Parents' Guide to

Carve the Mark

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Twist-filled fantasy romance is occasionally dark, violent.

Carve the Mark Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

There aren't any parent reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say Not yet rated
Kids say (15):

Roth's latest twist-filled fantasy is sure to please readers who love epic opposites-attract romances set in war-torn faraway lands. Like An Ember and the Ashes and The Winner's Curse, this is a tale of two protagonists, one who's from a ruling family and caste and one who's practically a slave. Both Cyra and Akos are "fated" -- meaning that oracles see them carrying out the same destiny in a host of possible futures -- and their fates are linked. Cyra's voice is in first person, while Akos' is in third person, fitting their personal styles: She's passionate and rational, he's guarded and emotionally fragile. Their romance is refreshingly slow-building, even though they're forced to spend all their time together. They have to learn to trust each other first, and Roth makes sure to draw out the tension for most of the book.

Roth gets into a bit of trouble with the world-building, which is occasionally sloppy and underdeveloped. The descriptions of the two peoples are a tad stereotypical: The Shotet are multiracial but have darker-skinned rulers (reminiscent of Brazil), and their language is described as harsh (even by Cyra herself, which doesn't make all that much sense, since she loves her language), while the Thuhve are described as practically Scandinavian. With only one more book left, Roth will have a lot of questions to answer and plot holes to fill, but it's clear her finest skills are in building relationships and characters -- not necessarily fully fleshed-out fantasy worlds.

Book Details

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate