Carve the Mark

Carve the Mark

Carve the Mark

by Veronica Roth

Genre: YA Science-Fiction
Published: January 17th 2017
by Katherine Teagen Books




On a planet where violence and vengeance rule, in a galaxy where some are favored by fate, everyone develops a currentgift, a unique power meant to shape the future. While most benefit from their currentgifts, Akos and Cyra do not—their gifts make them vulnerable to others’ control. Can they reclaim their gifts, their fates, and their lives, and reset the balance of power in this world? When Akos is thrust into Cyra’s world, the enmity between their countries and families seems insurmountable. They must decide to help each other to survive—or to destroy one another.


Veronica Roth’s Divergent has always brought up contradictory feelings within me: Roth’s world-building was severely lacking, yet the book itself was action-packed and impossible to put down. Interestingly enough, I feel completely the opposite about Carve the Mark: the world is intriguing (albeit a bit unoriginal), but the pacing is excruciatingly slow.

On the planet of Thuvhe, where everyone has a special power, two sides are fighting for control: the brutal Thuvhesit, who currently rule the planet, and the peaceful Shotet, who are tired of the Thuvhesit’s harsh rule.

Cya is the sister of the merciless Thuvhesit tyrant. Akos is the son of one of the Shotet’s leaders. When Akos is captured and taken taken hostage by the Thuvhesits, he is forced to ally with Cya to escape.

Cya is a decent protagonist, even if she isn’t secondarily original. She is fierce and tough, and has a tremendous amount of inner strength. However, she holds some undeniable similarities to many other YA heroines (especially Juliette from Shatter Me) and I wish her characterization was a bit more original.

Akos is a wonderfully written character. He is loyal and faithful to his family and his vulnerability and peaceful nature is written in perfect contrast to Cya’s character.

Ultimately, though, the story itself felt rather long-winded and the pacing was extremely slow. Despite being nearly 500 pages, not much happens throughout the entire book and it becomes tedious rather quickly. Roth spends so much time introducing us to her new world and doesn’t spend nearly enough time on the characterization, action scenes, or plot development of the story. (Strange, because one of the best things about Divergent was the never-ending action scenes).

Ultimately, Carve the Mark was definitely flawed, but I am curious to see what fans of Divergent have to say about it. If you’re looking for a well-written series set in space, I’d highly recommend Ender’s Game, Illuminae, or These Broken Stars instead.


83 thoughts on “Carve the Mark

  1. Aww I’m sorry you didn’t like this 🙁 I was really looking forward to it and just preordered it yesterday! I hope it lives up to my expectations.

  2. Ohhhhh sadness! So I liked Divergent. And Insurgent. Not Allegiant because BORING. Which makes me think that this may be the same kind of meandering misery? I don’t know. I mean, I’ll probably read it one day, just to see, but tbh, I am not in a huge hurry, sadly. Great review, I am so sorry it didn’t work for you!

  3. To be honest, I’ve felt iffy about this one since I read the sampler from BEA. I can totally see where you get the pacing note from. From the start, I just wasn’t all that interested, and the writing turned me off? I don’t know, I’ll have to see a bit more of it to make up my mind. Sorry you didn’t like this one though, and I hope your next read is better <3

    1. Thank you Eli! And it really is a shame, especially considering how great Roth’s pacing and action scenes were in Divergent.

  4. Considering I never ended up reading Allegiant, I’m definitely curious to see what I’ll make of this book – the hype has been so high! It’s unfortunate you didn’t enjoy it Zoe, I guess now I know I had a reason to be skeptical on this one. thanks for sharing your well-written and thoughtful review!

  5. I think I’ll definitely be skipping this one. I liked Divergent, but never picked up Insurgent. I quickly lost interest in continuing the series. I can’t do slow books these days. Especially extremely slow.

  6. I am so surprised and disappointed that the pacing of this was what let it down! Divergent had its flaws but it was so fast-paced that I couldn’t put it down so I am definitely re-considering picking this one up. Thanks for your honest and helpful review, Zoe!!

    1. YES. My thoughts exactly! It’s such a shame, because it’s obvious Roth can deliver some great action scenes, but it’s almost like a different author wrote this. Such a shame.

  7. I think the whole reason Divergent worked was because it was fast-paced — not a favorite book of mine. I agree with your recommendation of Ender’s Game. SUCH a good book. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank YOU for your lovely comment Alyssa! And I agree! Divergent may have had its faults, but it was almost impossible to put down. And yeah for Ender’s Game!

  8. Hmm. When this book was first announced I was excited to read it. However, that excitement has faded a lot over time. The Divergent series didn’t blow my mind and I’m just not feeling it right now. I’ll give it a pass for now. Great review. 😀

  9. Ohhhh I’ve heard some negative reviews on this one, but I’m sad you didn’t like it!! I never read the Divergent series, but my sister loves them! I’ll have to warn her about this one. :/ This sounds similar to the problems I’m having with The Bone Witch. Have you read that one??

