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Carve the Mark

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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 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 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 this brother out alive — no matter what the cost.
The 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?

Carve the Mark is Veronica Roth's stunning portrayal of the power of friendship — and love — in a galaxy filled with unexpected gifts.

473 pages, Paperback

First published January 17, 2017

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About the author

Veronica Roth

60 books460k followers
Veronica Roth is the New York Times best-selling author of Arch-Conspirator, Poster Girl, Chosen Ones, the short story collection The End and Other Beginnings, the Carve the Mark duology, and the Divergent series. She lives in Chicago, Illinois with her husband and dog.

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5 stars
23,686 (27%)
4 stars
31,364 (36%)
3 stars
20,287 (23%)
2 stars
6,671 (7%)
1 star
2,876 (3%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 8,833 reviews
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,993 reviews298k followers
February 9, 2017
1 1/2 stars. Just.... soooo sloooowwww.

Let's be honest, I actually liked Divergent for what it was - a fast-paced, exciting YA adventure that demanded very little of me. Sure, a lot of the world made absolutely no sense, and I still find that whole "I'm Dauntless so I jump off moving trains" thing so ridiculously laughable, but I found it really entertaining. In this book, though, I spent the majority of it wondering where the actual plot was.

It's set in space, and I've heard other reviewers talking positively about how it doesn't feel like it's in space, so maybe that will also seem like a positive for you, but I felt like this story could have been set literally anywhere. The world-building was lacking and the space aspect left undeveloped. Why even bother setting it in space if you're not going to make the most of that? Though I guess there's a definite possibility that the second book will reveal that the characters have actually been in Brooklyn all along, tripping on acid. So, there's that.

The story is set on a distant planet where people develop unique powers known as currentgifts, bestowed by a magical current that runs through the galaxy. Most people find their gifts useful, but to some people - like Akos and Cyra - the gifts can be a burden, and a means by which others can use them for their own gains. Cyra's violent and evil brother is the ruler of the Shotet and he uses Cyra's power - the power to deliver intense pain - to further his plans and torture his enemies.

Akos, on the other hand, is one of the gentle Thuvhe people. Carve the Mark opens with Shotet soldiers murdering Akos's father and capturing him and his younger brother. What happens next is a very long bit of filler about Akos's time in the Shotet soldier camp, honing his fighting skills and chatting with Cyra about their countries, their powers, or just their favourite colours. I was more than halfway through and wondering when something was going to happen.

It wasn't compelling enough. The characters themselves were not interesting enough. If I wasn't wary of the backlash I would get from writing a DNF review, I would have put it aside. The action occasionally picks up but it's not the start of a change of pace; it quickly dies down again. I felt like something happened once every hundred pages.

And it's not so easy to mask the simplicity, the lack of creativity, in Roth's latest work. Divergent had just enough quirks to make it stand out against the odds - the use of factions an exciting reminder of Hogwarts' houses for old Potterheads, and a new personality quiz for younger readers. Even those feeling underwhelmed were quick to take a faction quiz to see where they fell (Candor - thanks for asking!).

What does Carve the Mark have to make it stand out? I honestly don't have an answer.

The world is very simplistic. The Xmen-like powers are nothing we haven't seen before hundreds of times. The politics are uninteresting and the villain is mindlessly evil without any depth or development.

I said in a status update that there had been some confusion over the physical descriptions of the characters - that the violent savages are actually described as "so pale he looked almost like a corpse" and the pacifist Thuvhe people have "light brown skin" and "dense, curly hair" - but the reality is only marginally better than the rumours. Having a violently savage race vs. a gentle race without it being adequately addressed is arguably always problematic; it arguably always has troubling real-world connotations. And, even if you disagree with that assessment, at best it's just plain lazy.

A hard slog and utterly forgettable.

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Profile Image for thebookbitch.
340 reviews339 followers
January 1, 2022
Let's talk about the elephant in the room: Sponsered reviews from booktubers who were paid to give a positive review and are completely ignoring the voices of POC when they bring up some racial issues in this book. Now most of these Booktubers are ones with influence, aka, Jesse, Kat, Christine, Regan, Sasha (let’s not forget Sasha’s scandal either) - And all of them gave the book a 4 star rating and left reviews that were very similar. These reviews didn’t go into any context, just that they enjoyed it and the writing.

I also know many were paid to positively review the book because when I was a popular book blogger, I was offered a sponsor myself and for Harper to also allow me to host a giveaway - I declined.

My issue with all of this is that they're happy enough to not talk about the issues in the book or any criticism of Veronica Roth because they'd rather get paid instead of being honest to their following. You can't trust these people to provide honest reviews because they only care about money and ensuring the publishers sponsor future videos of theirs and continue to send them ARCs. While I understand that aspect of the booktube industry, I personally strive to always be honest about any and all books I read, including those received as ARCs.

Profile Image for karen.
3,988 reviews170k followers
June 20, 2018
oooh, goodreads choice awards semifinalist for best YA fantasy! what will happen?

i'm going to review this without giving too much away, which seems to be the publisher's desire, since this is the first time i have ever gotten an arc that had this

 photo IMG_8396_zpsfxkgc6pr.jpg

across every single page.

text blurred so no one yells at me.


i am someone who liked the divergent trilogy. i even sort of liked those four stories: Four: A Divergent Story Collection.

but i am SO SO pleased that roth has diverged (ho-HO!) from that path and gone off in a whole new direction with this book (which is apparently the first part of a duology). i do love an author with more than one idea in their head.

in a lot of ways, this book is like saga

it's got that same romeo and juliet in spaaaaaaace thing going on, where two people on opposite sides of a long and deeply-rooted cultural animosity develop special feelings for each other after one of them is basically the prisoner of the other.

 photo Saga803_zpsd226e817.jpg

no wings, no horns, and no teevee-headed people, but the two crazy kids in this book do have some unusual abilities in the form of currentgifts.


i still think this is a dumb word, but it's a little less dumb than i expected going into it. "current" does not mean a "now" gift, which is how i interpreted it from the synopsis, but rather to a gift from a magical current that runs through the galaxy, doling out special abilities to people. some of these abilities are useful, and some are more like burdens than gifts. think x-men. in spaaaaaaaace.

i am not usually a fan of space-based novels, and i'm even less enthusiastic about the romantic parts of books, especially in YA. however, i most certainly enjoyed this book. the fact that it is set in space is easy to forget, which sounds like a criticism, but worked out well for me. it's otherworldly, but it's not full of people floating about in spacesuits or going through wormholes or making me feel inadequate in my understanding of, you know, science.

the romance is what it is - it's certainly handled better than the romance in other books i have read (including divergent, now that i think about it). it unfolds slowly, it isn't too sappy, and it is grounded in circumstances that seem likely to inspire feelings of "you and me against the world;" where two characters who are treated as "other" by most people cleave to each other in their otherness and feelings develop in a way that makes sense.

although maybe not to them:

"You make no sense to me," she said.

and happily - cyra is not tris recast in spaaaaaaaace.

there are the superficial physical differences - cyra has darker skin, is much taller and … sturdier than tris, and by the end of the book, something happens that alters her appearance in a way that i personally think is SO FREAKING COOL, and also ghastly. but more importantly, her personality is not just warming up the tris leftovers. they are both proactive and badass with the fighting skills without getting too sentimental when violence needs doing, but cyra has had a much harder path dealt to her than tris, and it has toughened her worldview, giving her more depth and darkness than tris ever had.

Pity, I knew, was just disrespect wrapped in kindness.

i will confess, it took me some time to get into this one. it may have been my headspace at the time of reading, or it may truly have been a slow starter. divergent grabbed me from the get-go, and i had expected this would be a typically fast YA read for me, but i didn't start really digging it until i was about a third of the way through. some of the drag of it is indeed the names and sillywords, and some of it just doesn't make sense, but a lot of the divergent world didn't make a lick of sense, and it didn't stop it from being entertaining. if books had to make sense, christianity never would have caught on.

oh, and the title?

-"Carve the mark," I said, my throat tight.


-"Carve the mark," he said. He was so hoarse the words almost didn't come out.

what does it mean? why does it make throats tight and words hoarse?

blur blur blur - you'll have to wait for that.


i'm a little surprised by some of the negative reviews, 'cuz i liked it. are my critical faculties rusty? i'll review it soon and you can tell me i'm wrong. that's how this "goodreads" thing works, right?

OOH, i got my hands on an ARC! now i can enjoy many silly words and names and i hope it's fun!

i will dive in SOON!

i can't even make it through that synopsis without 1) getting bored and 2) activating my "fantasy genre silly-name" shield, but as one of the few people who did like the way Allegiant ended (or at least didn't have a problem with the thing most people hated it for), i gotta say i'm looking forward to this. bring it on, silly names and all!

come to my blog!
Profile Image for Meg (fairy.bookmother).
335 reviews51 followers
February 7, 2017
So, I should preface this with a few key points. I work for a bookstore and received an ARC of this book through my job. All opinions are my own. This review is not an attack on the author, the publisher, or anyone else. I am also white, and I am aware this affects my position to call something out as racist. I find that it's helpful to raise awareness of problematic representation in the media we consume.

In regards to advance copies being sent out to reviewers, I've noticed in a lot of Goodreads reviews that the bloggers state either at the beginning or the end of their review that HarperTeen (HT from here on out)  sponsored these reviews. Further research led me to discovering that HT paid this set of bloggers to review Carve the Mark. This behavior from a publisher is unsettling. Generally speaking, if one is going to be paid for reviewing something, one will not review the thing unfavorably (and if one reviews unfavorably, that reviewer runs the risk of tarnishing the relationship with said publisher). This behavior by the publisher is akin to self-published authors paying readers to post positive reviews of the work in order to boost sales. That's what I feel like HT is doing. Perhaps HT was aware of the problematic material in the book and decided to garner a set of positive reviews to boost sales before the book's official release. I feel as if that money could have been better used to assist Roth in adjusting some of the problematic ideas presented in the book.

I stopped reading at page 66. I was simultaneously bored and unsettled by the book and set it aside. This being said, I do not know how the book ends or develops, and I honestly don't care. Here are the main things I found problematic within those first 66 pages:

1. The Thuve and the Shotet. The Thuve are presented as a lighter skinned race who are passive. Akos, one of the main characters, views the Shotet as a brutal and fierce race of people (the Shotet killed Akos's grandmother). The first time the readers are introduced to the Shotet, the Shotet arrive to Akos's family farm and brutally murder his father.

