Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth
Carve the mark by Veronica Roth is the 1st in her new Sci-Fi series. I enjoyed it.
Okay, an overview. There are nine planets: Othyr, Koloande, Ogra, Essander, Zold, Pitha, Trella, Tepes and Thuvhe/UrekIn. Thuvhe/Urekin is one planet, ruled by two groups of people, the peaceful Thuvhesists and the violent Shotet. These groups do not get along. In a world with different planets, different atmospheres, different people, different beliefs, and different rules, one thing seems to run through everything. The current. The current is an invisible power that gives people special abilities and can be channeled into ships, machines, weapons, etc. Everyone has a currentgift, a special power that only they can control. This power is not always a benefit. In addition, some people are “favor-fated”, meaning that their fates are supposed to determine the movements of the worlds. These fates are revealed at the time of their birth, to all the oracles around the galaxy. The individuals are not necessarily told their fates. This is just all back-ground information. The book is much easier to read if you know this up front, and now don’t worry about it.
The actual story begins with Akos Kereseth and his brother Eijeh of the Thuvhesists, being kidnapped by the Shotets, who are ruled by the tyrannical Ryzek Noavek.
Ryzek wants Eijeh to become his Oracle, so that he can see the future, and gain power over everyone. Ryzek uses his currentgift of memory-exchanging to take some of Eijeh’s memories and hopefully consume his currentgift. Unfortunately, Eijeh’s mind cannot withstand this assault.
Meanwhile, Ryzek gives Akos to his sister Cyra, whose currentgift causes pain to anyone she touches, including herself. Akos’s touch calms her gift. Although the two are enemies, Akos and Cyra grow to rely on each other. Akos has one goal. That is to rescue his brother and take him home (whether he wants to go or not). Cyra too has a goal. She is sick of being her brother’s weapon.
The story is told from the viewpoints of both Akos and Cyra. This method really allows the reader insight into their thoughts, and the characters feel more real. The story is about two enemies who join forces for the good of all, about friendship, of family bonds, about differences being set aside. And there is an element of romance, of star-crossed lovers.
My only criticism of the book is the name of people, places, things. Yes, this is science fiction, so I wouldn’t expect John and Mary, but Akos and Cyra? Actually those aren’t even the strangest. Did you notice the planet names??? Once I sort of ignored the “unknown”, it got easier to read.
Okay, the elephant in the room. This book has received a lot of critical reviews because it apparently pits race against race. Then there is the criticism that the author is using Chronic Pain as a “gift”. Then, that the Shotet people in the book who actually carve a mark in their arm for every kill they make, are actually promoting self-harm. If you want to criticize for any of those reasons, go ahead. Just not here. Personally, I read this book for its entertainment value. Until I really read other reviews, I was not even aware of any of these concerns. They are not part of my review. I read this as a science-fiction book, like Star Trek (they battled different races too!). It is fiction. Period.
I enjoyed it!
Read: March 2017
Favorite Quotes from Carve the Mark:
“This body had carried me through a hard life. It looked exactly the way it was supposed to.”
“It burned. Every time, I thought I would be used to how much it burned, and every time, I was wrong. It was supposed to burn, supposed to remind you that it was no trifling thing, to take a life, to carve a loss.”
And then she said something strange. Breathlessly, and with reverence: “You feel like silence.”
About the Author: Veronica Roth is the NY Times best-selling author of the Divergent Series. She studied creative writing at Northwestern University and lives in Chicago.