In the galaxy that includes planets Zold, Othyr, Urek, Shotet, Thuvhe, among others, people have unique abilities called "currentgifts." In extreme circumstances, they also have foretold fates. Cyra and Akos have fates that led them to meet each other. Cyra's brother is Ryzek Noavek, a Shotet ruler who uses her currentgift as a weapon against those who disobey him. Akos, son of the Thuvesit oracle, lives a gentle life.
That ends when Shotet soldiers kidnap Akos and his brother Eijeh. As Thuvhe-ians, they are Shotet enemies. Akos fate is to die in service of the Noavek family, and he is forced to serve Cyra. Now that they are fae to face, will the rivalry get in the way of their survival?
BTSYA Teen Reader (16):
I would say Carve the Mark is out of this world, quite literally. Still, it is a mediocre story. I really enjoyed the idea of currentgifts and "the current," and found the cultures of the two nations interesting. Because Roth switches between Cyra's and Akos' perspectives, I got a better understanding of where the characters were coming from. How their relationship developed was also something special.
The negatives. The story progresses slowly in the beginning; all the action occurs later in the book. The way Roth presents the two races is a bit questionable. The story has plenty of violence and death. Cyra's gift is chronic pain (for herself and sending it to others), and her use of drugs may be an unwelcome aspect of the story for some readers. With all these things considered, I recommend it for readers 13 years or older.
Science fiction lovers - especially those who love world building stories may find just what they're looking for in this first book in Roth's Carve the Mark series.
Although written at a reading level for middle-grade students, the story and its mature elements (drugs, romance, violence/death) make it more suitable for high school students.
This is a fantasy whose plot has events and themes that invite discussion: Ryzek using his sister's 'gift' to punish inhabitants, the forced relationship between Akos and Cyra (and the prejudice and pre-conceived ideas that start it), and, ultimately, critical life choices. Which way would your reader go?
11 and Up
15 and Up
Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™ . Reviewer age: 16
Borrow or skip. The reading level makes this accessible to high interest / low readability option, but the number of characters and subplots may make the book overwhelming.