2. The Shotet language is described as harsh and gutteral by Akos compared to his own softer sounding language (who discovers he has the ability to speak other languages without prior conscious knowledge of them). This view of languages is similar to the comparisons of the "music" of Romance (white) languages (French, Italian, Spanish) to the "harsh, guttural" (black) languages of the African continent.

3. While the Shotet are described has having varying tones of skin, Cyra's mother is described as having hair curly enough for fingers to be trapped in the curls while Cyra's is not as curly as that. Um. Okay.

4. Cyra's brother Ryz forcibly trades one of his memories for one of Cyra's. Cyra obviously struggles against it and can't fight it, and you know what? That's rape. Forcing someone to take something mentally (and inevitably physically) is an act of rape. Cyra was raped by her own brother. As a result of that rape, Cyra's power manifests itself as pain. Literally. Pain. By page 66, Cyra cannot touch other people without feeling pain, and other people cannot touch her without feeling pain.

5. Later, Cyra's mother asks the doctor "You're saying this gift is my daughter's fault? That she wants to be this way?" And the doctor (male) says, "Cyra, the gift comes from you. If you change, the gift will, too." So a man is telling a woman that her rape and her pain from that rape is her own fault and that she can change it at will. Yep. That's a blatant reinforcement of rape culture.

6. The religion of the Shotet draws heavily from Islamic ideology. Some of the religious leaders are called clerics, and some of the practices reinforce the negative views the West has on Muslim culture. We need to move past these harmful stereotypes.

7. While I enjoyed the Divergent trilogy well enough for what it is (even if it's a blatant knockoff of The Hunger Games and Harry Potter, it is also somewhat original in its ending), Carve the Mark is a lazy reimagining of the Star Wars and X-Men universes. It tries to be unique and diverse, but the glaring insensitivity within the first sixty pages result in its failing.

I was excited for this because there aren't too many science fiction novels lately for the YA audience. However, the problems in the novel fail its readers by relying on outdated, racist tropes that should be a thing of the past in 2017. Science fiction is about creating new worlds, exploring new ideas, and finding some kernel of society to examine. Carve the Mark does none of this. Instead of drawing on redundant, harmful tropes, science fiction should offer the author and the readers the ability to create something new, to flip tropes and reinvent them. It seems as if the editors failed to notice or didn't care, knowing that they'd have a cash-grab with the popular name attached; or it seems as if Roth is privileged enough to be unaware of the damage she has caused with these themes. Maybe it's a combination of both.

After the roller coaster of the last several years with the Black Lives Matter movement, the systematic oppression of Muslims, and the discussions I have had and read, I'm finding myself more and more sensitive to the plights of those who are oppressed. I want to give those people a voice rather than reinforce harmful views. Instead of purchasing or reading this, I recommend finding, like many others have suggested, an own voices/diverse work. My personal recommendation is N.K. Jemisin's The Fifth Season.
Profile Image for Khurram.
1,665 reviews6,660 followers
April 8, 2023
I was very disappointed with this book. Maybe after Divergent my expectations were too high, and it probably not fair to compare the tow although when a book is released saying the writer of Divergent it is hard not to expect a lot and compare the two. Also knowing Veronica Roth was a Star Wars fan and I am a Star Wars fan I figured what could possible go wrong.

The book is very slow then as soon as something exciting happens it is the end of the chapter and the moment is lost. Worse still in some cases of the cross over of the chapters it could be a couple of minutes later, a couple of hours, a day or in one case 2 years. There are a few short but brutal fight scattered around the book. Unfortunately for me there was not particularly well written. I know she thanks a friend who helped her choreograph the fight now in my mind I don't see how someone can strike with a knife with one hand then simultaneously (still in a standing position), remove a hidden blade from their boot and stab the person with it? The narration of the book is split between the two main characters. Cyra Noavek and Akos Kereseth. Like in the Divergent I think Veronica Roth is better a writing the female characters like Cyra. There are also mistakes in Akos narration (yes my grammar is not great so if I noticed it obvious), it is supposed to be first person like Cyra's but as he moves around it keeps he moved here or there he did that like someone is watching him.

Here the Current is the energy/life force believed to flow through everyone. It bestows gifts on everyone some good, some bad and some useless. these gifts seem to be extensions of the person personalities. it is unknown if the person personality brings their "gift" or if they are this way because they are going to receive a certain "gift". The Current also seems to be harnessed in machines and is the basis for most of their technology. There are also the Oracles people who have been gifted to see the future, but they seem to be a law on to themselves.

The planet Thuvhe is home to both the Thuvhe and Shotet people. Even though it is know interplanetary as Thuvhe. This because the Thuvhe farmers control the worlds biggest export of Hush and Ice flowers. The Shotet seem to be the more vicious and warrior people, and are known for marking kills by scaring their arms. Even though they are supposed to be the more "closed off" society they are more traveled people as part of their religious believes is a annual sojourn to a planet directed by the Currents and take there discarded technology and "garbage" back for renewal. When the Oracles decide to make peoples fates public the Shotet people make a daring move against the Thuvhe and Akos' family in general. Ryzek Noavek the ruler of Shotet (and Cyra's brother) will do anything to change his fate and show his people he is not weak.

As much as I wanted to like this book I just don't, it is slow paced then skips ahead and tries to fill in blanks later. Also for suck a big book. Not much seems to happen for me too much stuff is left undone especially by the end of the book. if like me you have been fans Roth's previous books, all I can say it did not live up to my expectations.
Profile Image for Matthew.
1,219 reviews8,988 followers
June 5, 2020
Three things:

1. This book tries to YA too hard
2. This book tries to Sci-fi too hard
3. This book tries to world build too hard

I do give it 3 stars because overall I found it enjoyable, but the the things above distracted me so much. (Note: Lowered to two stars on 10/17/2017 because I thought I already gave it two and I keep thinking back to how much I didn't care for it . . . so, I had to drop it!)

YA - There is a general YA formula, but if you mix it in well with a creative story, it doesn't matter if it has the same themes and general plot lines. This book wore YA on its sleeve - young love between enemies, siblings trying to save each other, every main character except the protagonists parents is between the age of 14 and 19. I could go on.

Sci-fi - I am still not sure why interplanetary travel was important in this story, but it happened. Mysterious powers that just so happen to be the most advantageous to the person who has them or convenient to the storyline. It really felt like Roth just wanted this book to be in space and threw out some special high tech weirdness to make it feel like other Sci-fi YA offerings (I was frequently reminded of Red Rising - which I did not care for very much)

World building - Oh man, names, locations, traditions, races - one big confusing mashup! This distracted me the most. So many weird names and odd relationships I had a hard time keeping track of what was going on. The locations and travel were not very clear (see Sci-fi above). I couldn't tell if they were on one planet, several planets, what the ultimate political structure was, etc. Maybe all this is clear for some, but I was lost a lot of the time.

Despite all of this, though, I did enjoy the story and was not disappointed in the plot and cliffhangers for a sequel. I just hope Roth doesn't try so hard to do what is expected.
Profile Image for Lauren (Shakespeare & Whisky).
256 reviews442 followers
April 25, 2017
This book already has 70k reviews and ratings... fml.

This book is interesting not because of it's story (which is dull) but because of the circumstances surrounding it's release.


Every now and then a book comes along that presents some toxic ideas which are commonly seen in tons of books. But our GoodReads community turns into a hive mind and decides this one book is the absolute worst.

I can't help but feel that this book got unlucky. The Winner's Curse was gushed about despite it's disgusting representation of colonialism and slavery. Sarah Maas had published a dozen books, short stories and novellas before readers started to grumble about the lack of LGBT characters. Mark Lawrence, Prince of Thorns and Patrick Rothfuss got almost no flack for their sexist stereotypes.

So the question becomes- are people outraged by the offensive stereotypes or are they just unable to ignore them because the story was subpar?

Race in fantasy is a difficult thing. Most writers avoid it entirely, it's a chronic truism that if the book is a fantasy then you can assume everyone is white. In Carve the Mark I'm not sure there was any way for Roth to avoid this controversy. She set up a situation in which two cultures clash. Providing any sort of racial markers to either group was going to cause a reaction.

For the criticism of ableism- all I can really add is people who experience disability or chronic pain are likely to have the clearest perspective on this but since there are entire spiritual practices devoted to incorporating pain into knowledge of god it would probably be useful to remember that there is not one right way to write about difficult experiences. The most useful discussion around this stuff is seeing if the writer correctly identified a possible response to a human experience. They aren't representing your experience. If every time a writer tried to write about an experience they don't have personal knowledge of they got lambasted… well good luck getting any marginalised experiences into print.

Perhaps the backlash against this novel will be an important marker to writers and publishers alike? God knows I've gritted my teeth thru enough "white saviour", "black aggressor", "magical negro" and "noble savage" stereotypes to be eager to see these tropes die out. Maybe Roth's new book is the bloody sacrifice needed to make publishers sit up and take notice? In which case this mediocre book can be said to have done some real good in the literary world.

But I can't help suspecting this novel will be thrown on a pyre righteous of indignation like other outliers before it is ignobly forgotten.

Readers will continue to eat up sexist and racist stories because the characters are swoon worthy, the plot is thrilling or the reader's who object are "oversensitive sjw's".

This controversy is food for thought for writers and readers alike. Despite what some people claim stories are important cultural indicators. They shape and define how we experience and respond to the world around us. A story is never "just a story" and I'm pleased to see so many fellow readers engaging with subtext and connotation, rather then reviews full of gifs saying "omfg love interest is soooo hawt".


The second thing worth noting was the volume of paid reviews this book has on the front page. There are a ton of studies that show how being financially paid to review a product unconsciously inflates reviewers' scores. This is the first novel I've come across on GR were the front page was saturated with paid reviews. GR has been fiercely defended as a place created for readers by readers (and the bloody remnants of many writing careers can still be found scattered across the site).

In a world of tightly controlled image creation GR members have managed to carve out a space that can be downright vicious to anyone who tries to infiltrate the community for commercial purposes.

As a community we need to think carefully about accepting paid reviews as a common practice. It destroys authenticity. Most regular users are voracious readers. It would be wonderful if we could all earn a living by reading books. But here's the thing: you won't. Even if a tiny fraction of readers manage to earn a living wage reviewing books it will be at the cost of their personal integrity and the community's effectiveness. Goodreads works because it is real. It is genuine word of mouth supercharged across the globe. Marketers might be drooling to get a slice of the PR pie but we as members decide whether that is organic, authentic acclaim or... not.

