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Publisher's Summary

Fans of Star Wars and Divergent will revel in internationally best-selling author Veronica Roth's stunning new science-fiction fantasy series.

On a planet where violence and vengeance rule, in a galaxy where some are favored by fate, everyone develops a currentgift, a unique power meant to shape the future. While most benefit from their currentgifts, Akos and Cyra do not - their gifts make them vulnerable to others' control. Can they reclaim their gifts, their fates, and their lives and reset the balance of power in this world?

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 from the peace-loving nation of Thuvhe, and his loyalty to his family is limitless. Though protected by his unusual currentgift, 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. When Akos is thrust into Cyra's world, the enmity between their countries and families seems insurmountable. They must decide to help each other to survive - or to destroy one another.

©2017 Veronica Roth (P)2017 HarperCollins Publishers

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  • Joy
  • Midlothian, IL, United States
  • 01-30-17

Eyeroll

So, I really wanted to like this book, but I had a really hard time with it. I felt like I was losing track of the characters and even at the end of the book, wasn't entirely sure who was who. I even had a hard time with the names- genderless so it made it even more easy to lose track of what character was who. Maybe it's because I didn't have a physical book to go back and review who was who- though I've never had that problem with an audio book before.

I think that more care needed to be taken when introducing new worlds to a reader- it felt rushed and there was no way for the reader to remember what world was which. I like the premise of the book, but wish more care had been taken with building the main characters. I didn't care about them at all by the end. I also felt like the villain was trying to hard to be villainous. The best villains are the ones that are relatable and human. The villain in this book felt like a bad Disney character.
I am really sorry I didn't like this book, but there you have it.

18 of 21 people found this review helpful

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Good enough that I'll read the next one

A couple of hours in, feeling a tad bored and confused, I read the reviews on Goodreads. I was rather surprised at all the “This is racist! This is ‘ableist!' Don’t read it!” reviews. And of those who had formerly given it a good review back peddling, “Well, I didn’t see anything racist or ableist but now I’ve seen the light” sort of stuff. On Amazon at least, some of the comments correct the incorrect examples in the reviews. Some reviews counter the unpersuasive arguments of early reviewers. I imagine there will be more to come.

The whole ableist thing—the equivalent to “racist” expect it refers to the “differently-abled" (formerly known as "handicapped") or in this case concerning chronic pain—was even more ridiculous. The main female character, Cyra, suffers from chronic pain, more like chronic agony. Frankly, at that level of pain I don’t see how she could realistically function. But she does, barely. At any rate, I can speak to chronic, disabling pain and Roth didn’t write anything offensive AT ALL.

Cyra is initially pretty unlikeable (though Roth did an excellent job of making the reader understand her and even root for her, particularly as she becomes a better person through her relationship with Akos), but calling this “ablesit”—even the word is even annoying—is absurd. If the author created a British character who was the “bad guy” would there be a hue and cry that she were anti-British? If she created an evil old woman, would the author be called out for “ageism” and sexism?

Enough on that subject.

So what about the story? I vacillated between “it was ok” and “I liked it,” and finally decided on 3 stars. It's hard to say I "liked" something fairly violent, where few good things happen, but it was pretty well done and was not without hope. The hope, and the main relationship in the book saved it for me.

The world building was somewhat lacking. I never did come to a conclusion about whether things were technologically modern, IN GENERAL, or not. Obviously space ships and gene locking mechanisms for the door speak to technology, but I really didn’t have a clear picture otherwise. I was a little confused at first, as we are dropped right into the story with no idea what kind of world this is. What information we do get unfolds gradually. But it wasn’t quite enough for me.

All the crazy names drove me to distraction and sometimes (because there were so many characters), I got confused about who was who. Might have been easier if I had been reading instead of listening. Not sure.

Roth did an excellent job with Cyra—both her growth as a person and the relationship with Akos, which never sinks to the awful YA level of 10,000 descriptions of kisses (perish the thought that it should go further than a kiss in YA! Sigh.) and pages and pages of how it makes the character feel. For this reason alone, adults will probably enjoy it much more than the usual YA fare. And no stupid love triangle, which is another YA trope that bores me to death. And yes, it bored my when I was a teenager too.

Roth did an even better job of her portrayal of Akos. ‘Nuff said.

In the end, it was a pretty good story—good enough that I’ll read the next one as soon as it's published.

