THE FATES DIVIDE (Carve the Mark #2) - by Veronica Roth

THE FATES DIVIDE (Carve the Mark #2) - Veronica Roth
Published: April 2018 - Katherine Tegen Books
Genres: Young adult / romance / science fiction
Pages: 443.
Triggers/Content Advisory: Violence and trauma.
Format: Paperback.
Source: Thank you so much to Jonathan Ball SA for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.

Fate brought them together. Now it will divide them. The lives of Cyra Noavek and Akos Kereseth are ruled by their fates, spoken by the oracles at their births. The fates, once determined, are inescapable. Akos is in love with Cyra, in spite of his fate: He will die in service to Cyra’s family. And when Cyra’s father, Lazmet Noavek—a soulless tyrant, thought to be dead—reclaims the Shotet throne, Akos believes his end is closer than ever. As Lazmet ignites a barbaric war, Cyra and Akos are desperate to stop him at any cost. For Cyra, that could mean taking the life of the man who may—or may not—be her father. For Akos, it could mean giving his own. In a stunning twist, the two will discover how fate defines their lives in ways most unexpected.

I read the first book in this duology last year and loved it. When the sequel arrived on my doorstep, I started reading right away.

Veronica Roth's writing style is powerful. There's a very real weight to her words, an intensity, almost profundity, and it clutches at you. Her dialogue is also incredible, and that's probably my favourite aspect of her writing. It's just so clean and witty and relates with character so well. I love it.

The plot is slow, but it's not tedious. It just lacks urgency. It's certainly a character driven book, though, because as well as being slow, the plot is also thin. Not a lot actually happens. If you love the characters, you'll like the book. If you don't like the characters, then I doubt the story will hold much for you.
The world is intriguing. The politics confuse me, but it is fascinating and original.

Roth leaves a lot to the reader's imagination, and that applies to every aspect of the book: characters, plot, world building. Honestly, I think it's a mixed blessing. On one hand you could get confused because not everything is spelled out to you (for example, you don't always know how or why the characters are going from A to B) and you have to fill in the blanks yourself. I did get confused sometimes and rather frustrated at all the vagueness, but overall I actually enjoyed "imagining in" the answers. Roth doesn't have the characters explicitly explain their direction and every motivation. In many ways, you as the reader are eavesdropping and trailing behind the characters, catching what information you can but otherwise thinking for yourself. I totally get why this way of doing things would annoy some readers (it does get too vague at times), but I found it refreshing.

A soft heart was a gift, whether given easily or with great reluctance. I would never take it for granted again.

Roth writes characters beautifully. Her cast is in this book is a group of mysterious, resilient anti-heroes and heroines trying to do the best they can in their messed up lives in their messed up world, all the while grieving the events of the previous book in their own specific way. Their personalities and backstories are subtly revealed, they're not in your face or overdone, but they're tenderly drawn and achingly real. I just wanted to hug all of them at different points in the book. They're struggling, it's not obvious, and that makes it more heartbreaking.

The romance between Akos and Cyra is hot and cold. Their relationship is pushed to the sidelines here because although they want the same thing, they go about getting it in different ways. And they both have more important things to do than stress about their love life; I respect them for being mature about it. They get on with what they need to do for the good of their world, despite their relationship crumbling, and it's sensible instead of easy. 

The Fates Divide is a dark and intense story that pounds with the hearts of its scarred, corruptible characters. The plot is slow, but it's a well written and chilling sci fi novel.

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