  10. Oh now, Sorry to hear you didn’t like this! It’s actually a book I was kind of looking forward to (but also dreading a little bit). I really quite enjoyed the first Divergent book and the second but Allegiant… I hated that book a lot. So, I was obviously nervous to read another book by Veronica Roth after the hot mess which was the end of her last trilogy. This will have to be a library borrow for me if I get around to reading it.

    1. I think everyone’s simultaneously excited and scared to read this one haha. And I was the same way about the Divergent series – it started off well, but went downhill from there. Let me know what you think of it if you decide to give it a try!

  11. I’m going to be avoiding this one – read a couple of blog posts/tweets pointing out the racist overtones of the book as well. So it looks like a disappointment all round, I guess.

  12. Awww I was looking forwards to this book for the longest time but as the release date has been approaching I’ve heard mostly negative reviews. I did enjoy Divergent but that went downhill as I continued the series. I’m unsure whether I’m going to read this one. Great review Zoe 😀

    1. I was the same way about the Divergent series – it started off well, but went downhill from there. Let me know what you think of it if you decide to give it a try!

  13. Oh wow I had no idea Veronica Roth actually had a new book out??? I’m so unupdated haha. I’m sorry you didn’t like this book :/ I really liked Divergent, though I never finished the trilogy. But it’s sad to see that this one is really slow. That sucks. Great review, though, Zoe, and thank you for sharing! <3

    1. Let me know what you think of it if you decide to give it a try Jillian – I’m curious to see what you’d think about it!

  14. Oh no, too bad that book was so, so slow, it’s so strange given how action-packed Divergent and the other books felt – even a bit too action-packed at times, haha. I don’t know whether or not I’ll read that book, but for now I’m more on the “no” side of this question. Lovely review 🙂

    1. Exactly! Divergent had its flaws, but nobody could deny it was fast paced and almost impossible to put down. This one was the complete opposite, and it almost felt like it was written by a different author in that regard. Thank you!

  15. I’ve never been a fan of Veronica Roth’s writing, so I guess I’m glad I don’t have to waste my time on this? There’s been such bad publicity of this though so I don’t think I was going to bother with it anyways.

    Awesome review Zoe! Sorry you had to read this and I hope your next read is better!

  16. I don’t think I finished divergent – but I was willing to give this one a go. May move it down my TBR pile as this sounds disappointing and I just finished read two very long winded books that I didn’t enjoy 🙁 Thanks for sharing you thoughts

  17. I’m not planning to read this one because of the problematic content, but it sounds that without even addressing these issues, it didn’t have too much going for it to begin with. I’ve noticed a few successful authors who come out with a sophomore series and it’s just not as good as the first. Appreciate the review.

    1. Thank you Alicia! I noticed the problematic content as well but decided not to dive into that as deeply in my review because I know other bloggers have covered that extensively. Thank you! <3

  18. I’ve never really been a fan of Roth’s, so I had no intent on reading this book all along. And then all this bad stuff was coming out about it that really just turned me away. But at the same time, you never really know if those are rumors or not. I never liked Juliette from Shatter Me, so Cya doesn’t seem that appealing to me. Though I like slow pacing, it can get a bit too much. That seems kind of like what this book was like. And what are those names? I cannot even begin to imagine how Thuvhe is pronounced.

    1. Yes all around to your comment. It’s so hard to know what to believe in terms of reading reviews of books before they’re published, but I suppose it’s better to be safe than sorry. And I didn’t notice the connection between Juliette and Cya before, but now that you mention it you’re spot on. (Although I suppose Cya is a little less emotional and angsty than Juliette). Thank you! <3

  19. Great review Zoe! I wasn’t the biggest of the Divergent trilogy. I was honestly very surprised why everyone is a big fan of that series. There have been huge controversies regarding this book, which disheartened me quite a bit. Plus I don’t know, I loved Illuminae, and this seems rather a plain sci-fi. I am still not sure whether to read it or not ahhhh.

    1. If you weren’t a huge fan of the Divergent series to begin with, this probably won’t be for you. Let me know if you decide whether or not to read it! 🙂

  20. i finished this book yesterday. i felt really disappointed with the plot as it felt like nothing particularly interesting happened for so long. i felt that the worldbuilding wasn’t done very well, and i hardly knew the world at all :/
    i really enjoyed the characters though.

    1. Aw…I’m sorry to hear you felt disappointed by it Chelsea. 🙁 I can completely see where you’re coming from though – the pacing was my main concern as well.

  21. I was so ready to read this book, especially because I have loved Divergent, also by this author. But I am sorry that you managed to find this one incredibly slow and boring… and even unoriginal. I’ve also heard a lot of other controversial things about this book being offensive to some. I have to admit though, I’m probably going to read it because now I am curious!

    My recent post and giveaway:

    1. Definitely give it a try, especially if you enjoyed the Divergent trilogy! Let me know what you think if you end up reading it. 🙂

  22. This book has received so much hype and also seems to be quite controversial with the diversity crowd. Now that I think back on it, the Divergent series was not really THAT great. I liked it for its action, but at the end of the day, it was quite meh compared to other dystopians that were published around the same time.

