There is something in Veronica Roth's writing that I connect to. I love seeing the way her characters wrestle with questions of morality, ethics, and habits--and where the three intersect. I love seeing the ways in which they find strength and the ways in which they still feel weak. Such was the case with the Divergent trilogy, and such was also the case with her latest book (which starts a new, separate series), Carve the Mark.
That is, the types of things that I enjoyed in her writing I also found in this new book, but it was not simply a repeat of Divergent. These characters, for one, are in a completely different setting. This type we're in a galaxy of planets, each with their own culture and way of doing things. Everything is set up well, and I immediacy had a sense of a unique, lived-in environment. I liked the environment of Divergent; I like this one just as much, if not more, and it has even more detail to it because it does involve more cultures and planets.
I also love the two main characters, Akos and Cyra. They're just fascinating to watch, and their personal struggles highlight so many of the questions that we all come across as we go about our lives. Questions of weakness, of strength, of duty, of honor, of loyalty, of tradition, of home, of loss, of right and wrong, of revenge versus justice. This way of analyzing morality (if that's the best word to use here) that Veronica Roth has just draws in my attention and doesn't let go.
She is also good at portraying groups of people, while at the same time giving the very personal perspectives of just a couple of characters. We have the closest look at the two main characters and we really get to know how their minds work, but we also have a good look at the people who surround them. Friends, foes, casual acquaintances, family, etc. There is always a sense that these people are all pieces that come together to make a whole.
And that talent of portraying groups, of course, goes well with one the main themes of this book: the importance of every individual. That's why you carve the mark. But I won't explain what that means: if you've read the book, you already know. And I don't want to talk about plot details in this post.
I suppose that means that this is all, then. For me, Carve the Mark was just a very good read. Exciting and suspenseful at times, but more than that, its lasting value was in its characters and the questions that they ask of themselves and the conclusions that they arrive at. I am much looking forward to the sequel, but in the meantime I'm just enjoying what this book offered.