There is a very real risk if this trend continues that GR will become an advertisement billboard. Our choices now will determine the future of goodreads.

If you see a review that is paid for don't like it. Let the other member know you are unhappy with their decision to accept payment for a review. These are two really easy things members can do to curb these trends. If paid reviews get no "likes" and languish on the 20th page publishers won't bother trying to curate the book's image. Likewise, if members see that accepting paid reviews breaks their friends trust, they won't accept them.

How we address commercial encroachment in Good Reads matters. I don't come to GR to read 30 paid ads on the book I'm about to read, do you?

Edit: Some booktubers and reviewers have vigorously defended themselves. I wanted to add evidence to my claim that the inflation in reviews occurs even where the reviewers believe they are being objective :


Although this refers to amazon reviews I think it provides sufficient evidence for the same problem on GR.

For further evidence of how fucked up it is having sponsored reviews on goodreads see Riley's review Which describes how her contact was dissolved when she notified the publisher she would be writing a negative review.

Edit: Fixed formatting/ spelling/ added links.
Profile Image for jessica.
2,555 reviews35.6k followers
January 16, 2019
this book reminds me of preteen me, meaning it tries too hard to fit in with all the cool kids. oof. not a good look for anyone involved. trust me.

this book tries a little too hard to be YA relatable, to be sci-fi intense, and to have the most fantastic world ever built. and i think because there is so much focus on all of these different elements, it neglects one major component - THE PLOT. my goodness. its practically nonexistent. combine that with some slow pacing and you get many bored readers. i wasnt so bored that i couldnt be bothered to finish it, because there were some parts that actually interested me, but i did feel my eyes glaze over from time to time.

but the concept still remained interesting to me throughout, even if i had to trudge through it. and i thought the characters were relatable and engaging enough. i do think they took a backseat to all of the world building, which is a shame. but i was invested enough to care about seeing how everything worked out in the end.

overall, this has its ups and downs. its a pretty average read, and not one i would particularly recommend to anyone, but i dont regret reading it.

3 stars
Profile Image for Tehanu.
336 reviews56 followers
Shelved as 'lost-interest'
March 3, 2015
After Allegiant I don't know wether to trust Veronica Roth. I mean, that book... that fucking book:

But let's give it a chance! Let's read the description:

"in "the vein of 'Star Wars'"
"a boy's "unlikely alliance" with an enemy"
"what they most desire: for one, redemption, and the other, revenge,"

Okay, okay! I'm in! I'm SO in!!




Listen to Solo, Veronica! Listen to him!
April 15, 2017
I'd like to put a disclaimer for all the controversy surrounding this novel. I read this before anyone and didn't see the underlying issues everyone saw with the story until a few of my friends told me about all the explosions on social media sites I don't even have. I did still adore this story, I'd be lying if I said I didn't, but I don't want to offend anyone by liking this book. I want everyone to know I can't possibly relate to these issues, but my eyes are open and I understand people are hurt. Please understand it is not my intention to support something wrong or to hurt anyone...I am just keeping my review as is because it's how I felt about the story-candidly.

 photo Carve the Mark Quote_zpswovbk5j4.png

Wow. I just…there are times when the words flow out of me in torrents and I can’t stop no matter how hard I try, but then there are times when I have literally one million things to say…and no idea how to say them. This book touched me in a way I’m not often used to-at least, not anymore. A long time ago, when I finally found my favorite genres and what made me the happiest, I was finding a seamless stream of five star books because I had finally found what worked for me. But lately, those streams of winners are harder to come by.

For one, I’m extremely picky now-I know what I like, down to the very last word, and anything less is unacceptable. It’s no secret to any of my friends that I love all things mayhem, death, destruction, forbidden love mixed with peril peril peril. But not many authors truly, truly give you all those things at once. It’s so rare, anyway. And, because it’s so rare, those authors who do deliver on all things nasty and despicable in the name of love make it impossible to forget who they are.

“You’re a Noavek,” he said stubbornly, folding his arms. “Brutality is in your blood.”

I have this little niche of what I like to call ‘peril authors’. They are my go-to when I want something that isn’t always rainbows and unicorns. Now, I’m not saying the stories don’t eventually end happily…but they leave you with some very nasty cliffhangers. Did I happen to mention that nasty, white-knuckle cliffhangers are literally my favorite thing EVER?? So, these authors, they never shy away from doing what they need to pack a devastating punch. I never go all in when my head isn’t in the right place-after all, even the most dastardly and peril obsessed reviewers need a break from all the heart-break. We aren’t robots, ya know?? And, after a while, if you read hardcore books one after the other, you are bound to become a little bit jaded.

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So, when I was offered this beauty from the publishers of Veronica Roth’s newest MASTERPIECE, I, of course, accepted. For one, what an honor-little ol’ me, getting a book from a best-selling MEGA FAMOUS author before most of the world. It’s crazy, and I did not look a gift horse in mouth-I didn’t hesitate in responding. Secondly, I adored-ABSOLUTELY ADORED-the Divergent trilogy. And not just the first two-all three. Veronica Roth, while a very cunning and devious woman, is someone I wholly admire. Her writing is poetic and flows effortlessly from paragraph to paragraph, page to page. I have ALWAYS lumped her in with my favorite poetic authors.

“A knife,” I said. “A hot poker. A rusty nail.”

“You are more than any of those things.”

And, while she isn’t someone I think of weekly, or even monthly, I have never forgotten her after her shocking finale to the Divergent series. The ‘what-if’s and ‘what will she do next’s were never far from my mind…it has just taken a while to finally see a new book in the works from this spectacular woman.

“And you’re starting to sound kind of cocky, for someone I routinely beat up.”

I know many people are weary of what comes next from the daring author who shocked the world (and that is the LAST time I will mention her former series, because it is doing a great injustice to this beautiful book), and I know there are going to be a million comparisons-it’s just inevitable. But I truly saw something so amazing here-something I never thought I’d see. It would be such a shame to not give this duology a chance because of an uncertain future and phobia of the past. I know everyone is quick to fall in love with main characters (I fell so hard, so fast for these two new characters that it shocked even me) and people are quick to protect those they love---but the love I feel for these two AMAZING characters is so unparalleled, and permanent, that I must insist on reading this the moment it comes out.

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When I looked at him again, he was smiling at me hesitantly.

“You love them,” he said. “All these places, all these things.”

I’ll admit that I was scared of the prospect of space travel-and for that matter, space lingo-but not once did I ever slow down or feel lost as I was racing through this fast-paced, addicting story. And that’s my favorite thing-I never wanted to put this book down. Roth’s passion was reflected on each and every page, echoing to us in a new, inventive way with each arising issue. Each character was created in a delicate manner, making for layered, flawed, and believable characters. These were people you wanted to root for, and you never really knew if they were going to win-in both mental and physical scenarios.

"You and I, we’ve become what we were made to become.”

Their minds were tested in unimaginable and barbaric ways, twisting what they believed and hoped for in life to the point of utter despair. Loyalties were bent and broken, repaired and restored-the boundaries of love and family snuffed out in a manner of minutes. You were forced to pick a side and survive…whether you wanted to or not.

The same thing she always did, only now he noticed-noticed that he knew it, that was; knew her routines, knew her.

And liked her.

Akos is from the peace loving Thuvhe, a wintery world where you have to wear goggles to walk around outside. It’s beauty is unparalleled to its inhabitants, crystallized and serene and snowy as can be. Grays are the norm, much like the environment…which can be seen as dull to others. Cyra is Noavek-Brutal and unforgiving Shotet tyrants who wear blue. Their beliefs couldn’t be any different, nor could the difference in style of life: One place bloodthirsty, unrelenting in its quest for power and dominance. Pain is no stranger here. You can immediately see why our two main characters are the way they are, and you instantly feel for both. Sides are hard to choose and lines are blurred…as becomes evident the farther into the story we get.

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And here comes the good stuff, the stuff that makes this beautiful love story possible. Forbidden love…isn’t it the best thing ever, when done correctly? Yeah. I think so, too. Cyra’s currentgift is pain, Akos’s is to diffuse people’s gift. Both very valuable currentgifts…and both susceptible to manipulation and vulnerable to almost everyone. When paired together without a say in the matter, they realize they can be an asset to one another. Neither is willing to put all their trust in the other, but they also don’t fight what seems to be a tentative alliance. After all, it’s nice having someone who understands you (to a degree), someone who is there to take some of the burden away, who wants to help (again, to a degree-they do have differing conclusions to what they believe to be their story).

“Honor,” I said with a snort. “Honor has no place in survival.”

But, as they get closer, what was once clear begins to become a convoluted cloud of emotions and hope-could they possibly want the same thing?? Is she truly a monster, or can she still be someone who helps make the world a better place? Does she want to help Akos…even at the expense of going against her only brother?

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Akos’s kindness was something that resonated deeply within me right away-but, even more than that, his gradual fierceness. He’s not perfect, nor is he indestructible, but his silent fury mixed with an unrelenting kindness made him an instant book boyfriend that I was absolutely obsessed with. And then Cyra-one of my favorite female leads of all time. Some might say I even have a girl crush. Yeah-serious stuff, right?

“Next time, when something that sounds remarkably like war drums is going to wake me at dawn, could you maybe warn me?”

Cyra deals with pain 24/7. Literally-all day, all night-no matter what. Until she dispenses that pain into an unwilling victim, causing them pain so severe they would reveal their deepest, darkest secrets. She is numb to the power now, her brother’s little torture device. Cunning, witty, and skilled in combat like nobody’s business, she is not to be trifled with-seriously, she’s so badass. But-and probably why my girl crush (on top of my book boyfriend crush (so much win)) is shining so bright-she wasn’t so strong she didn’t have vulnerability or weakness. She lost sometimes. She didn’t always make the right choices. And, if I’m comparing here, I kept thinking of a female book character I really didn’t like...she kind of made up the anatomy of Cyra, here.

It was not hope; it did not soar; it slithered, clawed, and dragged, and it would not let me stop.

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I saw a lot Adelina from Marie Lu’s most recent trilogy. Dark, corrupted, and willing to do what she had to for those she loved-and herself. She had to relieve the pain sometimes, you know? It’s not all about choice. But, see, I hated Adelina. She was okay, I guess, but I found her pathetic and whiny-not here. Cyra took the BEST PARTS of Adelina and made her someone I adored. Okay, I didn’t really read the second or third books of that trilogy, nor is there a direct line that connected these characters in any way-I just got the vibe, that feeling, and I dug it.

