Carve the Mark ★☆☆☆☆

carve-the-markI was so excited to get Carve the Mark, especially since I loved Divergent and I am an enormous Star Wars fan. But Carve the Mark left so much to be desired that I put it on my #DNF list when I was a quarter of the way through the book.

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.

Where do I start? Do I start in the weird two chapter opening introducing us to Akos at an indiscernible age? Do I start in Cyra’s prolonged childhood flashback? That’s where Veronica Roth started.

We were launched into Carve the Mark before either Akos or Cyra get their current gifts, before the Assembly announces the fates of the chosen on the broadcast, and before Akos is taken from Thuvhe and taken to Shotet. Are you lost? Because I sure was.

Carve the Mark uses a lot of jargon and presents a significant amount of culture, both of which are important to world building, but does a very poor job with setting and relationships.

We are constantly told about hushflowers and floaters, iceflowers and painkillers, but we are not shown them. I made it 25% of my way through Carve the Mark and I never had a clear visual of what the world looked like.

Honestly, I think it could have benefited from more time on the editing desk. I hope in the future that Roth’s publishers afford her work the time it needs and deserves. Unfortunately, Carve the Mark wasn’t fleshed out as well as her previous work.

By J. M. Tuckerman

J.M.Tuckerman is a neurodivergent writer with a big education. She holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults, an MA in Writing, and a BA in Writing Arts (specializing in Creative Writing, New Media Writing, and Publication; concentrating in New Media Production), which she somehow managed to earn despite her three very loud and large dogs. Jessica was lucky enough to intern at Quirk Books and Picador, USA while earning her master’s degrees. Her service dog, Ringo, is very proud of all that she has accomplished and hopes to be on a back cover of a published book with her very soon. An avid reader, writer, and lover of young adult and middle-grade literature, Jessica’s bookshelf is overflowing with hardbacks, paperbacks, and a million half-filled notebooks. She is a proud fur-mommy to two lab/st-bernard littermates, a retriever-mix service dog, and one orange little hobgoblin cat, all of whom have made very audible appearances on the Booked All Night podcast.

%d bloggers like this: