When the final book in the Divergent trilogy was released four years ago, I remember being incredibly upset with the way it ended. Divergent was one of the books that made me fall in love with the dystopian genre. Somehow, the ending of that series soured me and gave me selective memory. Although I understood why Roth wrote the ending she did, the book left me crying instead of smiling. Somehow, through all of this, I managed to forget what made me fall in love with the Divergent series to begin with. Roth’s incredible world building, and character developing talents are phenomenal.
“Carve the Mark” was unlike any book I have ever read. In this novel, Roth managed to bring to life a number of unique worlds and cultures. Although the Shotet and Thuve cultures were the most focused on in this particular book, Roth offered light introductions to other worlds and their people. I can only hope that in the sequel to “Carve the Mark,” she continues to educate me.
The Shotet life is a hard one, and for an outsider looking in, its people may appear to be savages. The leader of the Shotet people raised Cyra. He is a ruthless, power-hungry dictator who ignored her and turned his own son — her brother — into a monster. At the beginning of “Carve the Mark,” Cyra is just trying to manage the unbearable pain of her currentgift. The currentgift is an ability that all Shotet and Thuve come into at some point in their youth. When Akos, a prisoner from Thuve is “gifted” to her by her brother to ease her pain, Cyra began to change into a character that was easy to admire and connect with.
While Cyra became a slightly softer version of herself, the reader got to witness an entirely different transformation in Akos. Initially, Akos was a bit scrawny and unable to defend himself. Under Cyra’s tutelage, he became a skilled warrior. What I loved the most about Akos, however, was that although he got stronger physically, his values didn’t change. He learned to stand up for himself a bit more, but remained a good-hearted person who only wanted his brother’s safety.
With a slew of interesting secondary characters, stomach-dropping adventure and a beautifully crafted new world for readers to delve into, “Carve the Mark” is a must-read for 2017. I only rated it 4.5 instead of 5 stars because, at times, the book did feel slow-paced. I would have preferred a faster pace (world building isn’t always riveting, but it’s definitely necessary).
With “Carve the Mark,” Veronica Roth reminded me why I fell in love with her writing in the Divergent series. This book provides a rich new world for readers to explore and a plethora of new characters to love and hate.
My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
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