"I like to move."

"I've noticed."

She is a tool of destruction, of torture, she is a key to be used in war-she can bring any one person to their knees with her amazing power-but she is vulnerable to the pain, and to herself-she is resigned to be the monster she was fated to be. But not ONCE does she whine about it-it’s her life and she lives with it daily…And I found that so amazing. She just goes about her life in suffering, trying to (at Akos’s influence) be the best she can be. And, again, she doesn’t always succeed. Did I mention I love her? And Akos? And I ship them? Hm. Well. I’ll say it again: they are everything to me.

He offered touch to me so freely, without realizing how rare it was. How rare he was, to a person like me.

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So, as you can see, I’m hooked. I was hooked from the first part that was in his POV, and I was sunk-line and sinker-when I met Cyra. These two were made for one another, but born enemies. They don’t want to like each other, and they don’t always understand, but...things happen. And isn’t slow burn romance the best kind of romance (especially paired with forbidden romance-HA thought you caught me there, didn’t you)?? Roth’s writing was, as promised, better than ever and even a bit more mature, if that’s even possible. She writes in a way you don’t once get confused about, no matter the content, and makes you physically ache for more. It’s been a long time since I was so stressed out I couldn’t breathe, but more than once I found myself gasping for breath and clutching my heart-stopping and staring at the page with wide eyes as I tried to calm my breathing (maybe this partially has to do with being pregnant, but I say no, I was just super excitable because...excellence at work, people) and get myself under control. I smiled so big without even realizing it that it bordered on embarrassing. I tried, and failed, repeatedly to find errors with the book and why my best of friends wouldn’t like the story (or anyone, for that matter, if I’m being honest), but never once could think of anything. And, if there was something, it was nit-picky and I completely missed it. I don’t know if this book is for everybody, or even what everyone else will think-All I can do is go with my heart and my gut, and they both say this is a winner. I know, without a doubt, that when this releases it will be my (late) Christmas gift to all friends and family that read. I know it’s a certainty I will be rushing to Barnes and Noble on release day to buy myself a hardback of this new absolute favorite. I have found three favorite books this year, all by amazing authors almost everyone loves…and this book tops them all. So, my hope is, with this long-winded review, that I’ve convinced or intrigued almost everyone to give this book a shot. And, for those who are not so easily swayed (or manipulated), honestly, its their loss.


**Quotes taken from an uncorrected galley and are subject to change upon release of the finished book**

For more of my reviews, please visit:

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March 27, 2023

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Divergent Wars: One Force will define you.

Curious (and polite) people kept asking me if I was enjoying CARVE THE MARK while I was reading it. For the flippant response to that question, please refer to the opening of the song "Nobody But Me" by The Human Beinz. Or, you know, check out my star rating. (But my way is more fun, and you get a fun song out of it, too!)

I was one of the few people who did not like DIVERGENT. Part of that was the world-building that didn't make sense, and part of that was what I perceived as jarring anti-intellectualism. You might say I'm being oversensitive. Maybe. Or maybe the author's choice to make the intellectual faction into what were basically a bunch of fascists did not sit well with me. And no, I'm not just saying that because I scored as "erudite" in that stupid faction quiz. (Well, mostly. *sniff, sniff* I'm not a fascist!)

When I heard that Roth was penning a new series of books, I was skeptical. Especially when it was being blurbed as a cross between Star Wars and DIVERGENT. I liked one of those things very much, but would space opera and the compelling promise of vengeance and battles be enough to compensate for the DIVERGENT similarities? And, more importantly, how would her style evolve? Or would it be more BS about smart people wrecking society and brave people jumping out of trains?

CARVE THE MARK is a very weird book - and, to its credit, is a very different story from DIVERGENT. It's about the Thuhve, a "peace-loving" people, and the Shotet, an opportunistic and war-like people who are ruled by a "tyrant" and who carve marks denoting their kills into their forearms. Akos, the Thuhvian, is taken capture by the Shotet's ruler, Rhyzek, along with his brother, because his brother has the power of prophecy. Cyra is Rhyzek's sister, and has the ability to cause people incredible pain - or even death - upon physical contact. Rhyzek uses her to do his dirty work and to put fear into his people.

The power source in this book is something called the "current," which from what I gathered is like a cross between the "Lifestream" in Final Fantasy VII and the Force in Star Wars. It's a physical thing of immense power that people can draw upon, creating "currentblades" (e.g. lightsabers) and being born with "currentgifts" (e.g. the Force) that manifest in different ways to do different things.

Okay, cool. A little derivative, but hey, super powers aren't exactly a novel concept, and I'm always down to read about them if done well. What's 100% original these days, anyway? Exactly.

But I could not get into CARVE THE MARK at all. It felt very amateurish. It was too long, and the characters were not developed at all. At least Tris had some emotional complexity to her and the romance between Four and Tris was compelling (and arguably the best part of the story). On the other hand, the romance between Cyra and Akos has zero chemistry, and when they start talking about being in love with each other it comes totally out of left field because, again, zero evidence for it (that I perceived - by that point, I was skimming pretty heavily, and I may have missed a telltale "clue").

CARVE THE MARK read like a very bad debut for me, with shoddy world building, a cliche and cowardly villain, and two heroes who don't really have any interesting personality traits or conflicts. I'm honestly shocked by how unpleasant the experience of reading this was, and if I had read this without knowing who the author was, I might have thought that this was a cleaned-up self-published effort or a debut tentatively put forth by a first-time (and very young) author.

I'm honestly disappointed because I love space opera - it's one of my favorite genres - and I was hoping to see a mainstream author write a glowing example of it, because if space opera boomed like the dystopian genre did in the late 2000s, I'd be one happy gal.

Maybe it will, but let's not make this book the poster child for the movement.

1 star.
Profile Image for Bibi.
1,288 reviews3,232 followers
Shelved as 'on-hold-for-now'
April 11, 2018

Having spent the last hour reading through Review 1, Review 2, Tweets, opinion posts, in addition to the comments threads, there seems to be a whole lot of furore about this book which, I must say, now has me intrigued enough to want to read Carve the Mark.

A few reviewers felt the need to disclaim previous reviews, while some bloggers sought to distance themselves from both the author and HarperTeen, the publishers. My understanding is that one, the book has racial undertones, the author's allusion to chronic pain as a source of strength for one of the characters is another problematic issue.

Empathy, I understand. What has me concerned is that I haven't read, yet, a review from a person of color. Should any of my friends have a review from a POC, please, feel free to share. Nevertheless, I will set aside the 20+ (laugh/scoff, you know you want to) "currently-reading" books to gladly dive into this one. Will I find it offensive? Perhaps, but what I know you all know is, I'll be 100% real.
Profile Image for Rose.
1,879 reviews1,065 followers
February 6, 2017
Long review for a rather long read. I'm still struggling to figure what words are appropriate to describe the mediocrity and utter pointlessness of this book. My thoughts about it aren't as concise as this review will turn out being, because I only have so many words to fit in my review space and I want to illustrate why this book ended up being such a horrible experience. It's my worst read of 2017 thus far, though I considered giving it credit for at least the last quarter of the book holding my attention (Honestly though, slogging through 80% of this only to get to intriguing scenes of action/character stake investment? Not worth it, definitely not worth it) . I'm a fast reader, it wasn't the length of this book that deterred me - my library copy clocked in just around 460 some pages - but this book was such a tedious, offensive mess.

Before I address the most pervasively discussed problems in this narrative (i.e. how racist and and ablelist this book is on several levels. There isn't an argument to be made about that - it exists in this book even if the author herself doesn't realize that it does in this narrative, and I picked up on it in several instances in this narrative, probably more than I can direct quote in this review. I'll do my best to illustrate these points using quotes from the text where I can, though), I'll discuss the aspects of this book that are a little easier for me to address in quick notation.

As a bit of background, I had actually planned to read this book quite a while back. My experiences with Roth's books have been rocky to say the least. I thought "Divergent" was okay (though with issues), "Insurgent" was less okay (with more issues, but it held my attention still) and "Allegiant" was just...not good is putting it mildly. But I figured I'd give "Carve the Mark" a chance because it had all the bullet points of a series I might like. It's sci-fi, it's set in space, involves political intrigue and manipulation of powers/unique abilities of its cast, has some romantic inclinations, and involves a purportedly epic clash between different groups of people. (I'm deliberately ignoring the comparisons to Star Wars/X-Men because that sets up unrealistic expectations, and I don't buy into that kind of hype.)

I started hearing about issues with this narrative on the day of release, and several of my Goodreads friends and trusted bloggers had mixed reactions to it as well. I'm thinking "Oh crud, glad I didn't preorder it. I still want to read it; maybe I should just get it from the library if it doesn't have ten billion holds." On one of my routine trips to my library, I saw the book on the shelf and was wondering like "Can I actually check this out?" Turns out I could, and I did, and my initial thoughts were whether I was lucky to get one or if I'd set myself up for disappointment.

The long and short of "Carve the Mark's" story centers on the conflict between two space societies: the Thuvue and the Shotet. People in this world have unique abilities called currentgifts, which by definition in the glossary of the story "develop during puberty. They are not always benevolent." The story attempts to showcase the perspectives of Akos and Cyra from those nations respectively. Akos and his brother Eijeh, after a series of violent events, are kidnapped by the Shotet and made to use their currentgifts for the benefit of Cyra's family. Eijeh is subjected under the influence of Cyra's tyrannical brother Rhyzek, while Akos uses his abilities to aid Cyra. Cyra is a young woman whose existence is tormented by her currentgift, but yet she enacts her brother's will by serving as a weapon under his direct command. Cyra doesn't want to hurt anyone or serve as her brother's weapon in their kingdom, but her ability impedes her and can't escape the guilt of a secret (read: not so secret) that hangs over her head - both by her brother's influence and her own guilt.

Cyra and Akos have a rocky relationship with competing interests at first, but as they learn about each other's experiences, they grow closer romantically and end up making plans to take Rhyzek down. Of course this journey isn't without a few curveballs (supposedly, I honestly didn't find them that shocking) the narrative throws at the reader in the end, and apparently leaves to continue in this purported duology.

