Carve the Mark (Carve the Mark #1)
By Veronica Roth
Genre: Science Fiction/Space Travel
Bang Bang Rating: 1/2
Akos, son of an oracle, lives on the farthest planet from the son-Thuvhe. His life along with many others is fated yet, he doesn’t know his fate until all the fates are announced space-wide. Now that all the fates have been revealed, all the fated including Akos and his family are in danger.
Cyra is the youngest daughter of the Shotet’s elite family. The Shotets live on Thuvhe but are at war with Akos’ people. Cyra’s family will stop at nothing to rule their planet including kidnapping and killing to change their fates.
I also forgot to mention that there’s a current or something and all the people in this book have powers and Cyra has chronic pain and I know a lot of people are upset at how that’s portrayed.
This is a brand new world set in space so of course it’s going to take some time to world build but I felt like this book was about 100 pages too long. The pacing was incredibly slow and considering how vast the Divergent world was, I expected Roth’s world building to be great. The farthest planet from the sun is the coldest-seen that before. Colorful festivals-seen that before. Marking your skin after a kill and fighting to the death in an arena-just read that in The Cursed Queen by Sarah Fine. People have varied powers that are a gift or a curse-seen that before. Then again, Divergent was similar to Hunger Games.
There are two major characters Cyra and Akos and you know they are eventually going to fall in love. I applaud Roth for trying to avoid the instal-love-trope but I would have preferred it to what we got here. There was no heat between the two. I think Roth should consult Bardugo or Maas on how to write a hot romance.
I had a problem with Akos. In the beginning of the book, he’s very soft spoken and kind of invisible. I thought he was eight years old until the text told me he was fourteen. In one chapter, he talks about how no one can hear him because he’s so soft spoken an on the next page, he’s yelling and threatening and defending his family-totally uneven. I feel like this is a rookie writing mistake and Roth is not a Rookie.
The big villain is Ryzek and he wasn’t developed enough to be the awful person he was. We only received two brief instances that turned him into a villain but it wasn’t enough to explain how HORRIBLE he was.
This book had a lack of urgency. There were two instances when I felt there was a big reveal. The major plot point was the reveal of a certain person’s fate and it was glossed over for a couple of chapters. The other was the revelation of a character and no one seemed upset about what this character did even though it was f’ed up. Because the book didn’t seem to think it was important, I didn’t either which make the book anti-climactic.
Now to address the big issue of race. I purposely avoided reviews because I didn’t want to be tainted so I had no idea this book made the brown people savages/bad guys. The first instance is when Cyra’s mother’s hair is described as hard to run your fingers through. I didn’t equate that with kinky hair/black hair because I know that some white people have really curly hair. However when Cyra is visiting a doctor on a different planet and the Shotet are described as brown, I thought, “Oh damn!” I can’t believe that people still make this mistake. Writing brown people as the savages/scavengers/killers is not diversity; it is perpetuating a stereotype. Black people are still fighting this stigma. I still get followed around stores because the employees think I’m going to steal and it’s only because I’m black. The Black Lives Matter movement is because brown people are unfairly targeting for their skin color. I can’t believe no one at Harper saw this as a red flag. I’m sure Roth didn’t mean for this to happen. This is what editors and beta readers and reviewers are for. They are meant to catch this.
I think Roth just tried too hard. This is a simple plot and all she had to do was add a new spin on it. She’s a good writer and that’s most of the battle. The problem with this book is that there was just too much going on and the main characters weren’t written well.
Here are a couple of quick spoilers that really bothered me in this book.