Friday, 20 January 2017

Book Review - Carve The Mark

I CAN TALK ABOUT CARVE THE MARK FREELY NOW!!! HOORAY!!! (Back in November of last year, I went to a Carve the Mark event at HarperCollins HQ [write-up for that is here] where I was very honoured to receive a very early Advance Reader Copy of Carve The Mark. With this, I had t sign a Do Not Disclose Agreement - basically, I couldn't talk about the story. I can say I had a copy and was reading it, BUT NOTHING ELSE! But, now it's book's out, I CAN TALK ABOUT IT! HOORAY! [And yes, am a few days late as wanted to post on Tuesday/release date but hey-ho!])

It's hard to explain this duology so bear with me.

On a faraway planet split by war, in a galaxy ruled by the current and by the fates, people receive currentgifts, a unique power that should help shape the future. But this isn't always the case...

Cyra is the sister of the brutal tyrant leader, Ryzek, of the Shotet people. He exploits her currentgift - she can bring pain and death with a single touch. But Cyra isn't just her brother's blade. She's much more than her brother gives her credit for...

Akos is from the peace-loving Thuvhe and his love to his family is limitless. When his brother and he get kidnapped by Ryzek's people for reasons unknown, Akos vows to save his brother at whatever cost. And then he is thrown into Cyra's life...

Honour has no place in survival.

Ok, now, where to start? (I say this as I have been reading this since November and over finished it a few days ago. This book took a while for me to read - thanks Christmas, work, reading slump!). Plus, I went into Carve the Mark a little wary. I suspected that I would like it, but with Divergent getting the fandom and the hype around it (and oh, the horror of the Allegiant movie!), I was worried this wasn't going to live up to the hype and the attention.

Well, this book isn't Divergent rehash. I think a few of us were quite worried that this is what would happen. Instead, we got a space opera that had a Star Wars meets X-Men vibe to it, a mix of characters that were new and fresh, told in a unique writing style (Cyra's chapters were told in first person and Akos was told in third person) and with the intensity level a little higher. Plus, the writing felt stronger and the world building felt more in place compared to Divergent which, at times, felt as if Veronica made it up as she went along...

Also, this felt more character-driven. Yes, there was action, but this book wasn't driven forward by action. It was driven forward by characters like Cyra and Akos, and this could be a problem to some of you guys who like stories to be action driven.

Both Cyra and Akos I really enjoyed reading. I loved that Cyra was a badass and Akos was more gentle. Very different to other sci-fi that I read where the men are badasses and the women are the kind givers. I liked how they worked together. I prefer reading from Cyra's point of view but Akos showed different elements which I also enjoyed. I wasn't a complete fan of the other characters, but I enjoyed spending time with Cyra and Akos. Am curious over Akos's brother, Eijeh. He goes through a big character change through this story and intrigued on reading that... maybe a novella or something told from his point of view, maybe?

However, this book does have a few problems. The first is that, because I was thrown headfirst into this story, it did take a while for me to find my groove. Around 100 to 150 pages is when I found it and that's when I started speeding through. Maybe if the information was spread out throughout the book more or some editing was used to keep the pace and rhythm, it would have worked better. But while in those 150 pages, I did struggle and, at one point, did consider DNFing this, even though I was enjoying the writing.

Am figuring out how to write this problem which other people I have seen and written by far better and more informed people than me (this article here might help if you haven't heard/read). There are problematic aspects over race, antagonism, chronic pain and other issues that might make some readers uncomfortable and called racist. Now, I don't believe Veronica Roth did this to offend nor on purpose (which is no excuse). But I worry that some of you guys will be offend by the issues raised and get upset while reading this so, if you are going to read this, be aware or don't read this book.

Normally, I would give you an "Overall Paragraph", summing up my opinions on if you should read this or not. But with this book, I don't feel comfortable saying one way or the other. So, I will leave it open for you to decide if you want to read this or not. It's your decision and don't let us tell you one way or the other. Just be aware of the information given before you make a decision.

1 comment:

  1. I recently saw issues on GR and people removing their stars because of the problems with race and chronic pain. I haven't read it yet, but I do think that's a bit strange since it's fiction. Fiction should be anything, even shocking. Then again, I guess I shouldn't say anything about that - haven't read it yet! :-) But I plan on it.
    Rebecca @ The Portsmouth Review
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