My Review: Carve the Mark is the latest from Veronica Roth, bestselling author of the Divergent series. It is set on the ice planet Thuvhe (Thoo-vuh) and tells the story of two warring nations and two very different people. Cyra is a hardened Shotet warrior, increasingly crippled by a her current gift which can cause others, and herself, immeasurable pain. Akos and his brother Eijah were kidnapped from Thuvhe by the Shotet when they were children and have been forced to live in captivity. Without giving away the details, it is a story of friendship, vengeance, endurance, loyalty, and the lengths some will go to for love and others for power.
Carve the Mark didn't knock my socks off, but it didn't make me want to eat them either which is a feat for some YA these days. Initially, it took a while for me to properly engage with the characters, due in large part to my distraction with their hard to pronounce names (well, hard to pronounce correctly). Is it See-rah? Kee-rah? Who knew?! I finally had to put the book down and go look it up so that I get past that particular obstacle**. Once I was able to get in the proper head space, it was easier to read and enjoy the characters.
Sometimes YA protagonists can seem a little too perfect, too strong, to good-looking, etc, but Roth does a good job writing believable characters. I loved that neither Cyra or Akos was the be-all-end-all of their species. They struggled in different ways, both needing each other for different reasons. I felt their personalities, chemistry, and relationships were authentic and not over-the-top-I-would-abandon-my-family-for-just-one-more-second-with-you dramatic like some other YA novels. The story line had a lot of different elements and characters that sometimes were hard to keep straight, but overall I enjoyed my time with the story, even if I was decidedly unhooked. If Carve the Mark is a stand-alone, which I highly doubt, then Veronica Roth is mean because it ended with several loose ends. However, if it's part of a greater series, which I strongly suspect, then I am willing to give the next book a chance to really hook me....as long as it doesn't take nine years to come out. In the famous words of Kimberly "Sweet Brown" Williams, Ain't nobody got time for that!
**Let's just get that out of the way for you: Cyra = SIGH-ruh, Akos = AH-kose, Eijah = EYE-juh, Ryzek = RYE-zek. There. That should help.
My Rating: 3.25 Stars
For the sensitive reader: One instance of swearing that I can recall. Some violence towards the innocent. Some making out between two characters. Allusions to a homosexual relationship between two secondary characters.