A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Fates Divide: Carve the Mark, Book 2 is the final book in best-selling author Veronica Roth's space fantasy duology. The twist-filled story includes even more fantasy violence and romance than its predecessor. There's murder (up close and personal) and mass military attacks that leave many dead. There are executions, imprisonment, and battles. The characters continue to exhibit their unique gifts that can persuade, torture, even kill. The slow-burn romance finally ignites in this installment, with the few kisses of the first book growing into full-blown passion and a couple of love scenes (but they aren't explicit). Language includes mild insults and a few uses of "s--t." The book continues to explore refreshingly unconventional gender roles, with Cyra the expert fighter and Akos the vulnerable healer. Some critics have pointed out problematic depictions of skin color and chronic pain, but that's open to interpretation. The story promotes the message that groups of people are more than the stereotypes about them and calls into question nurture vs. nature and the destructive effect of discrimination.
What's the story?
THE FATES DIVIDE: CARVE THE MARK, BOOK 2 -- the second and final installment in Veronica Roth's space-based duology -- picks up where Carve the Mark left off, with star-crossed lovers Cyra Noavek, who's Shotet, and Akos Kereseth, who's Thuhve, stuck on a spaceship with a motley crew of family, friends, and enemies, including Cyra's murderous captured brother Ryzek and Akos' oracle brother Eijeh. Akos and Cyra are both "fated" (subjects to prophecies): Akos is destined to die in service to Cyra's royal family. So when her bloodthirsty, tyrannical father Lazmet Novaek, previously thought dead, is discovered alive and rises to power again, Akos believes he's going to die a pawn to the Shotet ruler. The couple must find a way to overthrow Lazmet and save both of their tribes from mutual destruction.
Is it any good?
Roth's second book in the Carve the Mark duology is an introspective, romantic, character-based follow-up to the world-building of the first novel. There are some undeniable truths in this series: that Cyra and Akos love each other, that their fates are intertwined, that the Shotet and the Thuhve must learn to co-exist or risk annihilating one another. Roth approaches big themes from a personal perspective. In addition to Cyra's and Akos' points of view, this sequel includes Akos' siblings Eijeh's (the oracle whose mind was addled with Ryzek's memories) and Cisi's (who can shift others' moods) perspectives. Cyra's first-person chapters remain the most immediate and relatable, whereas Akos' third-person chapters swing between reflective and sympathetic to a bit slow.
Akos experiences a lot of growth, however, as does Cyra. [Spoiler] There's an interlude when the two aren't physically together, and it's heartbreaking but necessary for both of them to fulfill their destinies and save the world. Cyra and Akos must figure out whether their love is a choice or a foregone conclusion because of the prophecies about their lives. There's an almost biblical quality to their love story, as well as the complicated family dynamics surrounding the Noaveks and Kereseths in this second installment. Like Ruth and Naomi's "Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people," Akos lovingly tells to Cyra: "In case you hadn't noticed... I'll pretty much go with you anywhere."
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the level of violence in The Fates Divide? How do these issues affect the characters? Is violence in books different from that in other media, such as movies or television?
Discuss the gender roles in Carve the Mark. Cyra is the strong fighter, and Akos is the vulnerable peacekeepr. What other books offer unconventional gender roles?
What do you think about the various big reveals? Were you expecting the twists?
How do you like how the romance played out?
- Author: Veronica Roth
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Brothers and Sisters, Friendship, Space and Aliens
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
- Publication date: April 10, 2018
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 12 - 18
- Number of pages: 450
- Available on: Paperback, Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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