Carve the mark

2.5 stars

So I must have been living under a rock the last few months because I had no idea this book was so controversial. I’m glad that I didn’t know about all of it so I could read it without any preconceptions. That said, it’s an ok book. Not great, and not horrible.

The pace is very slow. The world building is non-existent, which makes it difficult to understand why the different people are at war and why they do what they do. While there are a lot of different planets and people mentioned in passing, it is never explained what relevance they have to the story or why we should even care about what is going on with them. Some of the concepts in the book miss their mark and it’s understandable why so many people have problems with the themes of racism, warring people, people “deserving” pain and the rampant cruelty by certain characters. The book is a bit meandering and uneven, and it has a weird ending.

The book is set in a galaxy that is powered by the “current”. The “current” gives various “gifts” to everyone. Some of these gifts are good, and some of them are painful. Oracles can see the future and help guide the planets and people for the betterment of society. A select few people have “fates”. Fates can’t be changed, no matter what that person does to try to change things.

Thuvhe is a frozen nation planet that consists of mainly farmers. The Shotet people also live on Thuvhe. Thuvhesits and the Shotet people are separated by a huge field of feathergrass. The Thuvhes are known to be more passive, the Shotet people more war-like and violent. Both nations dislike each other immensely.

The Shotet are ruled by a tyrant, Ryzek. His sister Cyra’s gift gives her pain and power. Noone can touch her without feeling immense pain. Ryzek uses her as a weapon to torture people and grow his power. But Cyra is smart and resilient, and begins to learn that she doesn’t have to live under her brother’s thumb forever.

Akos is the son of a farmer and oracle on Thuvhe. His fate is to give his life in service of the ruling family of Shotet. Akos’s life is turned upside down when Shotet warriors kill his father and kidnap him and his brother and take them back to Shotet. Akos’ gift is that other people’s gifts don’t work on him, so he is kept as a slave in service to Cyra to help her with the pain of her gift.

Ryzek is trying desperately to avoid his fate, that he will fall to a Thuvhe family. Cyra and Akos have to decide how they are going to survive Ryzek and if they have the strength to fight for their own independence.

Overall, I don’t recommend this book. There are so many other great books out there that you should read one of those instead.