Fans of Veronica Roth’s Carve the Mark will surely enjoy the story’s high-stakes conclusion in The Fates Divide.
Be sure to read our review below!
About ‘The Fates Divide’ by Veronica Roth
In the second book of the Carve the Mark duology, globally bestselling Divergent author Veronica Roth reveals how Cyra and Akos fulfill their fates. The Fates Divide is a richly imagined tale of hope and resilience told in four stunning perspectives.
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.
‘The Fates Divide’ book review
The Fates Divide has everything fans loved about Carve the Mark: Our favorite characters, space travel, dangerous yet alluring locations, interplanetary tensions… All the good stuff. That being said, though they’re two novels in the same series that tell a continuous story, The Fates Divide is very different from Carve the Mark.
While the first novel was very much a world-building novel that focused on just one or two specific locations, The Fates Divide is somehow more of an introspective character piece that spans across different planets. It focuses less on the larger world and more on how the characters perceive it. The world-building in Carve the Mark was done through the characters of Cyra, Akos, and company, but the world-building in The Fates Divide is what complicates and develops the characters’ interpersonal relationships. It’s a really fascinating, yet subtle, switch.
Another way The Fates Divide is different from its predecessor is the pacing and urgency of the story itself. The political intrigue, as well as the constant threat of pain and suffering, set a pretty quick pace in Carve the Mark. The Fates Divide is much more deliberate and slow-moving. Yes, political intrigue, pain, and physical suffering are still present, but they’re not the driving force of the novel. The exploration of relationships and creation of new character dynamics slow the story’s pace down considerably, which then raises the stakes of the galaxy-wide conflict our heroes are facing.
Those who loved Carve the Mark will really enjoy spending more time with the characters from the first novel and meeting all of the new characters in this one. Just when you think you understand a character’s motivations and their relationship with another character (*cough* Cyra and Akos *cough*), something comes along and complicates everything. It’s hard to even count how many enemies become allies and allies become enemies (or, at the very least, antagonists). While the novel’s pace was just a click or two too slow for me, it gives the reader ample time to analyze the intricate and fascinating ties, both fated and chosen, that bind the characters together.
The most interesting of these relationships is still definitely Cyra and Akos’s. After the events at the end of Carve the Mark, both of our heroes are untethered, even to each other. Though Cyra was able to escape her death and awful legacy of the Noavek name, Akos ultimately failed in his mission to save his brother. The Fates Divide effectively explores the aftermath of their escape and just how much control their individual fates have over their lives. Their stories and their relationship didn’t go exactly where I thought they would, which is definitely a good thing.
Of course, while all of the characters are trying to figure out who they are, what they want, and how they feel about each other, the whole galaxy is on the edge of war. After the ruler of Thuve’s twin sister died in Carve the Mark, she declares war on the Shotet. Though the war may seem like it should be relatively contained (because the planet is widely ignored by other planets in the system), the war soon presents an opportunity for other rulers and civilizations. This escalated threat is ever-present through the novel and, through the eyes of two additional narrators (Akos’ siblings Cisi and Eijeh), Roth gives the readers insight into just how dangerous and widespread a galactic war would be.
That being said, Roth perhaps interweaves the complicated web of planetary alliances and motivations a little too well because the end left me largely unsatisfied. The characters we’ve all come to know and love get definite endings, but the ideas of war and alliances that are discussed throughout the novel are left unaddressed and unresolved. Yes, war is messy and complicated, but there were quite a few intriguing ideas introduced in this second novel that were never brought up again. Though it’s unlikely we’d get another novel in this series (because it was always going to be a duology), I’d be interested in reading how all of the different planets and peoples find balance.
In fact, I’ll say my biggest complaint is that so many new and fascinating ideas and facets of this world are introduced in this novel and then never really explored. At least not to my satisfaction. The first 2/3 of the novel takes its time in setting the stage and introducing new (or different) concepts, but then the last 1/3 speeds through some of the payoff of all of that work. And the aspects it doesn’t speed through are just left hanging there. However, though I wasn’t the biggest fan of how everything was resolved and wrapped up, there’s nothing wrong with leaving your audience always wanting more.
If you enjoyed Carve the Mark and this intricate world that Veronica Roth created, you’ll definitely be a fan of The Fates Divide. This sequel takes a magnifying glass to all of the understated and unexplored aspects of the first novel, giving the reader a closer look while also setting parts of what we thought we knew about the world and the characters aflame.