While this summary of the story wouldn't seem so terrible when taken by that barebones approach, there were so many things wrong with "Carve The Mark" in execution that it's difficult to know where to begin. The pacing in the novel is atrociously sluggish, starting with very little conflict or explanation and meandering more often than not (I found this to be a similar problem in Roth's "Alliegiant"). The worldbuilding is weakly drawn from the beginning, and the presentation of the world is awkward and confusing. For a book that blends sci-fi and fantasy in a space centered universe - there's never a chance to become immersed or invested in the environment. Granted, this is a universe where Oracles determine the fates of people with currentgifts and note how their gifts influence the balance of power between the societies. Akos and Cyra come from two powerful families and have powerful gifts that they develop over time, though there isn't much attention to the system by which this works (what little there is comes across as confusing). "Carve the Mark" trades between their perspectives, starting with Akos in third person, while Cyra's perspective is written in first person POV.

It was hard to care for any of the cast of characters in this book other than Cyra. Cyra had the more prominent storyline and scenetime, while Akos's perspective suffered from being too emotionally distant despite some purportedly harrowing experiences. Add to the fact that Roth chose to telegraph certain experiences and emotions of the characters - withholding certain revelations key to the storyline for no particular reason at all (and you could guess what those revelations were without getting too far into the storyline - I predicted them fairly quickly.) The narrative would've benefited from them being shown and fleshed out much more than the attention they received. So, the writing and establishment of the plot was much weaker than it would've otherwise been with greater care and time taken to develop the world. Don't even get me started on the one-note side characters and villains. For a reportedly violent sci-fi world with prominent clashes, when certain characters bit the bullet, I found it hard to care because I really didn't feel like I knew the characters in this novel that well. Even Ryzek's motivations felt paperthin despite the attempt to showcase his flaws and eventually the rationale he uses to manipulate his sister into being his weapon of choice to enact his assertion of power.

Cyra and Akos's characters had a few scenes where I could believe in their chemistry and slow burning relationship, but I felt my connection to them was shortchanged because of the way the narrative chose to not only push them together for convenient circumstance, but ultimately the narrative becoming another example in problematic YA tropes for I can heal your problems with the power of love!

These are just the mentions of structural and narrative issues with "Carve the Mark" without mentioning the problematic presentation of themes and depictions in the work. And it's perhaps the racist and ableist depictions that showcase not only how lazy the construction of this work really was, but how it attempted to incorporate such themes in a flawed and insensitive way.

It may be ironic of me to point out this video of Roth talking about the importance of portrayal of race in this narrative but I honestly think that despite the intention of *trying* to be inclusive of different races with her intentional incorporation of skin tones and hair textures - she completely misses the point of what it means to be inclusive.

When you are writing minority characters accurately, you are dealing with more than just an incorporation of skin tones. I think that point bears repeating: When you are writing minority characters accurately, you are dealing with more than just an incorporation of skin tones. Part of the problem with certain portrayals of minority groups in fiction, including in sci-fi and fantasy, is that there's a history of harmful stereotypes of minority groups in comparison to White/Caucasian or majority groups. This stereotyping is very evident in numerous areas of "Carve the Mark". I felt that Justina Ireland did a fine job of pointing out just a few of these problems alongside quoting some examples where this is noted in the text. But these are only just a few examples.

This book was ethnocentric from the very beginning against the Shotet group, and that never changed through the entire story.

Chapter 1: "The Shotet were a people, not a nation-planet, and they were known to be fierce, brutal. They stained lines into their arms for every life they had taken, and trained even their children in the art of war. And they lived on Thuvhe, the same planet as Akos and his family—though the Shotet didn’t call this planet “Thuvhe,” or themselves “Thuvhesits”—across a huge stretch of feathergrass. The same feathergrass that scratched at the windows of Akos’s family’s house."

“Sometimes it is easy to see why people become what they are,” his mom said softly. “Ryzek and Cyra, children of a tyrant. Their father, Lazmet, child of a woman who murdered her own brothers and sisters. The violence infects each generation.” <- This is Akos's mother telling him about how harmful the Shotet people are. (Prejudice is a dish served cold in this narrative, apparently.)

Chapter 2: Akos knew it without really knowing it: These men were Shotet. Enemies of Thuvhe, enemies of theirs. People like this were responsible for every candle lit in the memorial of the Shotet invasion; they had scarred Hessa’s buildings, busted its glass so it showed fractured images; they had culled the bravest, the strongest, the fiercest, and left their families to weeping. Akos’s grandmother and her bread knife among them, so said their dad. <- There's the dehumanization and use of "they" - think "Save the Pearls" problematic attributions.

“No woman,” one of the men said to one of the others. “Wonder where she is?”
“Oracle,” one of the others replied. “Not an easy one to catch.”
“I know you speak our language,” Aoseh said, sterner this time. “Stop jabbering away like you don’t understand me."
Because you would have your darker skinned enemies speak a broken form of your prevalent language.

Chapter 3: “Today,” she told me, “is the first day that most Shotet will lay eyes on you, not to mention the rest of the galaxy. The last thing we want is for them to fixate on your hair. By fixing it up, we make it invisible. Understand?”
I didn’t, but I didn’t press the issue. I was looking at my mother’s hair. It was dark, like mine, but a different texture—hers was so curly it trapped fingers, and mine was just straight enough to escape them.
My mouth dropped open at this inclusion because it's bad enough that people of color are often degraded by their natural hair types or forced to conform to some standard of beauty, and this serves to reinforce cultural self-hate of appearances in favor of the "majority" group's hair type. WTF man?

Chapter 15: “I’m not a fool, no matter what you people think of the Thuvhesit,” Akos snapped, his cheeks going ruddy as he picked up the practice blade. “You think I’m going to just let you set me up for a fall?” <- "You people" again. Dehumanizing language.

“So you, what? Leap straight to killing him? What is it with you Shotet?” Akos said in a low voice. Akos says this to a Shotet person who makes a bargain with him, involving killing someone. Casual prejudicial assumptions even from the LI. Ugh. This is an offshoot of the same conversation in the mention above.

There are a number of times when Cyra participates in her own self-hatred for identity, not just for what she's done and the secret she holds, but also her own ease of disposition for violence. This is contrasted against Akos, for when he subjects himself to a contract kill versus killing for survival, he's disgusted and nearly breaks down over the death. One could almost argue that in some ways Cyra corrupts him and he "fixes" her as his love interest, which I thought was pretty messed up in the context of the story.

As far as the ableism goes, this book portrays such in two dimensions: chronic pain and self-harm/attributions to self-cutting. This narrative portrays the Shotet in demonizing way with respect to the novel's namesake "Carve the Mark".

Chapter 15: Akos rubbed at the marks by his elbow, and thought of the savagery of them. Keep in mind this is a custom of the Shotet, and figures that he'd refer to it in some way as being "savage."

The most damning quote I found was one I partially quoted in my status updates.

Chapter 14: "Says the person who’s been scarring herself for things she was coerced into doing,” he said wryly.
It wasn’t funny, what either of us was saying. And then it was. I grinned, and after a moment, so did he. A new grin—not the one that told me he was proud of himself, or the one that he forced when he felt like he needed to be polite, but a thirsty, crazed kind of smile.
Basically the context of this is that Cyra was talking about how she marked herself not for the number of kills she made with her ability but for every time she had pain. I think this is triggering for people who may have recovered from some degree of self-harm/cutting. And the fact that Akos and Cyra laugh about it made me want to throw the book down in disgust, even if it is bitter/dark humor. It's not funny.

And definitely not cool to romanticize chronic pain in the form of an attempted sacrifice:

Chapter 25: Akos’s eyes—full of tears, full of pain—found mine. Pushing the shadow toward him would have been easy. I had done it many times before, each time a mark on my left arm. All I had to do was let the connection form, let the pain pass between us like a breath, like a kiss. Let all of it flow out of me, bringing relief for us both, in death.
But he did not deserve it.
This time, I broke the connection, like slamming a door between us. I pulled the pain back, into myself, willing my body to grow darker and darker, like a bottle of pink. I shuddered with the force of that power, that agony.
I didn’t scream. I wasn’t afraid. I knew I was strong enough to survive it all.

I feel like there were more problems in this book than I could care to cite as far as the portrayals were concerned. I understood that this was supposed to be a narrative showcasing two very flawed characters put in extraordinary circumstances and brought together under those terms, but taking and appropriating from established cultures and loosely building a narrative with many haphazard stereotypes, some even affirming awful and harmful attributions, is really messed up. Romanticizing pain, including measures out of the control of the person suffering from it, isn't acceptable either.

I definitely won't be reading the next book in this series. And I'm unlikely even to pick up another narrative by Roth in the future.

Overall score: 1/5 stars.
Profile Image for Simona B.
898 reviews3,009 followers
February 23, 2017
EDIT 11/02/2017/: Lowering my rating to two stars because holy moley, I already don't remember a thing of what happened in this book. And I read it, like, a month ago. This is Lady Midnight happening to me all over again. Is it my memory's fault or these run-of-the-mill-yet-super-popular books'?


“Growing up here really has warped you, hasn’t it?”
“Growing up here,” I clarified, “has made me see the truth about people.”

•I feel that a foreword is needed here.
First, I read the Divergent trilogy a little over two years ago, before the first movie -the only one I watched- was released, and the series as a whole impressed me so little I reckon my mind let my memories of it fade by default. So if what you need is a detailed comparison between the Divergent series and Carve the Mark, this is not the review you're looking for.
Secondly, I feel duty-bound to let you know that Carve the Mark has raised issues regarding racism and cultural stereotypes and the author's thoughts about chronic illnesses -also with reference to this interview. Here I won't comment on the substance of the matter; I'll only say that before starting the book, I had no idea of the uproar surrounding it, and that I didn't find out until later, when I was almost done with it. Which means, yes, that I picked up none of these issues while reading, but then again, I am white and I have no first-hand experience of what it means to cope with a chronic condition, so I do not fall into that category of people who are likely to be touched by them. I feel like it's not my place to pass judgement on this; so please do not be offended by my not-totally-negative opinion of the book. I mean no disrespect whatsoever, I am glad that the problem has been duly pointed out and I'm sorry for all the readers who may have been hurt by this.

•Strangely enough, when it comes to this novel I seem to be more inclined to dwell on the things I won't talk about than on those few points I could actually wring something out of. First things first, then: I was deeply fascinated with the concept lying at the basis of this world-building, namely, this unspecified current that flows across the whole universe, and to which the gifts, special powers that manifest differently for each individual, are due. The explanation of this phenomenon is that since each person is unique, when the energy of the current fills them, it takes different shapes, and hence the difference in the powers. I found this idea very simple, yet very suggestive, and logically convincing too, which is never to be undervalued.