    I didn’t really have a desire to pick up Carve The Mark, and I’m glad to have read your review as it cements the fact that I should spend my time reading something I’m really looking forward to! Thanks for the honest review Zo x

    1. My thoughts exactly Joy. It’s almost surprising that this was written by the same author as Divergent because of how slow the pacing was. I mean, like you said, Divergent may have had its faults but you can’t deny it was nearly impossible to put down. 🙂

  23. Oh no! I’m so sorry you didn’t like this one, Zoe. 1.5 stars? Uh oh. Not a good sign. xD It seems to be everywhere lately and when I went to the bookstore yesterday it felt like it was on every shelf haha. I almost picked it up, but I’m glad I waited! I did really enjoy Divergent when I read it, but I honestly don’t know how this one’s going to end up, especially after the mixed reviews. Thank you for sharing though Zoe!! <3

    1. If you enjoyed Divergent, I’m curious to see what you think of this one if you end up giving it a try Analee. Let me know if you ever read it, okay?

  24. MUCH SAD. This is getting bad reviews all around, as far as my actual trusted reviewer sources go.

    And what you’re saying is I think what many other people I know hinted at: that Carve The Mark seems a bit too… by-the-books? Like, I’m getting the impression that Veronica Roth sat down and analyzed and storyboarded sooooooo much prior to actually writing this that it’s more of a formula than it is a story. Which would explain the awkward pacing despite the relatively interesting world and the derivative characters. (I actually LIKED Shatter Me, unlike most, in a guilty-pleasure fashion, but to actually emulate Juliette is a mooooonstrously bad idea. Mostly because it’s so easily recognizable.)

    I felt the exact same way about Divergent as you, too, Zoe – exciting book, shoddy worldbuilding. So chances are that I’d feel the exact same way about Carve The Mark, too. Shame. And that’s not even getting into the problematic threads that have sprung up left and right as to its mythology.

    Needless to say – I love your honesty, Zoe. <3 And I love the way you break these down and explain the low rating. I feel like I agree with everything and I haven't even read the book yet.

    1. My thoughts exactly Lexie. It’s almost surprising that this was written by the same author as Divergent because of how slow the pacing was. I mean, like you said, Divergent may have had its faults but you can’t deny it was nearly impossible to put down. Thank you for always leaving the sweetest comments Lexie – you always make my day! <3

      (And haha - Shatter Me ix one of my guilty pleasures too. xD)

  25. Considering this is almost 500 pages, I’m glad to hear your opinion on it before rushing out to get it. I dropped the Divergent series after Insurgent, so if Carve the Mark is lacking a strong plot, I don’t know if I could get through it. Thanks for the thoughtful review!

    1. Thank you for the lovely comment Lina! <3 If you weren't a huge fan of the Divergent series this probably wouldn't be for you either. 🙁

  26. I was keen for this book originally because it was pitched as having a Star Wars element, which is amazing because Star Wars <3 But then when I heard about the problematic elements regarding racism I took it off my TBR because, ultimately, I don't want to support a book like that.

    It's a shame you didn't end up liking this one, Zoe, but hopefully you'll move on to better books!

  27. My husband bought this one shortly after release for me, knowing I enjoyed her Divergent series and it just sounds so utterly boring. It reminds me of the Alex Bracken book, although I enjoy hers, they’re so bloody long and take at least a week to read. I might save it for a rainy day. Sorry you didn’t have a great time with it Zoe, but brilliant review nonetheless <3

    1. Oh my gosh, I didn’t even think about that comparison, but now that you mention it you are spot on. This is definitely like one of Alex Bracken’s books. Thank you Kelly!

  28. Every review of this book makes me more wary about starting it. And now I actually don’t feel like read this book. I’d rather read a book that I really want to read 🙂 Loved this review!

  29. I’m so glad I wasn’t interested with this book. Other than the controversy surrounding it, I’m just not into dystopia THAT much anymore. And then I read your review about how similar the protagonist with Juliette is… no thanks. One Juliette is not enough, I don’t need two!

  30. I haven’t read “Divergent,” but I do like the films. I bought this one (probably mostly because of the hype) and did like ‘Broken Stars’ fine, so we’ll see what I think of this one… !

  31. I am a fan of rhe Divergent series, so I am HOPING that I will like this book, but you know, maybe not! I’ve already heard lots of not-so-good things about it, and it seems a little strange to me. XD Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us, Zoe! 😀

  32. I wasn’t planning on reading this one but was intrigued to know your thoughts. I didn’t like Divergent, but I do agree with what you had to say about it. There was never a dull moment.
    Too bad this one became so controversial and beaten down.
    Great review, Zoe 🙂

    1. It is a shame, isn’t it? Let me know what you think if you ever decide to give it a try. 🙂 Thanks Sophie! <3

    1. HAHAH OMG. This is the most relatable comment I’ve ever seen omg. I’m glad I’m not the only person who does that. xD

  33. I read this book and thoroughly enjoyed it! But I’ve seen some negative reviews about it though none of them have actually explained why they didn’t like it but you did. It refreshing to see a review with a contrasting opinion.

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