27 of 32 people found this review helpful

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I enjoyed the story

What did you love best about Carve the Mark?

I loved the idea of the story behind this.

What did you like best about this story?

Cyra and Akos and how they grow in friendship as the story moves forward.

What does Austin Butler and Emily Rankin bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I loved how they brought this story to life! Excellent readers and I look forward to listening to more by them. I hope they read the next book in this series!

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Not really. I just don't think it moved fast enough for me. I did re-listen to it and I missed alot of small details the first time around.

Any additional comments?

I always read reviews on books before getting it myself. I was on the fence with this one because of the seriously harsh reviews on Goodreads. I finally caved after a few months because I love Roth's other books. I do not know how the people on GR came up with the conclusions they came up with. This is a scifi fiction story and a very detailed one. I loved the concept. I wish the romance between the two characters would come on already but overall the way everything plays out and the different planets and how they live is pretty amazing. Its several stories within itself. I don't know where people are seeing these extra crazy details. It wasn't my favorite book by her but I liked the characters enough I want to see where they go next. I like the idea of current gifts and how everyone has one, even if they don't mean or do really anything, everyone has something special about them. I can't promise you will love this book but it is very much worth a listen to me.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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I wanted to like it, but didn't.

I tried so hard to like this book. I have listened to hundreds of audio books (yes, yes, I do have a problem) and it is rare that I am unable to complete one. The characters are confusing, the planets are confusing, the reason for discord amongst the "races" is not addressed very well.... I can see the concept behind the book and appreciate it, which is why I've given it the 2 stars I did, it just wasn't executed well, in my opinion. I won't get the sequel, as I didn't even finish this one. There is no love for any particular character to make me want to hear their continued story. It makes me sad when I don't like a book :(

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Good, but more of the same

The first hour is supremely difficult to understand with all of the different people and names that have no explanation. You are essentially dropped into this new world and have to formulate by inferring details from the author. Thankfully the author is very detailed and provides some of that.

This story line is very similar to divergent series but feels improved and well written. I think the world she creates is fascinating and will be good to read in future stories.

There was a couple of times the story felt unnecessarily lengthened but overall all it was solid.

The girl narrator was fantastic and the guy was average. It’s just sounded like he was whispering under his breath the whole time which you eventually get used to.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Good Attempt - Poor execution

I really love Veronica Roth. She is going to be a great Sci/fi writer for years to come. However this book is a bit Divergent (Pardon the Pun) from her last series.

This world building in this book is tough to grasp at first. It's like you have been dropped into the middle of an on-going story line and you are trying to get up to speed on who hates who, and why does these people want to kill or capture these other people

Basically if you can hang on long enough you start to get that one group of ruling class people are at odds with another group of people and they have taken prisoners in order to use or steal their special abilities. Of course the main characters form a relationship even though they represent royalty from the two different groups of fueding people.

Narration

There are (2) narrators for this book and I will say that they both have pleasant voices. OK, the praise stops there. Emily Rankin can only do 3 slightly different voices other than her natural voice. Austin Butler is even worse. He can only do one voice. No matter if its a 10 yr old girl or an 80 yr old man they all sound like a deep voice 30 year old man.

I know audible spoils us with great narrators but I think Veronica chose wrongly with these narrators. I mean, the book is already confusing with all the different characters with similar names and a story line that is hard to follow but when your narrators make every character sound similar it is very confusing to keep track of who is speaking.

Overall

If you are a Veronica Roth fan I say give this listen at least 5 hrs before you quit. I think they story starts to make since by then and if you can really pay attention to the narrators and follow who the hell is talking then you might be able to make it thru this book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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When YA Sci-Fi Goes Wrong...

I typically like YA books, they have a certain appeal and I don't expect too much from them, because I'm not their target audience, but I still usually like them. This one was on the lowest end of the spectrum; while I didn't expect much, I expected more than this.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Love!!!

I literally loved this book so much. I ended up reading the book on my own without the audible book cause I felt like I was into it myself better. I lived this book so much though I highly recommend!!

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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I promise it finally starts to make sense about half way through

The book ended up pretty good. But wallowing through the beginning chapters was gut wrenching ! Pence it gets going there was some interest to be had, but the sheer number of characters and the back story, really made this confusing to Listen to at the beginning

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Long but good

Takes a bit to get into, but then is as engrossing and enticing as Roth's other work.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful