Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth – Review

Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth: 3/5 Stars

Does the graphic look familiar? I used the same design last week with my review for The Falconer, but since the background photo is actually from Carve the Mark, I thought I’d use it here as well. 😉

I finished Carve the Mark in a rush last month, but I had to wait a while to write a proper review because for the life of me I couldn’t figure out if I even liked it or not. Thankfully, I know now that’s a big fat “No.”

Though I didn’t particularly “like” it, I still can’t give a straight answer to someone if they ask me if I recommend CTM, because I don’t know if the problems I had with it are just my own pickiness or a universal flaw. So maybe my review can help you decide if it’s worth your while. I went ahead and tagged it as “not recommended” on here though because frankly, I felt like I wasted my own time. (Sort of.)

In any case, Carve the Mark is not a book I’m dying to run back to, and it’s not a book I’d care to remember.

Allow me to tell you why.

Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth: 3/5 Stars

★ ★ ★

Young Adult / Genre: Action/AdventureScience Fiction / Content: 16+ / Not Recommended

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.

(via Goodreads)

Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth (Cover)
Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth

“Justice, revenge. It was too late to figure out the difference.”

Was there anything I enjoyed in Carve the Mark? Yes, definitely. I loved it!

The problem was, I loved it…until I got halfway through. Then it turned into a round of face-palming agony for this chick.

Was there any huge thing that ruined it for me? No, I wouldn’t say so. The thing was, there was nothing huge to ruin or make it for me. It felt a little anticlimactic… Not to mention the small, constant bits that drove. Me. Nuts.

The writing was great. Honestly, it was. I enjoyed Veronica’s approach to CTM; it felt distinctly different than Divergent, which is a hard feat to accomplish. There was a lyricism to Carve the Mark that wasn’t there with Divergent, and it fit in well here. I appreciated the tone of voice in CTM; it suited the storyline perfectly.

The characterization and plot is what was disappointing. And the romance is the chief sin that drove me insane. It moved too fast. Way too fast. There was a nice element of friendship at the beginning, but in about a chapter, that escalated to romantic attraction. It felt uncomfortable reading, and really unnatural. Two characters with an intense animosity for each other…well, a romance between should’ve taken a little bit longer.

As for characterization, Veronica’s characters here felt stereotypical. A new stereotype, maybe, but still a very clear-cut “type.” They never did anything unpredictable for their “character type” and never had that authentic touch of human contradiction. They almost felt robotic. There was substantial growth in Akos, the male protagonist, but the reader missed out on all of itHis growth happened “off screen”—which made it seem almost so surprising when it occurred that it felt unbelievable.

The plot was unremarkable. It lacked significant depth and/or complexity, which I can usually forgive when characterization or worldbuilding is exceptional. But as I’ve said, the characterization was pretty disappointing, and as we’ll see, the worldbuilding was much the same.

Usually, Roth does a phenomenal job placing me in a different world, a different culture, with ease. While I could still feel a pretty steady sense of her world here, it wasn’t as good as it usually is. I was a little disappointed with the very grounded and earth-like quality to this science fiction novel. Frankly, I’ve read better.

Nothing about Carve the Mark reached new heights or transcended anything. Reading is revolutionary, and nothing about CTM felt that way. It lacked passion. It didn’t feel like it begged to be written or like the world would be any worse off without it. I like my books to feel as if they were written from the overflow of words and feeling of the author. Carve the Mark didn’t. It fell so short.

I hate to say it, but Veronica Roth disappointed me with this one. 

Is it okay for me to read?

Language • • • • •

Some mild profanity plus five instances of s***, one use of g**d***.

Violence • • • • •

Characters kill for their own ends. Not much description beyond bleeding is given.

Sensuality • • • • •

Light innuendo; characters kiss.

Substances • • • • •

A few teen characters drink fermented feathergrass, this world’s alcoholic drink.

For more about my content ratings and what they mean, click here.