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Ratings and Reviews (10 12 star ratings
10 reviews
)

Overall rating

4.6 out of 5
12
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  • 1 person found this review helpful

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    YA Fantasy at it's best!

    Rosemarked by Livia Blackburne is the first book in a new fantasy series about a healer names Zivah who just finished her healer studies and then gets infected with the Rose Plague. Unfortunately, though she does survive, she is not 100% cured of the disease and is now Rosemarked. She teams up with Dineas, and Umbertouched soldier (someone who survived completely from the Rose Plague) to infiltrate the kingdom that has taken over their land and killed their people. I was really intrigued by the plot of the story and the cover was gorgeous. Fortunately for me, I loved it. Rosemarked is action-packed, filled with court drama and political intrigue and has one of the most unique concepts out there right now. Zivah must take away Dineas' memories so he can sneak into enemy ranks and bring down the corruption from the inside. I absolutely loved the characters as well. Zivah is a strong-willed healer with attitude, intelligence, and grace. Whereas Dineas is strong, strategic, and stubborn. They seem like total opposites that would never get along, but over the course of the book, their teamwork is really astounding. The romance also breaks my heart. It is so swoon-worthy but also gut-wrenching when things don't seem to go the way you want them to. I thought Blackburne's writing was also on point. She chose to tell the story through both the MC's points of view and pulls it off seamlessly. Her descriptions were phenomenally beautiful as well as her character dialogues. Also, her characterizations were fantastic as well. I was really drawn into Zivah's and Dineas' lives. I highly recommend this one for all fantasy readers. I would compare it to An Ember in the Ashes meets Forest of a Thousand Lanterns!
  • 1 person found this review helpful

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    Highly enjoyed this book!

    Rosemarked by Livia Blackburne is a Young Adult fantasy book. The main characters are Zivah, a healer who can’t be healed from a disease she catched while curing an Amparan commander, and Dineas, a broken Shidadi fighter who spent a year in an Amparan dungeon. The two will have to carry on a mission to infiltrate into Sehmar, the capital of the Amparan Empire. Since she was young. Zivah trained to become a healer. However, on her first day as the youngest high healer, a disease of rose-plague breaks in the Amparan legion that was staying in her small Dara village. After curing commander Arxa, who came out Umbertouched, meaning he would be forever immune to the disease, she falls ill too. But she becomes Rosemarked, meaning that her body has expelled almost all of the plague from her body, except for a small part. Rosemarked people carry the disease with them, they can transmit it and have from a few months to a decade to live. I loved Zivah. After becoming ill, she started questioning everything she believed in. A healer who cannot even heal herself. Was it fate? Or did Zivah’s god turn her back against her? Maybe she never cared. The main female character’s belief is shaken in this dangerous journey. Dineas is a broken Shidadi. After spending a year in an Amparan prison and being tortured, he’s finally free, but his memories still haunts him. He’s fierce, strong, and intelligent. I liked him. Another character I found interesting was Commander Arxa. He was ruthless with his enemies, but loyal to his Emperor and caring with her daughter, Mehtap. He was a complex character and I was torn between liking or despising him. The characters were well-built. I could understand Dineas’ bitterness and Zivah’s pain. Both of them carry something that’s weighing down on them. I think they would be able to heal each other if only they opened their hearts to each other. The setting was quite interesting, inspired by Persian culture, and I loved the use of different herbs to cure diseases. Another important thing was how well the author portrayed people’s reaction to the Rosemarked. They went as far as to throw stones to Zivah during her journey to Sehmar City. I highly enjoyed the book and the characters, though I think their mission deviated a little during the story, and give it 4 out of 5 stars.
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    A unique YA read

    I loved this book! It was fast-paced, and the characters were likable from the beginning. I was never bored with it, which I think is important in a series. There was an interesting interpersonal/double identity conflict which I don't want to go too deep into so as not to spoil it, but it made the book unique, and really set it apart from anything I've read this year. On top of that, it is definitely the prettiest book I own! I would definitely recommend it to anyone who likes YA and is looking for a fresh, new book this year.
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    Good start to the series

    Having read Blackburne's Midnight Thief series, I already knew that I'm in for some good world building and great storytelling, and this first book in a new fantasy series certainly didn't disappoint. A fantasy world loosely based on the expansion of the Persian empire, Ampara is an empire that has taken over it's neighboring cultures. Perhaps the highlight of this novel is how it presents the PTSD of Dineas, which also serves as the basis for the major arc if the plot - him going undercover as an amnesiac spy. Helping him infiltrate the Amparan military is Zivah, the other main character who, after saving a Commander from the rose plague, herself becomes infected and Rosemarked. She is a talented healer, and knows how to make complex concoctions, including the one that makes him lose his memory (he volunteered for it) so that his trauma wouldn't come in the way of his job. Now, another thing to consider is the dehumanization of infected people in this world. They are treated as outcasts (think leprosy) and kept away from the general populace in a gated community, where it's a bit of anarchy going on. Meanwhile, Dineas enrols and becomes a loyal soldier of the very army he hates. From time to time, she brings him out of the amnesia and he can report, but it soon becomes apparent to him that the person he is when he is an amnesiac is different from himself. This brings out his questions of loyalty and feelings and how he can distinguish between them. Meanwhile, there is also a romantic arc going on - the other Dineas starts falling for Zivah and she, despite knowing he's just a part of another person, starts having feelings for him. This makes things complicated as she definitely doesn't want to take advantage of him, yet for the sake of her mission, she can't keep away from him. Also she can't keep pushing him away without telling him the real reason - and the first Dineas, though slowly warming up to her and starting to respect her as more than just a Dara maiden, is not in love with her. Yet. Zivah is still seeking out a cure, but she is also learning new techniques, understanding the virtue of patience but there is also the moral dilemma about how much she can use her skills as a healer to aid the mission while not causing harm to people. She is quite a force, too - like, imagine becoming a spy with no training and having to constantly balance the double lives you're leading! I loved the fact that this book is both driven by the politics of the Amparan empire, yet also by the character arcs. It's an interesting story overall, and told through some really well written characters. One of my problems with it is maybe the inconsistency of the quarantine measures. I can't help it as a bio grad! Sometimes it comes across as very strictly enforced whereas sometimes they forget that people can be fomites, too, if not carriers! Also, there is the fact that despite the high stakes, these two get away with pretty much their whole mission quite smoothly? Overall, a great start to the series and I'm eager for Umbertouched.
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    A fantastic new political romance

    If I could give this more than 5 stars I would. This is a story about learning who you truly are, fighting the system, and overcoming death even if it is temporary. Add in a slow build romance that feels real and you have rosemarked. Zivah and Dineas's story is told from alternating points of view. The author does a fantastic job of portraying each view point.
12

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