REVIEW: Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth

Publication year: 2017

Summary from Goodreads:
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 current gift 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 his 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?

Review

Having enjoyed Veronica Roth’s Divergent I had high hopes for Carve the Mark. I had a love hate relationship with the Divergent trilogy, loved the first one, liked the second one and hated the third one. So I hoped that Carve the Mark would follow suit with Divergent even if the next one didn’t. Personally, it wasn’t for me for a number of reasons.

I found the characters hard to connect to, not including Cyra who is the only character within the book that I actually liked at all. It felt as though the other characters didn’t get fleshed out as much as Cyra and I feel like that was a big let down, especially in a book that was as long as this one.

That leads me to another point, the story dragged. To me it felt like there was a lot of filler. Almost reminiscent of The Walking Dead; a lot of filler leading up to the ending. The pacing is just off, on several occasions when there would be something exciting happening the chapter would end and the moment is lost. The world building lacked a lot for me. The story is set in space but while reading it, it could be set anywhere. I frequently forgot it was meant to be set in space, which I feel is a missed opportunity. I just wonder what’s the point of setting it in space if it isn’t going to be a well developed world?

I’ve seen a bit of controversy surrounding the portrayal of the two groups within the book. The portrayal of non-white characters in this book was rather unfavourable and I do think that it is something that needs to be addressed. It plays quite a bit on racial stereotypes which I don’t think was necessary at all. I don’t know if that was intentional by Roth or if it was an unconscious decision but whichever it was, it wasn’t a good decision.

For me, this book was a massive let down but I wouldn’t say it’s the worst I’ve ever read. Having said that I don’t think I’ll be reaching for the next one in a hurry.

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