Book Review: CARVE THE MARK by Veronica Roth

Title in white on blue bleeding gold from slashes
Genre: Sci-fi
Age Range: YA
Star Rating: 3.5 stars
Series: yes - first book of duology
CW: chronic pain, self-harm


Book cover for CARVE THE MARK: title in silver on blue bleeding gold from slashes

In a galaxy powered by the current, everyone has a gift.

Cyra is the sister of the brutal tyrant who rules the Shotet people. Cyra’s currentgift gives her pain and power—something her brother exploits, using her to torture his enemies. But Cyra is much more than just a blade in her brother’s hand: she is resilient, quick on her feet, and smarter than he knows.

Akos is the son of a farmer and an oracle from the frozen nation-planet of Thuvhe. Protected by his unusual currentgift, Akos is generous in spirit, and his loyalty to his family is limitless. Once Akos and his brother are captured by enemy Shotet soldiers, Akos is desperate to get his brother out alive—no matter what the cost.

Then Akos is thrust into Cyra’s world, and the enmity between their countries and families seems insurmountable. Will they help each other to survive, or will they destroy one another?

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


I love it when I come to write a review of a book I read a long time ago and am now re-reading, and I find a review on Goodreads that holds true still, so I can simply edit and expand!

I liked this book, and I thought the characters were well drawn, with their reasons clear and understandable – given their explained motivations (which you were sometimes hit over the head about).

My old introduction certainly holds true! It was fun on a second read through, which is impressive for a 3.5 stars book! Usually I find books that aren’t 4-5 stars interest me less on a second read, but this one held my attention throughout (the advantage of mostly reading a book in one day over these holidays.)

The world is a lot of fun. I like the idea of the current and the currentgifts. It brings this sci-fi towards the sci-fi/fantasy boundary. I think it’s still more sci-fi than fantasy, with the ships and the scavenge (I loved that sequence, and the water planet gave me the clone planet from star wars vibe).

My biggest complaint is that the plot seemed to jump forwards, without warning, with time passing in huge jumps. It was a little jarring – like the jump in place (and I assume time) between parts 3 and 4. My other little nit-pick is that it takes a whole chapter after the first kiss to get any reaction from Akos, even though the kiss was in his chapter (she pulls back and leaves, and he thinks/has no reaction to being kissed by her!).

And I do still agree with this complaint. I had forgotten how many time jumps were in this book, and I am still confused by the chronology of the first 100 pages, as I think it jumps back in time at about page 40?

One thing I did notice on this read through was the difference in styles between Cyra’s POV and Akos’. His is in third person, and hers is in first, which was pretty unsettling to get used to. It doesn’t help that the book starts off with two Akos chapters and then a dozen from Cyra. It was very hard to get to know Akos because there was both a noticeable absence of him, and then he was in a less personal POV style.

I knew returning to this book that one of the characters was called Sifa. So I have a very rare name – as if, I’ve only ever seen it used to refer to me. Thus reading my name was very jarring and pulled me out of the story EVERY TIME, even though I knew it was coming. For me, that name means me, and this was supposed to be referring to someone else? It’s a personal thing, but it did make the final act hard to read because I kept seeing my name – and I know she has a bigger role in the second book so oh dear, that’s going to be fun.

I have the second book here, and the whole point of this re-read was to finale finish the duology, so here goes!

Read my reviews of other books by Veronica Roth:

Young Adult:

Carve the Mark (this series):


Chosen Ones:


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