Review: Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth

Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth
Published by Harper Collins
Released 18th January 2017
468 Pages

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.

Then 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?


I am a big fan of the Divergent trilogy and was obsessed a few years ago. So when I found out Veronica Roth was releasing a new completely unrelated book I was both excited and worried. Was I wanting her new release to be like Divergent? It took me a while to start reading Carve the Mark but I went in with an open mind. I wasn’t going to let my love for her first book series overshadow my opinion of her new one.

Carve the Mark is set in a universe where a flowing current surrounds nine unique planets. Everyone in this universe has a currentgift that they grow into by the time they are teenagers. Cyra lives on Shotet part of the planet Thuvhe. She is the sister of a brutal tyrant, who exploits her currentgift of inflicting pain. Cyra isn’t just a weapon she is strong willed and smarter than he will ever know. Akos is the son of a farmer and an oracle of Thuvhe. Akos has an unusual currentgift and is loyal to his family. When Akos and his brother are captured by Shotet soliders Akos is thrust into Cyra’s world by chance and starts to discover things he didn’t know. Will Akos and Cyra help each other to survive or will their differences destroy them?

I understand there has been a lot of controversy surrounding this book regarding race, chronic illness and self harm. I’ll admit that this did leave me sceptical about what I was going into but I wanted to form my own opinions and not just rely on the opinions of others. With regards to the race aspect my views are that the Shotet were perceived as the ‘savage’ nation and the Thuvhesit’s ‘peaceful’ but from the descriptions of each nation I came to the conclusion that neither were purely white or purely black. There is also a suggest of mixed blood within the book which could add to this. The theme of chronic illness is seen through Cyra’s currentgift. Not having dealt with chronic illness I can’t really comment on this but I don’t think Roth’s intention was to glamourise it.

In the story the Shotet carve marks onto their arms – shoulder to wrist to mark a kill and I must admit this did disturb me somewhat. It could be seen to some as glorifying self harm which is a very serious issue. I found it quite hard to read the scenes that mentioned this act and I found myself just wanting to turn the page. I can certainly understand why there was a storm surrounding this topic.

Controversy aside, for a nearly 500 page book I didn’t feel like there was much within it. There was so much happening all at once and it was a little bit confusing. Too many storylines were going on and it was hard to keep up at times. From the first chapter you are thrust into the world which could be seen as a good thing if we, as the reader understood the basis of the fantasy world. That being said the story was action packed and that is primarily what kept me reading on. I wanted to know where this action was going. Oh and just a heads up it’s more violent than the Divergent series ever was.

Akos and Cyra as our main characters were likeable and relatable from the beginning.  Akos’s loyalty to his family and his fight really stood out. It was also great watching him grow throughout the book. He went from a scared little boy to a strong, brave man and that is commendable. Cyra could be seen as a character that is unlikable but I fell for her almost immediately. I could feel her pain and confliction and at times I felt sorry for her. She was being used for her brother’s own gain and I was rooting for her throughout. Akos and Cyra complimented each other well and yes, although there was a romance brewing it didn’t overthrow the whole plot of the book. It also didn’t feel forced like some romances in YA.

Carve the Mark was an okay read. There were things about it that I just couldn’t get on with such as the controversy topic of carving marks and the several storylines. However, this was made up by the action packed sequences and interesting, well thought out characters. The ending has me intrigued and I for one shall be reading the sequel.


Author Bio

Veronica Roth studied Creative Writing at Northwestern University and is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Divergent, Insurgent, Allegiant and Four: A Divergent Collection.. She loves things such as Harry Potter, rain, YA, books, puns, cute animals, tea, writing, grammar, sitcoms, trains and cold weather months. Veronica lives with her husband in Chicago. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s