Despite the fact I read this book in its entirety several months ago, a large part of me has refrained from writing any type of review about it. The book in question, is Veronica Roth’s Carve the Mark and my opinion is not one of which the publisher would favour. Yet it has not been the disappointment of the book that has prolonged my willingness to discuss Carve the Mark – instead it has been the topical issues that have arisen from the story, and my long, burning hatred of ever disfavouring a book.
Veronica Roth is a name known quite well among the young adult world of fiction, as she is the woman single-handedly responsible for the Divergent series – a popular book collection that has made millions of dollars at the box office. So when an email was causally dropped into folder about a year ago, offering me the chance to meet said author over Skype and receive an ARC copy of her latest fiction, I was more than surprised. Little old me, who has little influence in the reading world, would get to see a woman whose books founded my glimmer of hope for dystopian fiction.
I honestly don’t like giving books a bad review. I love to find the little rays of sunshine in each and every novel. And sure, they are a few good things here – but I could not shake the overwhelming feeling that Carve the Mark had been rushed through its drafting stages, with somebody at the publishing house turning a blind-eye to the criticism the book could find itself in.
Firstly, the book was set in out of space. The whole space, science-fiction area is something I tend to keep the hell away from because I never seem to understand any of the references or story plots depicted in space. I’m simply not a space person. But I wasn’t going to let that sway me – because that was a personal problem and not one that lies with the author. But in a lot of reviews I’ve read about the book, I think people are quick to judge Roth for venturing into the space genre. I acknowledged that this was a new genre for her to write about, and so there were bound to be a few bumps in the road in that sense.
One issue I found, was that in terms of pacing, the story was incredibly slow to get to the point of even any interest for me. This could be down to the fact, as I mentioned, it’s heavily based around the idea of being in space. I just didn’t seem to find myself immersed in the world like I would have originally hoped when first hearing about the book. And that in itself is a terrible shame.
However, there is a very problem with this book, and it’s one that should have been picked up during the drafting of the story. I’ve noticed in the endless negative reviews of this book, that people are just not happy with the way race and culture has been portrayed in the book and I would personally have to agree. As a science-fiction novel, there are always going to be some issues in portraying different races but keeping them without any discrimination. There are some points in this book where I just literally wanted to give up because I couldn’t deal. The romanticising of chronic pain was something that put me on edge as well. Having grown up surrounded by family who suffered with chronic pain, this book just seemed to do that absolutely no justice. I’m aware this whole criticism is quite heavy, so I’m avoiding from putting any genuine feeling into it to distance myself. I read the book a long time ago and any anger I had has since faded.
Carve the Mark is sadly not a book I would recommend. There was a brilliant romance to it, but the book should have been considered a little bit more before being released to the public. There are things in the story that are bound to cause criticism and discomfort to certain people, and had these been picked up on earlier, the book could have been a lot better. There was no good pacing to the story and there are just so many problems with the book as a whole.
I received an ARC copy of the book by the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion. As you may be able to tell, this has in no way changed my opinion. I would like to thank Harper Collins for the wonderful opportunity they presented me with.