Farmer Fiction: ‘Carve the Mark’ leaves readers disappointed

Novel released earlier this year combines romance, brutality


Courtesy of HarperCollins.

In Veronica Roth’s new hit novel “Carve the Mark,” the author of the bestselling “Divergent” trilogy takes her best shot at the typical “Romeo and Juliet” type of romance. Cyra Noavek, the daughter of the brutal Shotet leader, helps her brother give punishments to people who rebel against them in exchange for keeping a dark secret hidden. Akos Kereseth, who used to live in the peaceful Thuvhesit, was kidnapped when he was 11 years old after seeing his dad brutally murdered by the Shotet soldiers. Akos tries to find his way back home as he is the only one who can stop the ‘current,’ an invisible power that gives people abilities and can be channeled into objects.  

The Shotet and Thuvhesit both live together on planet Thuvhe. The people on this planet have ‘current gifts’ which are developed during the puberty stage. Cyra and Akos would soon be brought together as their destiny says. The creativity of the current and its gifts is really well thought out.

At the age of 9, Cyra develops her current gift which allows her to transfer pain into others; she generates this pain from the darkness that runs through her veins. While she can hardly deal with the pain, others can’t and die instantly when she touches them. Soon after she develops this gift, her father is killed by an attack which leaves her brother in charge of the whole country. Ryzek, her brother, uses her gift to his advantage to make people afraid of the Shotet power so there aren’t any rebellions within the country. Cyra honestly seems like the same character Tris from “Divergent” but in a different world, which made the book extremely bland.

Akos is still being held captive by the Shotet just as his fate said. Because his current gift can block other people’s gifts, he is given to Cyra to stop her gift. They soon make a deal to help Cyra make painkillers with herbs, and in exchange Cyra will help Akos learn how to fight.

Then Akos is struck with the guilt of his brother’s memories being stolen as punishment when Akos’ first attempt to leave the castle fails. While Cyra can’t help but feel betrayed because she trusted Akos, they are put in the same room so she can watch over him to make sure he doesn’t try to escape again. Soon after they start to care deeply for one another, Cyra helps the renegades with the extermination of Ryzek because he threatened to kill Akos. It just seems like the plot is thrown all over the place as there is no clear plot line which made the book seem like it was going nowhere.

Now with plans failing, the only good aspect is that Akos makes it out alive from a deal made between Cyra and the renegades. Cyra, not knowing if she is going to live to see Akos again, has been stripped of her royalty and forced to fight for her life in a death match. This is when the book finally starts to get interesting with Cyra barely conscious while trying to stay alive while fighting.

It feels like the hype for this book was raised too high because of how successful the “Divergent” trilogy was. “Carve the Mark” seemed unimaginative as it was too similar to “Divergent.” In the end, “Carve the Mark” deserves 4 out of 5 stars for the creativity of the planet and current gifts, however, take note that it takes about halfway through the almost 500 page book to get interesting.