•Sadly, this single fact was the only thing that genuinely struck me as original and truly thought-out. The rest of the world building was to me not bad, but rather dull and unsurprising, and not perfectly laid out if we're being honest. In this world, many -some? Anyway, more than one- planets are inhabited by humans, but I couldn't gather exactly how many and why; plus, the names of these planets and their peoples are mentioned more than once along with inconsequential facts like, for instance, that Ogra culture worships mystery (what does that even mean, for goodness sake) but that doesn't help you getting a clearer picture at all. It basically fills up your mind with random names you're bound to forget once the paragraph is over.

The pace -good gracious, the pace. It's no secret that Veronica Roth never really knew what to do with this alien thing, and the obvious result is, I got bored with Insurgent, I got bored with Allegiant, and I got bored with Carve the Mark. (I believe Divergent is exempted simply because back then Roth was still too inexperienced a writer to realize that the pace is something you need to pay attention to; see the irony in this?) The first part, more introductory, was made interesting by the novelty of the world and of the characters, but the second part is really tough to get through. The writing, being not particularly brilliant and, again, simply average, doesn't help much; the same applies to the plot.

•In spite of everything I said so far, I found the main characters, Cyra and Akos, to be compelling enough, which definitely helped in making it to the end of the book. Ad for the rest of the cast, well, I liked the villain, but apart from these three, no one else is worth special mention.

➽ Since that little yet so charming detail in the world-building won me over so thoroughly, and since I am genuinely curious to know how some of the dynamics established between some of the characters will play out, I will be picking the sequel up. I didn't love it, but if what you're looking for is a world for you to flee to, a story for you to relax with, then Carve the Mark is as good any.
Profile Image for Heather.
319 reviews289 followers
April 22, 2017
2 stars
Uncensored review as always
And spoiler-free

Oh boy. This is not going to be pretty. I’m sure you have seen all the upchucked Haterade that the “controversy brigade” so generously spewed about this book before and after it’s release. So obviously, I wanted to love this book SO HARD if only to shove a raving review in the face of absurdity! Unfortunately, I can’t do that here.


On the other hand … I honestly did not see ANY of the controversy. Like … where is it? I have no idea. I’m sure some “helpful” person will take the time to “enlighten” me in the comments below (hint: don’t. Because I honestly don't care). Sadly, large portions of this book were just confusing and slow. But we will start with the positives … because I’m not a complete asshole.

What I did like

The best part of this book (for me) was all the culture building Roth so intricately weaved together for this world. Some of you may find this part a bit info-dumpy … but I'm a total nerd for stuff like this so I loved it! All the fascinating religious beliefs, languages, history. Yeah … totally my jam and I ate it with a spoon and a smile. These are the things that shape a society. These are the things that create diversity, discrimination, conflict and war! These are the things that help to shape an individual (along with personal experience and learned/inherited behavior). Which brings me to another thing I loved about this book.

Roth did an incredible job building her characters from a psychological standpoint. Personal histories were laid beautifully throughout this book, making the characters intricate and intriguing and real. People are not black or white, good or bad. People are tapestries of gray with shades of every manner of influence woven through. All broken, all healing, all scared and walled and pieced in varying ways.

I could continue on this subject for a while, inevitably meandering into a major psychology lecture the likes of which we many never escape … so I shall move along. But before I dive headfirst into negativity land … I want to acknowledge the fact that, while I will not take the time to chronicle each and every moment/plot-point/collection-of-words that I liked about this book, I did enjoy the story for the most part. It truly is a good concept and story, and with a good pair of scissors in the hand of a less forgiving editor, this would have been a much more successful read.

What I did not like

What the fuck is going on?
Where are we?
What the hell is this place?
How did we get here?
What color are the walls?

This is an example of the types of questions I may have asked myself while stumbling through this book. Let's face it, the descriptions of actual places were basically non-existent. I like to fancy myself as having a pretty active imagination, but even I had major trouble visualizing scenes while reading this. Honestly, the beginning of this book really roped me in (I quite enjoyed a good portion of the first part of this book). Unfortunately, the middle dropped all form entirely and became a cluster fuck of what-the-fucks … and it didn’t get any better from there. To add to the utter confusion ... I often felt like I was missing huge chunks of time. Like ... we were here ... then all the sudden we’re over there ... and I had no idea why or how.

To say that a majority of this book was confusing as fuck would be an appropriate assessment. Confusing and slooooooow (and I don't mind slow but this was not a good slow). Honestly this was really my biggest and perhaps only complaint with this book. As I mentioned above, the concept and the story was actually quite decent. But when you can’t focus because you are either confused or bored … a great concept really fails to hold sway. The point of fiction is to transfer your reader to another time/place/world. But in order for that to be effective, the world first has to be built. This was the utter failing of this book and unfortunately, it’s a doozy.

In Conclusion
Great concept. Good plot. Poor execution. Slow and confusing. I would not recommend.
Profile Image for Alyssa.
1,069 reviews843 followers
February 6, 2017
I liked the story overall! But there a few things that might seem minor, but are actually really detracting from the story, and I took issue with them. It was a good story, don't get me wrong. But I have some things to explore in my review that I just didn't like.

***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth
Book One of the Carve the Mark series
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: January 17, 2017
Rating: 3 stars
Source: ARC sent by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads):

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.

What I Liked:

Carve the Mark is absolutely worth the hype and the excitement, and it's definitely worth your time to read this book if you've been looking forward to reading it. Chances are, it won't disappoint you. In many ways, I liked this book a lot. But there were several specific things that might seem small or insignificant in the grand schemes of things, that ended up really bothering me. Hence, the three-star rating.

This story is told by two characters - Akos, a Thuvhe, and Cyra, a Shotet. The Thuvhe are a peace-loving people living on Urek. The Shotet are more aggressive nomadic people that conquer various nations and planets. When he is fourteen, Akos is captured, along with his brother, by the Shotet, who kill his father in front of him. They are taken to the Shotet stronghold of Urek, ruled by Ryzek Noavek, a ruthless tyrant and older brother of Cyra. They are stolen for their currentgifts - Akos's brother Eijeh is the next oracle of the Thuvhe. Akos grows into his currentgift - he can interrupt the current (he can cancel it out, turn it off, that sort of thing). Several years later, Akos is shaped into a warrior, but he has lost known of his humanity. He is not a killer, though he has killed to protect himself. He is brought to help Cyra Noavek, whose currentgift is inflicting pain on others with her touch. No one can touch her without feeling pain, but Akos can, because he interrupts the current (and all currentgifts are "fueled" by the current). Akos cooperates because he wants to rescue his brother and flee. But the more he and Cyra interact, the more they learn about each other, and the more they realize that they share common interests, interests that could incite wars.

The beginning of the book was incredibly confusing (I'll talk about that in the next section), but once I (sort of) got a grasp of the world and everything going on, I started to get into the story and really sink into it. This is science fiction, though certain elements (like the currentgifts) can definitely be categorized as fantasy. This story takes place across planets of a galaxy, so it's a space-y type of science fiction.

I must say, Roth did an excellent job with the characterization and character growth, specifically in terms of Cyra and Akos. I'll start with Akos. He is easily my favorite character of the book. He is Thuvhe, and so he is brought up to be more peaceful and somewhat passive towards violence. Even several years being trained as a Shotet soldier doesn't break him down. He is compassionate, and he is strong. I liked him a lot, especially for his unbreakable will. I was amazing and in awe of how much pain and grief and despair he bore, for years. Akos grows into a character that still hates killing, and is sick over having to kill anyone, but can do it. He becomes so strong and capable in other ways, and he's also extremely intelligent and clever. He isn't an alpha type of YA hero - he's quietly intelligent and very, very human.

Cyra is almost the opposite of him, yet it slowly becomes apparent that she has similarities to him. She appears to be a brutal, cold, emotionless killer summoned and used by her brother, Ryzek. But Cyra does not enjoy wielding her painful power over others, and she definitely does not enjoy bending to Ryzek's will. In many ways, it is Akos who shows her mercy, what mercy is, and that she is still capable of being merciful, and better, and more. Cyra learns to turn her pain into something else. She loses none of her deadliness and her danger, but as the story goes on, she becomes stronger and more able to stand up to Ryzek.

Once I got past the first one hundred pages or so, I had little difficulty getting through the story. I was pretty engrossed and despite the book being rather long, I read it quickly. There is so much happening in this story, and I wanted to see how it would all end. There were so many moments when things could go disastrously wrong, and I held my breath as I turned the pages. No one can say that certain parts of this book weren't engrossing. A lot of the story ends up being about how to unseat Ryzek, and how to stay alive and protect each other.

There is romance! I liked seeing Akos and Cyra fall for each other. It's actually Cyra who shows her feelings first, which you wouldn't expect. Cyra is supposedly the more ruthless one, and Akos is the more emotional and merciful one. But it's Cyra that starts to fall for Akos first, and shows her hand first. I liked their dynamic a lot - they learn to trust each other before anything else. No love triangle! Thank goodness for that. I thought this romance was well-developed, and swoony towards the end.

There is also another romance which I thought was sweet. I can't say much about it because it'll spoil things, but it's between two characters that are good together.

The ending, as insane and chaotic as it is, is not a cruel ending. There is no horrible cliffhanger, which is surprising, since this is book one of a duology. You'd expect something really terrible to have happened at the end, hurting the main character(s). Don't get me wrong, terrible (permanent) things definitely happened; but the ending isn't a cliffhanger, and I definitely appreciate that.

Now I'm going to talk about the things I didn't really enjoy.

What I Did Not Like:

First: the initial one hundred pages or so? Very confusing, and very boring too. I had a hard time getting through the beginning of the story. There is so much information dumped into the first couple of chapters, and so many names. It also took me a while to realize that the beginning is when Akos is fourteen - and NOT the "present" time of the story. Same with Cyra's beginning - she is six when her chapter begins. The beginning has too much going on, and it isn't well-explained at first. I had to reread several of the chapters a few times to really get some sort of grasp as to what was happening.

I'm not sure I really understand the world/world-building? Currentgifts and their origin and how/why they exist still kind of elude me. What is the "current"? Where did it come from? How is it magically given people these currentgifts? The currentgifts are things like inflicting pain upon touch, or not feeling pain at all, or seeing the future, or seeing every memory of a person.

