Carve the Mark
We gave it a B
The first book in Roth’s new duology unspools a whole new galaxy as it revolves around the story of two teens from opposing peoples; Cyra, whose ability to transfer her chronic pain onto others renders her a living weapon, and Akos, immune to all gifts, including hers. With their foretold “fates” binding them together—his is literally to serve her family—they must decide whether they want to help or kill each other as Ryzek, her older brother and a power-hungry tyrant, seeks to defy his no matter the cost.
The Divergent author builds out this new world—one reminiscent of Star Wars, with its discussions of “the current” and “currentgifts”—while still presenting the stark brutality of the circumstances both protagonists find themselves in. This, plus a clear villain in the cruel Ryzek, lends the book a degree of complexity as both teens grapple with their consciences, as well as the wider ramifications of their actions.
Roth already has one popular series under her belt, but with Carve the Mark she’ll likely have two.