Veronica Roth’s Divergent series was so incredibly popular, that publishing a new storyline, especially one markedly different, must elicit some angst – for the author and readers alike. And while I haven’t read that many positive reviews of her latest offering Carve the Mark, I ended up really enjoying it.
Much less dystopian than Divergent,
is pure science fiction. It concerns itself with two peoples who live on the same planet – the Shotet and the Thuvhe – but cannot live in harmony. The Thuvhe live quietly and peacefully while the Shotet pillage and scavenge, and violent existence best represented by their tradition of carving a mark on their own arms each time they take a life.
Naturally, a young man and a young woman from each culture are thrown together and fall in love. But its a little more complicated than that. This is a galaxy with two particularly interesting features. Firstly, oracles make the fates of important people public – and this causes political manipulation to attempt to challenge or protect fate. The second, is the energy source known as the ‘current’ which flows around them all, and gifts each inhabitant with a particular ‘currentgift’. Cyra, our Juliet character, can make others feel pain, but the cost is that she lives in constant pain herself. Akos, kidnapped from Thuvhe by Cyra’s brother as he was fated to serve them, is gifted with the ability to block the currentgifts of others – and thus relieve Cyra’s constant pain. Eventually they come to mean something more to each other than forced companions and Cyra is forced to confront her brother – a violent dictator – and take a stand for the rights of others.
There’s more to the story than this, including the brother of Akos who becomes a willing oracle to the Shotet and an underground rebellion. Overall, I thought this was a well-realised fictional world with interesting moral quandaries and the beginning of a tasty story. Definitely worth a look.