Hi folks! Hope y’all have been doing well!
Veronica Roth’s latest novel came out earlier this year so here’s my review for it! Nice to be writing these things again. 🙂
Also, I changed the look of this blog a bit! Goodness knows it needed a change. ❤
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.
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.
I’ve been a fan of Veronica Roth for a while now so hearing about her new book naturally got me excited, and I’m super happy to say that I was not disappointed with Carve the Mark! That being said, however, I did find a few issues with this book that I’ll also delve into in this review.
Right, so: the worldbuilding. Carve the Mark takes place in a Star Wars-esque universe (or galaxy, rather). I really liked the planets and Shotet culture and just the effort that went into creating this whole world for the characters. You learn so much about the cultures and religions of the societies and the way things are and I absolutely adore that sort of thing because I am a big nerd.
I loved the characters too! They’re all so raw and real and you get to learn a lot about their personal histories and get to know the way they think. Cyra is just so broken and beautiful and you feel so much for her. Akos is also really sympathetic character and really, the entire cast of characters is really intriguing and interesting and 3D which is exactly what I love! Seeing them together and the way their relationship develops was well-written and really good. And the plot, though it dragged at certain points, was winding and mostly fast paced and I found myself consistently excited for whatever was to come next. I mean, it’s set in space for goodness sake! You gotta love some good, exhilarating space action.
Okay, now for the problematic part: you can definitely pick out some racist undertones in this book. Hear me out here. Cyra’s people, the Shotet, are portrayed as savages and warriors, whereas Akos and his people–Thuvians–are the kind, peace-loving counterpart. However, if you look closer, you’ll notice that Roth identifies the Shotet to be darker skinned (or mixed-race) and sets up their culture to be galactic indigenous people of sorts. Meanwhile, the Thuvians have paler skin and are basically colonizers of the planet the Shotet have always existed on. Furthermore, the Shotet language is described as “harsh and guttaral” versus the smoother, softer sounds of the Thuvhe language. Keeping this in mind with the way Cyra and Akos’s romance plays out, I couldn’t help but feel that Carve the Mark was playing on the trope of “angry person of color is civilized by kindly white person and they fall in love.” I am sure Roth did not mean for it to come out this way, but it does not change the fact that it still subconsciously plays into racist stereotypes. Big sigh.
All in all: If you can look beyond the whole racism issue, Carve the Mark would be amazing! The lack of YA sci-fi lately is pretty upsetting, and Carve the Mark was a great display of Roth’s skill and just how thrilling stories in space can be. But, yep, there’s that whole racism thing. (I would recommend this book because I genuinely enjoyed it, but be sure to read it keeping in mind that you’ll probably feel a prickle of ://// while reading.)