Second: there are so many awful, brutal scenes in this book. I'm talking about torture and cruel treatment of people. I understand that this type of brutality is very real and exists in real life and has a place in this fictional world, but the brutality of a lot of it... didn't sit well with me. Usually a certain level of violence doesn't bother me too much? The violence in this book, while not exactly graphic, is horrifying. Which is probably the intent, but my stomach hurt, reading it.

Third: Not the biggest thing I didn't like, but I wasn't a huge fan of having Akos's POV in third-person, and then Cyra's in first-person. I loved reading from both of their POVs! But it would have been nice to have a little uniformity (either both in first, or both in third). Also it already scares me, that Roth chooses to tell this story from both Akos and Cyra's POVs. We saw what happened in Allegiant...

Fourth: problematic racial content. Oh yeah, I definitely see where people are coming from, when they say that this book has some racist content. The Shotet are portrayed as "brown skinned", aggressive, nomadic people. They stole Thuvhe children years ago, and the Thuvhe retaliated and stole Shotet children, but the way the story is told, the Shotet are the "villains". I mean, given that the first chapter is about Akos's father getting brutally murdered in front of him, I get why that would be implication. But there are definitely underlying tones of something problematic here: the Thuvhe, light-skinned peaceful people, and the Shotet, darker-skinned aggressive people, are both cliches. And what's more, it seems like most of the Shotet have very violent currentgifts, whereas the Thuvhe have more passive, non-violent gifts (like Akos's, or his mother's, or his brother's).

Do you see the problem here? Why is it that the "aggressive" people are always the brown/darker-skinned ones, and the more "peaceful" non-violent people are lighter-skinned? I have no qualms with the characters themselves (I adore Akos, and Cyra is such a fighter), but the social construct here is reflective of cliches and stereotypes.

Read THIS peace if you want more information. I definitely do not know it all, but I recognize and understand the issue at hand here, in terms of race and culture.

Would I Recommend It:

Yes, I had issues with this book, and I firmly believe that last issue needs to be addressed. And yes, I also enjoyed the book, for the most part, regardless. It's a good story, and I was definitely swept up in the story as I was reading. I'll be reading the sequel next year. I don't know if I really should recommend this book, given the evident issues. But I did like the story too. If you've been excited to read this book, believe me, it probably won't disappoint. But... recognize issues when you see them. Talk about them. Discuss and learn.


3 stars. Like I said, this is a good story, and of all of Roth's books, it's probably her best. I think I liked it more than I liked her other books (definitely more than I liked Insurgent and Allegiant - though I never fully read Allegiant). I want to see where the story goes. But there were some things that held me back a little, in terms of my rating.
Profile Image for Natalie Monroe.
595 reviews3,588 followers
Want to read
May 6, 2016
Am I the only one confused by the blurb? What I'm getting is Romeo and Juliet, superpowers, and a thinly-veiled Abnegation/Dauntless showdown thing.

Too much, yet too little.
Profile Image for Natalie Monroe.
595 reviews3,588 followers
January 19, 2018
"I didn't choose the blood that runs in my veins," I replied. "Any more than you chose your fate. You and I, we've become what we were made to become."

I feel like I could throw a dart in a bookstore and hit at least a dozen YA books with practically the same quote and premise.

The nature vs nurture debate is well-trodden ground in fiction, not just in YA. Is there such thing as fate? Are villains born or made? These are all themes that can be reinvigorated and made fresh and unique, but Carve The Mark just fails across the board.

I'm the first to admit Divergent had its problems. But at least it was fun, fast-paced, and filled a Harry Potter and the Hunger Games niche. Carve The Mark is boring. Lifeless. Take them out of space and it'd be a more standard dystopian than its comparison title Divergent. And it ends abruptly just when things are getting exciting, as though it knows it needs something to bring readers back.

There's absolutely nothing noteworthy about the main characters Cyra and Akos. They're just there, taking up space, saying their lines, running through the motions. It's a mark of how utterly blah they are that their banter falls flat. Not a single crooked grin graced my mouth while reading.

The romance is formulaic and didn't carry as much depth as it should have. Akos was captured by Cyra's people (the Shotet) as a child. Her brother ordered the murder of his father and brother. He is a prisoner falling in love with his captor, but he spends a weirdly short amount of time analyzing this.

Where's the self-loathing? I can't believe I'm asking this, but where's the angst? He accepts his feelings far too easily for someone in his position.

I personally think Ryzek, Cyra's power-hungry brother, is a far more interesting character to focus on because his currentgift allows him to swap out his own memories for someone else's. It explores the question of how much your past defines your personality. The person usually on the receiving end of these memory swaps is Akos's brother Elijah. Unfortunately, Roth insists on shining the spotlight on the boring siblings.

Finally, the chronic pain/self-harm glorification:

"The gift," I said, "is the strength the curse has given me." The new answer was a blooming hushflower, petals unfurling. "I can bear it. I can bear pain. I can bear anything."

For the record, the title refers to a Shotet practice where lines are carved on their arm to mark their kills. Pain is a main theme in Carve the Mark and is ultimately presented as something positive, something that helps you build character.

There has been considerable outrage over this, which you can Google. While I agree that this message has some uncomfortable implications, I sort of understand why Roth wrote it the way she did. Her religious beliefs, I personally think, shape the way she writes. It's why she ended Allegiant the way she did.

(Please note that this is pure speculation and I could be as wrong as BBC Sherlock fans who thought Mary Watson was working for Moriarty. But the English major in me won't shut up.)

Overall, I expected more. More from YA, more from an author who has an international bestseller and a film franchise under her belt.

I won't be waiting for the sequel with baited breath.
Profile Image for Tina ➹ lives in Fandoms.
410 reviews416 followers
January 5, 2021
4.5 Golden stars!

wow! I didn't think I would love this story this much! the characters, the thrills, this beautiful world!
To be honest I didn't even expect it to be a space sci-fi, & it was wonderful!
I was looking for a satisfying sensible Space sci-fi & this book mostly met my expectations! I really enjoyed it.
World Building: ★★★★★/5
the world, the usual jobs, every responsibilities, the rules & the gifts. everything was great! it took its times to get used to this totally-new world & their new made-up words in measuring times. but it is awesome, if you love sci-fi.
Characters: ★★★★★/5
I already said, I loved Akos. he was strong, vulnerable, caring & sensitive... he was one of my sweathearts. at some parts he made me laugh.
Cyra wasn't added to my few favourite female characters, but she was actually good & not annoying. she was caring & thoughtful & strong. (that means she wasn't added to my hated female protagonists either.) I liked her & how she acted.
also villains' behavior made very much sense & they were well-created, well-written

Characters developments: ★★★★★/5
Love life: ★★★★/5
I have a ship or maybe two. enough amount of love life that attracts readers to love their relationships (especially a person like me who don't like detailed love relationship descriptions, or I don't care if there isn't many love moments)
Plot: ★★★★(★)/5
Everything goes perfectly awesome & at some parts, the things went on as I wished. at some parts it went downhill, but every books has its up (adrenaline) & down (valleys between the events) I clutched the edge of my seat in the end! I loved it.
general idea: ★★★★★/5
the general idea behind the story was so unique & I loved it. it was in space, but not all happening in space-ships like some space sci-fi, I reminded without thinking by default. it was a wholly new solar system with advanced technology & societies.
at some little parts it reminded me of 'Red queen' & 'Keeper of the universe'. I didn't much enjoy red queen because I didn't like the protagonist. but I loved this one, as I like both. plus in this story is no maid & help-me-what-I-am-supposed-to-wear vibes (I've read enough of that!) it was more like a Dark big castle for a cruel kingdom.
Writing style: ★★★★/5
enough amounts of Adrenaline events, love emotions, feelings, fiction, humor & descriptions. :)
tho everyone said it had slow pace but I read it in 2 days & for me the plot & the world was so interesting & intriguing, I couldn't put it down, so it was a quick read for me.
that's it.
hope it is helpful & you will enjoy reading the book as much as I did.
Profile Image for ambsreads.
656 reviews1,393 followers
Shelved as 'no-thanks'
March 7, 2017
I refuse to put myself in a position where the likelihood of myself being triggered is high. I don't think the "kill marks" which feature in this book are okay. My friend Cait talks more about how they these marks can be connected to self harm. I was curious about this book but after hearing several quotes which feature in the book about these marks I am physically sick and disgusted. It honestly saddens me. I wonder how such a thing passed by so many ARC readers though.

The cover itself is a representation of self harm. Something that people also need to be aware of. It is not simply a wall with gold paint.

Please proceed with caution if you choose to read this book despite the triggers present. Stay safe. As soon as you feel even slightly triggered, put the book down. Your mental health and physical well being is more important than this story. Please be careful, you're all too important.

On top of all this, there are racist stereotypes and ableist attitudes all throughout this book. Something which shouldn't be supported at all, in my opinion.

Also, to tell people their opinion about the racism, ableism and triggers which feature in this book is invalid or wrong is highly ignorant behaviour . You are allowed to enjoy this book, but stay away of the problems that do feature and stay open to others opinions, especially those who have been harmed by this novel.

For more information on the ableism, which is primarily about chronic pain because described as a gift, read Emer's review. She suffers from chronic pain and talks about her views on the topic.
Profile Image for AleJandra.
832 reviews414 followers
May 29, 2017
2 En una galaxia No muy lejana… STARS

"The darkness was pain, and I was made of it, I was pain itself."


Tenía tantas cosas que quería debatir con ustedes, que termine sobrecargándome, y al final ya no soy capaz de expresarme coherentemente referente a todo lo que quería decir de este libro. Sorry amigos les he fallado, esta reseña es un big fat mess, al menos encaja a la perfección con el mess que es este libro.

Empezare esta reseña con 2 pequeñas pero muy importantes declaraciones.

1-Mi reseña NO FUE PAGADA, yo compre mi libro como cualquier otro mortal.
2-Soy una mujer de color, soy parte de una minoría, y no me sentí ofendida o atacada por este libro.

Ahora si empezamos hablando de la historia.

Si quieren saber de qué trata la historia clik aquí.

La historia en si es MEDIOCRE, empieza muy bien, pero el desarrollo decae mucho porque no sabemos hacia dónde va la historia, más de la mitad del libro nos la pasamos como en pausa con los personajes sin avanzar, solo al final tenemos un poco de acción.

