Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth

MY GOODREADS REVIEW

RATING: 4.5 OUT OF 5 STARS

YA FANTASY

Let me just get the elephant in the room addressed before I focus on my review. I have absolutely NO IDEA what all the rumor mongering and sensationalistic slamming of this book was attributed to. There wasn't even a whisper of a hint of anything racially inflammatory or derogatory in this novel. If people want to rally behind a cause, perhaps they could focus on real life issues and take positive action in their community, not vent their frustrations on fantasy worlds in fictional works. My heart went out to Veronica Roth through all the negative publicity. She seems like a kind and sensitive person. I cannot imagine how she felt to have people judge her as racist, when all I see in her work is strong, positive messages of hope, and themes that people of all ages could learn from. Now, to the review - 4.5 stars! I had quite a few interruptions and delays in finishing Carve the Mark but found that I could slip straight back into the story and pick up easily from where I left off because the author had painted such a vivid world and characters. The story stuck with me even after putting the book down for a week which, given my short attention span, is a testament to the author's talent as a storyteller. The world building was spectacular, with every detail of life and living laid bare. I loved feeling a part of the different cultures and learning about their beliefs and ceremonies and what 'the current' meant to them all. To me, the message here was very clear: although people have different customs and beliefs, there is value in them all, and commonality too.

Roth has created an entire galaxy with different planets and races. The story focusses on the power hungry manipulations of one race's leader and his younger sister, who he uses as a deadly weapon. (Full Synopsis at the end of my review). As for the characters, I can only praise the author for imagining them so completely and then translating that to the page. Cyra and Akos are brilliant and are backed by a well-rounded cast. If I keep writing, I'm just going to end up saying 'love, brilliant and fantastic' a lot, so let me just say that this book was almost perfect for me. The only reason I didn't give it a five was because it didn't hit me in the heart like other books I've read. I know it's only February and there are some serious contenders being released this year, but I have a feeling Carve the Mark is going to be in 2017's top ten.

SYNOPSIS: 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.

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Gabriel Lea writes books for teens and young adults and books for 'not so young adults' too. Her fantasy books are available from all major online retailers and you can download your free ebook gift pack from the link above. 

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