Carve the Mark (Carve the Mark, #1)Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth
My rating: 4/5 cats
One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

i’m going to review this without giving too much away, which seems to be the publisher’s desire, since this is the first time i have ever gotten an arc that had this

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across every single page.

text blurred so no one yells at me.


i am someone who liked the divergent trilogy. i even sort of liked those four stories: Four: A Divergent Story Collection.

but i am SO SO pleased that roth has diverged (ho-HO!) from that path and gone off in a whole new direction with this book (which is apparently the first part of a duology). i do love an author with more than one idea in their head.

in a lot of ways, this book is like saga

it’s got that same romeo and juliet in spaaaaaaace thing going on, where two people on opposite sides of a long and deeply-rooted cultural animosity develop special feelings for each other after one of them is basically the prisoner of the other.

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no wings, no horns, and no teevee-headed people, but the two crazy kids in this book do have some unusual abilities in the form of currentgifts.


i still think this is a dumb word, but it’s a little less dumb than i expected going into it. “current” does not mean a “now” gift, which is how i interpreted it from the synopsis, but rather to a gift from a magical current that runs through the galaxy, doling out special abilities to people. some of these abilities are useful, and some are more like burdens than gifts. think x-men. in spaaaaaaaace.

i am not usually a fan of space-based novels, and i’m even less enthusiastic about the romantic parts of books, especially in YA. however, i most certainly enjoyed this book. the fact that it is set in space is easy to forget, which sounds like a criticism, but worked out well for me. it’s otherworldly, but it’s not full of people floating about in spacesuits or going through wormholes or making me feel inadequate in my understanding of, you know, science.

the romance is what it is – it’s certainly handled better than the romance in other books i have read (including divergent, now that i think about it). it unfolds slowly, it isn’t too sappy, and it is grounded in circumstances that seem likely to inspire feelings of “you and me against the world;” where two characters who are treated as “other” by most people cleave to each other in their otherness and feelings develop in a way that makes sense.

although maybe not to them:

“You make no sense to me,” she said.

and happily – cyra is not tris recast in spaaaaaaaace.

there are the superficial physical differences – cyra has darker skin, is much taller and … sturdier than tris, and by the end of the book, something happens that alters her appearance in a way that i personally think is SO FREAKING COOL, and also ghastly. but more importantly, her personality is not just warming up the tris leftovers. they are both proactive and badass with the fighting skills without getting too sentimental when violence needs doing, but cyra has had a much harder path dealt to her than tris, and it has toughened her worldview, giving her more depth and darkness than tris ever had.

Pity, I knew, was just disrespect wrapped in kindness.

i will confess, it took me some time to get into this one. it may have been my headspace at the time of reading, or it may truly have been a slow starter. divergent grabbed me from the get-go, and i had expected this would be a typically fast YA read for me, but i didn’t start really digging it until i was about a third of the way through. some of the drag of it is indeed the names and sillywords, and some of it just doesn’t make sense, but a lot of the divergent world didn’t make a lick of sense, and it didn’t stop it from being entertaining. if books had to make sense, christianity never would have caught on.

oh, and the title?

“Carve the mark,” I said, my throat tight.


“Carve the mark,” he said. He was so hoarse the words almost didn’t come out.

what does it mean? why does it make throats tight and words hoarse?

blur blur blur – you’ll have to wait for that.


i’m a little surprised by some of the negative reviews, ‘cuz i liked it. are my critical faculties rusty? i’ll review it soon and you can tell me i’m wrong. that’s how this “goodreads” thing works, right?

OOH, i got my hands on an ARC! now i can enjoy many silly words and names and i hope it’s fun!

i will dive in SOON!

i can’t even make it through that synopsis without 1) getting bored and 2) activating my “fantasy genre silly-name” shield, but as one of the few people who did like the way Allegiant ended (or at least didn’t have a problem with the thing most people hated it for), i gotta say i’m looking forward to this. bring it on, silly names and all!

read my reviews on goodreads

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