made me - uncomfortable. A purely subjective reaction that leaves me doubting my ability to be objective. I don’t think that Carve the Mark is exceptionally dark, or even just darker than other stories I’ve loved - I suspect it’s simply dark in a way that happens to really bother me - but I’m not sure.

Nevertheless, I am really glad I kept reading. The worldbuilding is intriguing, the family dynamics are nuanced, and I became unexpectedly and fiercely attached to the characters.

I especially like the way this is so forcefully Cyra’s story. At first I thought this was an oddly paced book, for the way it begins with Akos, quickly upends his life and then abruptly switches to Cyra’s POV. When we next see Akos, some time - and several traumatic, life-altering experiences - later, it is through Cyra’s eyes.

This seemed like odd pacing because part of me expects that of course this story is going to focus on the teenage boy as he unwillingly leaves home, deals with grief and revelations about his destiny, develops his currentgift, learns to fight and so on. Because that’s what fantasy stories are about, right? Instead we get Cyra dealing with her family and her currentgift and her pain. Akos is important, and the book returns to his POV later on, but the story doesn’t revolve around him the way it so easily could.

I want to reread this, to see if I can look at it more clearly - I feel like it deserves more eloquence and objectivity than I can manage right now.

“Let me cook, okay?” He took the pot from her. The water sloshed, spilling on his shoes. “I guarantee I won’t see anything on fire.”
“That happened
one time,” she said. “I’m not a walking, talking hazard.”
Like so much of what she said about herself, it was both a joke and not a joke.
( )
  Herenya | May 16, 2017 |
I honestly don't know how to feel about this book. I wanted to like it, but I couldn't help but notice the vaguely racist tone to it. And that turned me off the entire story.

The story revolves around Akos and Cyra, two people from different tribes. They share a planet, but share no peace. Akos is from the Thuvhe nation, the son of one of the three Oracles. This places him in the equivalent of the upper middle class. And he is white. Normally, I could care less about race and rarely find a need to even mention it, but it is important here. Cyra is from the Shotet nation, the sister of the tyrannical leader of their people. And she is black.

Why is race important? Because the Thuvheits are portrayed as peaceful and civilized, while the Shotet are brutal savages. Yes, the race lines are blurred between the two main characters, but the characterization still exists. Even the languages of the two tribes is described in privileged ways. The Thuvhe language is described as beautiful and lyrical, while the Shotet language is called harsh with its stops and hard sounds.

There were moments where the brutality displayed by the Shotet ruler were essentially rape. True, it wasn't sexual, but it involved forcible entry and theft into another's mind. It makes sense within the book, but I don't want to give it away.

It was because of this brutality that Cyra's gift manifested, the trigger being pain. When medical advice is sought, she is told that the pain she feels comes from herself, is her choice, and is her fault. Later, she makes the comment that she deserves it. The pain was caused by what amounts to rape, but her character feels she deserves the pain? That idea is very reminiscent of the rape culture.

And lastly, the religion of the Shotet seemed to be based at least in part on the Muslim faith. There was a lot of negativity in its portrayal and that just seemed to perpetuate stereotypes.

Even aside from all of that, I just couldn't connect to the characters. The story was slow and even when it did pick up, it was too late for me. All in all, I think I will pass on the rest of the series. ( )
  Kiki870 | May 10, 2017 |
An engaging novel set around warring planets and featuring two character initially at opposing sides in a simmering conflict. This book is an excellent follow-up to the Divergent series, with the author displaying her skill to craft a decent, readable story with harsh and empathetic characters. My only compliant is that it did take a while to get into this story, and I skimmed much of the first 100 pages, which I regretted later as the information became relevant. Overall, an enjoyable read and one YA fans are likely to devour. ( )
  wagner.sarah35 | Apr 28, 2017 |
"Carve the Mark" is about two different tribes of enemy people living on the same planet. In this galaxy, there are oracles and fates given to the "fate-favored" families. One of the tribes, the Thevhusit, are allied with the rest of the galaxy. The other tribe, the Shotet, are bloodthirsty and are feared by most of the other planets. One day, the Shotet came for one of the Thuvhesit oracles. They took two of the oracle's sons, one was the one of the fated oracles (Eijeh), and the other was fated to die under the service of the Shotet ruling family (Akos). The Noavek's daughter, is named Cyra, and her brother, the sovereign, is named Ryzek. Cyra and Akos become close because she isn't as bad as the other Shotet, but Akos is trying to escape with his brother in tow. Ryzek is trying to unlock Eijeh's ability to tell the future, which Akos wants to save Eijeh from. He hopes Cyra will turn on her people and help him, despite all the problems they have.

This book was very interesting and full of action and drama. I absolutely loved this book, I hope that there is another book coming out. It ended with a cliff-hanger, which I absolutely love. This book made me feel compassion about the main characters. Especially when I read about what problems the main characters were going through. When someone reads this book, I hope that they love it as much as I do. I would read this book a thousand times again if I had to. ( )
  JasminA.B4 | Mar 24, 2017 |
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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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