Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth

Seeing as I missed out on the Divergent train, I decided to give Ms. Roth's next series starter a shot. Now, having only experienced her other works through movies, I didn't really know what to expect but kept my expectations in check. After all, why do these YA authors always seem to jump into the sci fi genre once they make a name for themselves? Well, let's see how it all turned out.

Akos is taken from his home at a young age and forced to become a servant to his people's hated enemies, the Shotet. Their leader, a spineless tyrant, assigns him to his sister, Cyra, whom he uses to torture those who displease him. But Cyra and Akos join forces against her brother and take part in a rebellion that will free Akos's brainwashed brother and pit them against the very destinies they were born to fulfill.

This book was...a bit of a hurdle for me. It's greatest flaw is pretty noticeable throughout the story.! It seemed to take forever to get anywhere in this story. So many detours and backstories and exposition and explanation and you don't care about any of it! There are times when I would be reading for twenty minutes straight before I realized that I'd only read five pages. It's just not gripping, there's nothing to keep your attention and I just found it hard to focus on.

The story takes place in its own galaxy with different planets and cultures and ways of life. Now, this can be interesting and has a lot of potential for creativity and world building. Unfortunately, it lacks the sci fi feel of being big. This world felt very small to me which is probably because we spend all the time on an ice planet, a high security castle, a cramped spaceship, and underwater. Why would you have such claustrophobic settings when you have an entire galaxy to explore? Another reviewer once said that if your book starts with a map, then your audience expects and adventure. The map is imbedded on the frigging cover and you barely explore it at all. And the story barely is an adventure. It's just another "girl starts rebellion" story that this author has already famously done.

Another struggle I came upon was that this story was really hard to follow. As I hinted in my teaser at the end of the last review, there are a lot of "s" words that are used a lot and they just run together and, I admit, I got a bit lost. Also, there's the deal with the current. I don't understand the current at all. It's an all powerful force that some people used and others don't, it gives you your own super special X-man powers, you can wield it and see it...but we never get a real understanding of what the current is or how it does these things. It seemed like it was trying to be like the Force, a mystical power that surrounds everyone and grants those who wield it powers, but the execution was much poorer. If felt less like a mysterious power that surrounds every living thing and more like "it's magic, I don't have to explain it."

While the characters, Akos and Cyra, do have potential to be interesting, they are given such a dry and tired story that they don't have much room to grow outside of being one dimensional. I also kept getting distracted by the constant perspective shift in this book. When we're going through the Cyra parts, the book is written in first person perspective. When we're with Akos, it's in third person. Why? Why is this the case? Is Cyra telling the entire story, including Akos's? If she is, how the frig does she know what he's thinking and how does she know about the parts she wasn't there for? It was such a weird idea and it got really distracting.

Final Verdict
Slow and steady puts readers to bed with this one. The plot moves at a snail's pace, the characters and ideas are weak and I just didn't have a good time with this one. Maybe it there are people out there who will like it but, for me, I say save your cash and check it out at your local library.

Have you read the book? What did you think? Comment below and share your thoughts. Have a book you'd like me to read or would like to make a recommendation? Contact me on goodreads at

Next Time: It's retrospective time again and I take time to celebrate the 20 year anniversary of the book series brought me, and many others, to a world of wizarding wonder....

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