Carve the Mark, by Veronica Roth

I read Roth's first (and most famous) YA novel, Divergent last year, and liked it but didn't love it. I had a similar reaction to this book, what is presumably the first entry in a new series. What is clear from reading them both, however, is Roth's singular talent for world-building. In Carve the Mark, she's created not just one, but two well thought out societies. They uneasily share a planet, with tensions boiling to a head once a particularly vicious man becomes the ruler of one of them.

There is no magic in this book, but there is the current, something that reminds me a bit of the Force from Star Wars, except you can see it clearly and it grants gifts to each person. Our reluctantly coupled heroes are from these two very different societies: Cyra is the sister of the ruler mentioned above, and her currentgift is more like a curse as it causes her, and others, excruciating pain. Akos was stolen from his family and home and forced to stay close to Cyra, because his gift is to block others' gifts, thereby alleviating Cyra's pain with a touch. Cyra's life is brutal, despite her high status, and a fair amount of carnage eventually ensues.

As I said, I quite enjoyed reading this but don't think it's amazing, though I'm more compelled to continue the series than I was with Divergent. Roth has a wonderful imagination and a skill at bringing alien cultures to life, so I look forward to reading more of her work in the future, and hope she'll eventually dip into the world of adult science fiction.

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