Book Review: Carve the Mark

Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth is one of the 13 books I want to read in 2022. I’ve had this book on my TBR pile since it first came out in 2017, and five years later, I’ve finally gotten around to reading it (which sounds about right). I found this book for $2.99, which I thought to be an excellent deal for it… and well, I’m honestly glad I didn’t buy this book full price!

I loved the Divergent series. It is one of my favorite YA series, despite the ending that made me want to throw the book across the room (and let us not even mention how they fucked up the movie franchise so badly that Allegiant Part 2 was never made). So to be completely honest, I went into this book having the expectations that it would be as good as Divergent, if not better.

I was sorely disappointed. 

*Some spoilers beyond this point. I will clearly mark them, so please don’t read them if you intend to eventually read these books. You have been warned*

*SPOILER* The book started off interesting enough with the male protagonist (Akos) family being murdered and he and his brother Eijeh being kidnapped by their country’s enemy. What really confused me throughout a good chunk of this book was that Akos’s mother and sister were referred to as being dead by everyone, including Akos. His mother, an oracle, offed herself before she could be captured, and his sister was murdered along with his father. Then way later in the book, we find out both his mother and sister are still alive. *END OF SPOILER*

I didn’t find Akos to be a particularly interesting character. He was motivated by revenge and by his want to save his brother, which was a promise he made to his father. But overall, he doesn’t have a lot of depth to him. Even when he and Cyra, the female protagonist, forge an unlikely friendship, I don’t feel like he developed much from that relationship. We see subtle changes in him, but nothing noteworthy, in my opinion.

Cyra, on the other hand, we see transform a lot throughout this novel. She has depth, a convincing character arc and is the more interesting of the two protagonists. There is more to her than Akos, but the two of them together didn’t work for me. Their relationship felt forced and like it was born out of necessity instead of naturally occurring over time. I definitely felt like Akos was suffering from a case of Stockholm Syndrome, and that is the real reason he ended up falling for Cyra.

Honestly, I didn’t understand most of what was going on in this novel. Some sections weren’t explained well, and some sections were overly explained when a simple explanation would have sufficed. This book felt very unbalanced, and I had to force myself to finish it at the halfway point. 

The end of the book was also interesting. *SPOILER* Cyra’s brother tells her she’s not his blood sister. Both Cyra and the reader are left to wonder if this is true. Her brother also reveals that their father is still alive, though he was thought to be dead for about seven or eight years. *SPOILER END*

The ending of the novel was interesting enough for me to go online and find out how the second book and final book in the series, The Fates Divide, ends… but not enough for me to read it. So I already know what happens/ who Cyra’s parents really are!

That’s how I know I really didn’t like a book/series- when I spoil the rest of it for myself, so I don’t have to put more time and energy into it!

Overall, I am really glad I bought this book secondhand and didn’t spend more money on it. This book disappointed me like I never thought possible, but not nearly as bad as The Library of the Dead disappointed me!

Have you read Carve the Mark? If so, did you enjoy it? Or were you disappointed by it as well? I would love to know! I hope everyone has a great week!

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