Es un conjunto de los clichés típicos del genero YA, adolescentes atractivos con la responsabilidad de salvar a todo el mundo. Se odian luego sorprendentemente resulta que ya se aman. En serio el enamoramiento no me lo creí nada, ya que nos lo cuentan, pero no lo vemos. Es como una mezcla de Divergente y Red Queen.

Se supone que es Ciencia ficción, pero no vemos realmente la ciencia detrás de esta galaxia. Recuerdo una escena en específico donde la pronta ve los tanques de oxígeno en la nave espacial, y en vez de decirnos un poco de cómo funciona todo, simplemente nos dice que “a ella nunca le ha importado aprender cómo funcionan las cosas”.


Hablando del racismo y estereotipos:

Llevo días pensándolo y analizándolo, les voy a decir tal cual lo que siento y posiblemente no les agrade, posiblemente no lo entienda y eso está bien, no espero que todos compartan mi opinión, en especial lo que estoy a punto de compartirles.

Como lo dije al inicio yo no me sentí ofendida o atacada por la manera en la que la autora retratara a la mujer de color.

Eso no quiere decir que no sea problemático, solo quiere decir que a MI no me afecto, y para eso hay una simple explicación. Los latinoamericanos tenemos problema para distinguir el racismo, y lo justificamos. Eso viene de años y años en la que el racismo se nos ha inculcado en la escuela y nuestra sociedad. En la que el mayor racismo que hemos aprendido, aplicado y seguimos repitiendo, es el racismo hacia nuestra propia raza.


Por eso la temática problemática de este libro no me parece TAN MALA, aunque si lo sea. Triste, pero cierto.

En la historia tenemos 2 pueblos:

Los Thuvhesit, descritos como caucásicos, con cabello negro y ojos de color claro. Son amables, su lenguaje es suave y están acostumbrados a vivir en el clima muy frio. Su economía está basada en el cultivo de flores.

Los Shotet son descritos como una raza de “sangre de diferente color”, en serio usan esa frase, (como si ser de diferente raza nos hiciera diferentes por dentro). Son físicamente fuertes, constantemente descritos como violentos y salvajes. Al final que podemos conocer más nativos de shotet y no solo a los protagonistas, vemos que ese solo era un prejuicio, vemos shotet bailando, cantando y siento en general tranquilos.

Entiendo porque algunos se sintieron tan ofendidos, por lo mucho que se repite que los shotet son salvajes y violentos.

Creo que si la historia hace algo bien es mostrarnos lo fácil que los gobiernos manipulan una sociedad, lo fácil que es venderles el estereotipo de los enemigos.

“You assume I’m brutal because that’s what you’ve heard. Well, what about what I’ve heard about you? Are you thin-skinned, a coward, a fool?”

En el libro vemos a los protagonistas darse cuenta de lo erróneas que eran sus ideas del uno por el otro. Akos ve la belleza de los Shotet y aprende de sus costumbres he historias, que el ignoraba por completo.

Cyra de igual modo aprende que los Thuviest no son los villanos que ella creía, que ser amable, sincero, noble no es una desventaja, aprende más de su enemigo que de toda su familia.

Mala representación del dolor crónico:

Aquí no entiendo cuál es el enojo de la gente. La verdad el dolor de Cyra es lo más flojo de la historia. La escritura de Verónica se pasa de simplona, especialmente en este aspecto, nos dicen y dicen hasta el tope lo mucho que sufre Cyra, pero cuando vemos a Cyra ella anda entrenando, leyendo libros, cocinando y demás. La historia no trasmite nada.


La protagonista, es fuerte, valiente, inteligente y hermosa. Y aun así vive sometida a los deseos y caprichos de su hermano y el protagonista es el único capaz de apaciguar su dolor. Nos la intentan vender como una mujer súper poderosa pero que de igual modo necesita de un hombre que la rescate constantemente.


Pago de reseñas:

Hay muchos chismes al respecto, no sé cuántos de ellos sean verdad. Al parecer la editorial le pago a varias personas para realizar reseñas, pero cuando dichas reseñas eran negativas la editorial se negó a pagarles he inclusive los amenazo para que publicaran sus opiniones hasta después de la publicación del libro.


Wherever si las editoriales quieren pagar y regalar libros para que los booktuvers o bloggers les hagan promoción, no me intereza. Si dichos booktubers mienten para mantener a las editoriales contentas tampoco me importa, yo no los veo, y si los veo me tomo con precaución sus opiniones.

Si tú me dices que le diste una reseña positiva a un libro malo solo porque te pagaron, ok, cada quien hace lo que sea para vivir.

Pero no sean hipócritas, sostengan lo que pusieron al inicio, sostengan sus 5 estrellotas que le dieron a este libro, antes de que desatara el escándalo, se retractan, pero ya para qué.


En conclusión: Era obvio que tarde o temprano alguien diría basta. Basta de que los autores betsellers sean en su mayoría caucásicos, basta que siempre retraten a las minorías como villanos, basta de que sus historias mediocres tengan más aceptación por las editoriales, basta de que las editoriales nos quieran manipular pagando por opiniones. Tienen razón este no es el único libro que contiene estos tópicos, pero ya era hora de que se dijera, mala suerte que le toco a Verónica Ruth.

Si son fans de la saga Divergente y están dudando en empezar este libro porque tienen miedo que la autora mate al protagonista. No se preocupen, desde los primeros capítulos nos dicen que el protagonista va a morir, y también nos dicen cómo.
May 11, 2020
“You want to see people as extremes. Bad or good, trustworthy or not. I understand. It's easier that way. But that isn't how people work”.

Vaya, yo sé que Veronica Roth no es santo de devoción de muchos lectores, pero no entiendo todo el hate que hay contra este libro. ¡A mí me pareció súper interesante y entretenido! Creo que es una historia muy original y con personajes que sobresalen de la multitud.

En Carve the Mark nos encontramos con un set-up de ciencia ficción en el que principalmente nos presentan a los seres de dos civilizaciones prácticamente enemigas: Shotet y Thuvhe. Los primeros, liderados por la familia Noavek, son seres y personas que se han caracterizado por sus conquistas, su agresividad y unos estándares de comportamiento súper estrictos. Por otra parte, tenemos a los Thuvhe, que son una civilización mucho más pacífica y que se destaca por tener oráculos. Lo más interesante de todas las personas de este universo es que tienen unos dones o poderes otorgados por "la corriente".

Cyra Noavek vive en Shotet y, gracias a que su poder le permite infligir muchísimo dolor a sus enemigos, su hermano la usa como un arma. Pero, a la vez que Cyra causa dolor, ella misma siempre está atormentada por su propio poder. Sin embargo, es una mujer tremendamente fuerte y, sobre todo, inteligente. Akos, por su parte, es un Thuvhe que fue secuestrado por los Shotet y, aunque ahora es un criado, nunca ha olvidado que su motivación es rescatar a su hermano que también ha caído en las garras de sus enemigos. Todo empezará a ponerse interesante cuando Akos es asignado a Cyra como acompañante y criado, pues el poder el Thuvhe consiste en aplacar los otros poderes y, por lo tanto, mientras esté en contacto con la Noavek, ella no sentirá dolor.

Digan lo que quieran, pero a mí me pareció increíble la idea de un universo en el que todas las personas que nacen tienen una profecía o una suerte echada por un oráculo. Claro, es tremendamente restrictivo, pero es una información que puede llegar a tener muchísimo poder. Además, la idea de los current gifts es entre aterradora y emocionante. Al principio pensé que el poder de Cyra era muy parecido al de Juliette de Shatter Me, pero es que ni ella misma es inmune al poder que causa en otros, así que allí se diferencian un montón.

Creo que, lo que más me gustó, fue esa llama que se va encendiendo lentamente entre Cyra y Akos, dos personas que están destinadas a odiarse por su sangre y su proveniencia. Y ya saben lo que amo un buen enemies to lovers. Me gustó el desarrollo de esa relación, cómo poco a poco iban bajando las defensas el uno con el otro para realmente conocerse y, en un punto, entender que pueden ayudarse y, más aún, ser aliados en lugar de enemigos. Y no es un camino fácil, hay muchos ires y venires, traiciones y momentos en los que cada uno debe escoger si les importan más las promesas de venganza del pasado o la oportunidad de derrocar todo lo que está mal en el sistema para crear un mejor futuro.

Y, por supuesto, dado que la persona que está al mando de todo, el hermano de Cyra, es un loco megalómano y enfermo de poder, es obvio que hay una revolución y una resistencia gestándose en las sombras. Es sobre todo al final del libro cuando nos enteramos de todos los planes que hay y las estrategias que han ido formándose durante años. Y, además, es allí cuando los personajes deben tomar las decisiones difíciles. Es cuando Cyra debe dejar de pensar que es sencillamente un arma y que la piedad puede ser mucho más efectiva que el dolor, por ejemplo. Y Akos... ay, Akos, creo que es un personaje que ha sufrido muchísimo, pero que, a la vez, demuestra que por muchos entrenamientos y condicionamientos que haya tenido, matar nunca es su primera opción. Puede hacerlo, claro, pero no lo disfruta.

El final es, definitivamente, lo más explosivo de Carve the Mark, así que esa es la manera de Veronica Roth de asegurarse de que lea el segundo libro.
Profile Image for Francina Simone.
Author 8 books2,096 followers
August 13, 2017
Ok...I'm gonna film a review tomorrow and talk about something. Over al, objectively, I'm bouncing between 4-4.5 more towards a 4. Subjectively...really not my style so more of a 3 if you have similar "preferences" as me.

As far as everything else goes, I'll get a video up soon to discuss all my thoughts 😉
Profile Image for Sarah Elizabeth.
4,742 reviews1,307 followers
February 7, 2017
This was a YA sci-fi/fantasy story, set in a different universe.

I liked how strong Akos was in this story, and he really did hold up under some terrible circumstances. I also liked Cyra, who put up with so much pain from such a young age, and was still able to be feared, and able to stand up to her brother when she needed to.

The world building in this was pretty good, although it did take quite a while for it all to come out, and the odd-sounding names did make things a little more difficult. The storyline was also good, and we had Akos and his elder brother being kidnapped by Cyra’s older brother Ryzek, both because of their ‘fates’, and because of their ‘currentgifts’. The pace in this was quite slow though, and it did take me a long time to get through it, but the story was enjoyable overall.

The ending to this was good, and it will be interesting to see what happens in the next book of the series.

7 out of 10
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