Inside front cover summary: “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 his 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?”
*MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD!!! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!!*
Let me just start out by saying, “Wow!” Carve the Mark is amazing. The plot is well thought out. The character development is profound. Not to mention the action!
I wasn’t sure how well I would like this book; I had read quite a few low reviews prior to reading it. Boy am I glad I didn’t listen to them! I think the reason so many reviewers rated it the way they did was because they went into it with a Divergent-bias. To fully enjoy Carve the Mark, all Divergent-love/bias must be set aside. Divergent and Carve the Mark are two entirely different books with different plots and different genres. Personally, if I were to compare the two, I enjoyed Carve the Mark significantly more than I did Divergent.
In terms of the characters, I was able to identify and connect with Cyra more than Akos. I think it was because she started out as a strong character. I do love a well-written, strong female character! In addition to her strength, her vulnerability and willingness to open up emotionally developed throughout the story. My connection with Akos came towards the end of book. He was a stronger character by then; in other words, he was no longer the naive boy as he started out. The relationship between Cyra and Akos is beautiful. It did not begin that way, though. In fact, I was worried for a while the actions of one of them jeopardized the entire thing.
I failed to see the plot twists Veronica Roth threw at us. I thought them brilliant! I won’t explain further; I did say MINOR spoilers, after all.
Another criticism I have seen is the Shotet characters’ use of carving a line in their skin as a way to mark a kill/loss. It did not personally bother me, but I can see where some readers may find it offensive. Carve the Mark is not the first book to introduce characters who practice this, however. The main character of the The Storm Siren trilogy by Mary Weber carved and tattooed herself for the same reason.
Overall, Carve the Mark only adds to Veronica Roth’s list of successful works. I highly anticipate the sequel!