Carve the Mark is a sci-fi novel that follows two prominent figures form either side of the planet, who unsurprisingly fall in love with each other. On the surface, this is a pretty good book. When looking more closely at the details, I’m not impressed.
Let’s begin with the good.
This novel was planned out well. The cover is gorgeous. It is also way more creative than Divergent is.
And now for the fun part.
To start off, whenever an author writes a science-fiction novel, it is a different style of writing. In this genre, the author must emphasize the world building and incorporate the plot into the world. Roth’s world felt like it was a recount of the Peloponnesian War or some other history of Earth.
Give your readers history, culture, beliefs of the world that aren’t the same as Earth’s.
Next, the plot is way too slow and/or boring at times. Being a sci-fi novel, there should be plenty to write about that keeps your reader’s attention. Roth had a lot going on in her plot, but it all felt boring.
My last critique is the UNNECESSARY LOVE. I knew the two main characters were going to be each other’s love interest and was even excited for it. Then, INSTA-LOVE.
There was no build. There was no in-between time from the first kiss to the “I love you’s”. There was hardly even any dialogue between the two about their feelings!
It would’ve made the novel so much stronger and a lot shorter if Roth would’ve just nixed the YA romance.
Finally, this novel is extremely controversial due to inconspicuous racist undertones, rape culture accusations, and chronic pain glorification. I didn’t notice until I read reviews of it online. Because this is a sensitive topic and I’m on a word limit, here is a review that breaks the accusations down really well.
Honestly, I probably wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone. It was too long for a fun YA novel and there are much better sci-fi novels. Sorry Roth!