Carve the Mark
When a young adult author achieves immense success, his or her next book is filled with expectations, hopes and dreams that the writer’s words will capture their audience with the feelings they can inspire --- especially if readers must wait for years for this next book. For an author who has a large following, that pressure can be enormous, particularly when it comes to creating new characters with different personalities than ones that others fell in love with. But Veronica Roth has managed the pressure well, as shown by her newest book, CARVE THE MARK.
"The world building is rich, the pacing is just right and the essence is the perfect blend of calm and strong at the same time. To the delight of fans everywhere, Roth’s writing is back, polished and in style."
Veronica Roth is a #1 New York Times bestselling author, most well-known for the Divergent series. Her new book, CARVE THE MARK, which is the first book in a duology, features the two characters Akos and Cyra. Set in space, the novel introduces the “current,” a pulsing energy that runs through every inhabitant of the galaxy --- and gives currentgifts to adolescents once they come of a certain age. Cyra, the sister to the ruler of the Shotet people, has the gift of pain --- and her brother frequently uses her as a weapon to brandish others. Akos is part of the peace-loving people of Thuvhe. The two warring groups have fought over the same planet for years and when Akos is captured and taken to Shotet, he meets Cyra. Together, they must help themselves out of their dire situations while setting aside their differences.
I have always been a fan of Veronica Roth’s work. She truly knows how to place personal struggles in larger worlds. CARVE THE MARK is no different, and then some. She has clearly matured greatly; no longer is she writing in simple sentences, but she is managing to expand her writing in a way that fits the particular story and cast of characters. The details are inserted into such smooth language, but in a method that does not read as heavy-handed, forced to make the story seem more lavish than it actually is.
The characters and relationships between various individuals are also fleshed out. Although there are large swaths of characters introduced throughout the book, every character seems realistic and three-dimensional. Their dialogue and actions are natural, based on their personalities --- and never left off track. The conversations between characters never felt too rushed or too slow. To Roth’s credit, the authenticity --- a key part of any story --- blends in seamlessly.
The dialogue may also have its drawbacks, though, because of its focus on developing characters and conversations, leading to a dearth of action for readers. There are scenes of fighting and intense battles between others, as well as exploring space travel, potions and poisons. However, those scenes are not the main focus of the story --- CARVE THE MARK is subtle, compared to flashy.
Fans of Roth’s previous work are one of the main groups that are highly recommended to read the first book in this new duology. After all, who is to miss the next step in her career? But those who have not read the Divergent series or Roth’s short story in SUMMER DAYS AND SUMMER NIGHTS may find interest in new galaxies, people with supernatural gifts, potion making and the variety of different planets and cultures. The world building is rich, the pacing is just right and the essence is the perfect blend of calm and strong at the same time. To the delight of fans everywhere, Roth’s writing is back, polished and in style.
Reviewed by Hannah C., Teen Board Member on January 17, 2017