I received a copy of this book for free via the publisher HarperCollins NZ in exchange for an honest review.
Quick Fire Review:
“I am sharp as broken glass, and just as fragile. I tell lies better than I tell truths. I see all of the galaxy and never catch a glimpse of it.”
Not without its flaws, and now shrouded in controversy, I personally found this book to be quite enjoyable while I was reading it.
A dark setting, intriguing characters and alternating P.O.Vs are what make this book.
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.
3 out of 5 stars
Some of you may have read this book already, others may have read reviews, and some of you may be oblivious to its existence but before I jump into this, I just want to explain a little something. There has been a lot of discussion about racism and what some are saying is blatant disrespect to certain groups of people and while these readers may have picked up on these issues, I can’t say I did while I was reading it.
Maybe I was in a weird mood or maybe I just wasn’t paying enough attention to the subtext, but either way it went over my head at the time. In retrospect, I can certainly see why these issues are being highlighted and after reading up a little bit about some of the issues in this book, I am a little shocked at my ignorance
However, in fairness to the publisher and the book as a whole, my review will talk about what I felt at the time of reading this book, before everything else started to cloud my mind. If that makes you uncomfortable, by all means give this review a miss, I won’t hold it against you.
“Soft hearts make the universe worth living in.”
- First impression: The cover is beautiful. The end.
- The world building: The bones were there but as a whole there was a little something lacking and at times confusing about the world these characters lived in. I will say Roth did a great job of creating some vivid imagery about this dark setting but surrounding the moments of clarity, there was much confusion; namely the magic and class systems. Just me?
Characters: What made this book for me was the characters because when you get down to it, this feels like a character driven book. While the world building may have been underdeveloped, I found the characters to be super intriguing. Cyra is royal and in the beginning she isn’t up to much but before you know it, she is a fireball on a mission. Akos, our other main character, is a prisoner who is thrust into hardship and on a mission of his own. I personally was more fond of Akos than Cyra and it was his journey throughout the book that really kept me hooked.
- Narrative style: This is told in alternating POV between Cyra (first person) and Akos (third person). I’m always picky with narratives written like this but for me, I felt like getting to hear about Cyra and Akos’ sides helped move the story along nicely.
- Story: Overall I thought this was a really good book. The characters have enough complexity to balance out the choppy world building and the writing in itself is vivid and at times intense. While I can now appreciate where the controversy is coming from, I have to say that at the time of reading this, I was completely taken away by what felt like an epic sci-fi adventure.
“I didn’t choose the blood that runs in my veins, any more than you chose your fate. You and I, we’ve become what we were made to become.”
While this may not have been the best book I’ve read of Roth’s, I can’t deny that I was fully engrossed in Carve the Mark and I really enjoyed the ride.
I’m a big believer that everyone should form their own opinion so if you still are interested in giving this a go, I suggest you do just that.
I’d love to hear your thoughts about this book whether you were on the same page as me or not.