Carve The Mark: A Review

Something about Carve The Mark caught my eye. I didn’t know what it was. Maybe it was the cover, which really had some effort put into it in its simple yet relevant approach. Or maybe it was the idea of it being set in space, with a war impending.

I read it with excitement. Divergent had never appealed to me, but this book by the same author Veronica Roth seemed different. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t get in to it.

There were a few problems with this book, that I personally found.

Development – I found the development was lacking. There were planets introduced, touched on – one was made of ice caps, the other heat – but left to be forgotten about. It was like the planets didn’t matter, like they were just an after thought. I wanted to know who truly lived there, and how those planets functioned. I wanted to know why they were important to this story. But there didn’t seem to be importance to them. They were just…there.

Another issue with development was the characters. Many of them had what I assume are meant to be futuristic names, but were just stupid, and jarring. They got in the way of the story as I wasted time trying to remember them and trying to pronounce them each time I read them. There were character names that kept cropping up, which were important to the role of Akos and Cyra (a name i had to google to remind myself), but I had forgotten about them by the time they were mentioned again. Saying this however, there was one character who seemed well enough developed. Cyra’s brother, Ryzek, was the clear enemy of the story, exploiting his sisters ‘current gift’ as he searched for dominance. However, his scenes were either lacking of dialogue, or weren’t enough to keep the suspense going. I wouldn’t mind a story focussed more on his character than the others.

Romance – I’m sorry, but does every YA novel need to have a romance? I already knew, immediately, that the two main characters would fall in love. I couldn’t accept it, and it just bored me. I didn’t want to read about a Romeo and Juliette-esque romance when there was supposed to be a war(?) going on. They come from opposite backgrounds, different planets, yet they work together well.

The current gifts – I’ve seen some people saying that the current gift of Cyra of pain is offensive to those with chronic pain. All I’m going to say is people get too offended these days. I didn’t see anything offence about it. This is a novel set in Space, for God’s sake. Accept it for what it is. I also learnt that Veronica Roth herself has chronic pain, so she obviously didn’t meant this to be offensive. However, I found the current gifts were a bit pointless, and were sometimes used as a way to get out of impossible situations, such as fights to the death in an arena (somewhat copying The Hunger Games?). At first, I thought it was going to be interesting as people developed their gifts and used them to fight, but they just seemed to be add ons and mentioned when they were remembered. They didn’t matter to me. I didn’t even understand Akos’ gift properly.

The oracle – apparently, Ryzek is searching for an oracle. For what reason, though, I’m not sure?

There were a few other things which got on my nerves. There was a traditional festival which took place, and was mentioned a few times, and played a key part, but again, there was no explanation as to why this festival was there and what its purpose was. I wanted that to be explored, but it wasn’t. Too much time was wasted on what Akos thought of Cyra and what Cyra thought of Akos. Maybe I’m not the intended market audience here – a twenty-two year old gay male – so maybe I missed the relevance in this slow burning and boring plot.

There were also quotes for the sake of quotes, which are clearly intended for people to tattoo on themselves and then regret in later years. Quotes such as ‘honour has no place in survival’ made me exhale from my nose and flutter my eyes.

Having said all of this, the novel is written well, albeit the author could have substituted the words ‘he said’, ‘she said’.

I’m afraid, though, that I got near the end, glanced at the last couple of chapters, saw someone return that I didn’t know, but was clearly meant to know, and just couldn’t be bothered to finish it.

A great read if you swallow romances and teenage angst, but not for me!

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