Rosemarked by Livia Blackburne

Rosemarked

A healer who cannot be healed . . .When Zivah falls prey to the deadly rose plague, she knows it’s only a matter of time before she fully succumbs. Now she’s destined to live her last days in isolation, cut off from her people and unable to practice her art—until a threat to her village creates a need that only she can fill.A soldier shattered by war . . .Broken by torture...

Title:Rosemarked
Author:
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Rosemarked Reviews

  • Livia Blackburne

    The book description is now up on the goodreads page!

    I’m soooo excited about this book, guys. And I’ve been having a blast researching it, from archery and stick fighting lessons to conversations about memory loss with my old classmate at MIT. And I can’t wait to share it with you.

  • Alyssa

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    Rosemarked by Livia Blackburne

    Book One of the Rosemarked series

    Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

    Publication Date: November 7, 2017

    Rating: 4 stars

    Source: ARC sent by the publisher

    Summary (from Goodreads):

    A healer who cannot be healed . . .

    When Zivah falls prey to the deadly rose plague, she knows it’s only a matter of time before she fully succumbs. Now she’s destined to live her last days in isolation, cut off from her people and unable to practice her art

    ***

    ***

    Rosemarked by Livia Blackburne

    Book One of the Rosemarked series

    Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

    Publication Date: November 7, 2017

    Rating: 4 stars

    Source: ARC sent by the publisher

    Summary (from Goodreads):

    A healer who cannot be healed . . .

    When Zivah falls prey to the deadly rose plague, she knows it’s only a matter of time before she fully succumbs. Now she’s destined to live her last days in isolation, cut off from her people and unable to practice her art—until a threat to her village creates a need that only she can fill.

    A soldier shattered by war . . .

    Broken by torture at the hands of the Amparan Empire, Dineas thirsts for revenge against his captors. Now escaped and reunited with his tribe, he’ll do anything to free them from Amparan rule—even if it means undertaking a plan that risks not only his life but his very self.

    Thrust together on a high-stakes mission to spy on the capital, the two couldn’t be more different: Zivah, deeply committed to her vow of healing, and Dineas, yearning for vengeance. But as they grow closer, they must find common ground to protect those they love. And amidst the constant fear of discovery, the two grapple with a mutual attraction that could break both of their carefully guarded hearts.

    This smart, sweeping fantasy with a political edge and a slow-burning romance will capture fans of The Lumatere Chronicles and An Ember in the Ashes.

    What I Liked:

    Perhaps this is my impression of the book and its marketing, but it seems like this book is flying under the YA radar. Which is a real shame, because it is excellent. I hate to say it but it seems like this book is going to be a seriously underrated publication of 2017 and that is so sad. Hopefully I'm wrong - maybe there are armies of people that are excited about this book, and my tiny corner of the YA blogosphere is the only quiet one. I'm so happy that I enjoyed this book because my favorite book-related thing to do is gush about books. So here I go!

    Zivah is a talented healer who has just become the youngest high healer of Dara... only to succumb to the rose plague. Now covered in rosemarks and isolated from the rest of Dara, Zivah lives in a cottage and tends to venomous snakes and scorpions. One of the many people she treated before she became rosemarked was Commander Arxa, one of the most powerful Amparans in the empire. He invites her to live in Sehmar City among the rosemarked, and treat those inflicted with the rose plague. She would no longer be in isolation, but she would have to leave Dara indefinitely. She almost refuses the offer, but fate throws Dineas in her path. Dineas is a warrior of a nomadic tribe caught in the middle of the Amparan wars. Dineas wants nothing more than to cut down every Amaparan who captured and tortured him, and when an opportunity presents itself for him to go to Sehmar City and pose as an Amparan soldier, he doesn't refuse. Dineas and Zivah didn't see eye-to-eye on anything at first, but circumstance and love for their homelands has drawn them together. They sacrifice everything they have to live a lie in Sehmar City, where they could be caught and killed for betrayal.

    I've read Midnight Thief, and Daughter of Dusk, and the short story Poison Dance. But I have to say, Rosemarked is Blackburne's strongest novel yet. I love seeing an author grow as he/she writes and publishes more books. It was so clear to me that Blackburne's craft has gotten better since Midnight Thief. I really enjoyed Midnight Thief, her debut, but Rosemarked outranks the book any day.

    This book is written in dual first-person POV, present tense. I love dual narratives but oftentimes, I don't like one of the characters as much as I like the other. That was not the case with this story. I adored Zivah, and I adored Dineas, and I loved reading from both of their POVs.

    Zivah is a dedicated healer, and she is an accomplished scientist (though she wouldn't be called that, in this world). She is so smart and creative, with her experiments and conjectures relating to the rose plague, and her duty to studying the venom of her pets. Zivah is a kind healer with a spine of steel. She isn't a warrior heroine that kicks butt in a physical sense, but she is just as kickbutt. She wields the power of a good brain, and a strong will. She is quietly strong, and one of the most likable YA heroines I've come across in a while.

    Dineas is a warrior and a soldier through and through. He is quite a skilled soldier and he also has a talent with commanding crows. Dineas is the physically strong, brave, selfless hero puts lives like he has nothing to lose. He is hardened and stubborn, and he is determined not to like Zivah at first. He puts everything on the line for his people, including letting himself lose his memories while they are at Sehmar City.

    Losing his memories is a huge part of this story. Going through forced amnesia isn't easy, but Dineas does it willingly, to protect himself and Zivah (since he is posing as a rosemarked soldier looking for a place in Arxa's army). It was heartbreaking to see him lose himself as he retained no memories of himself. Zivah gave him temporary antidotes when they communicated with each, which meant that she had to watch him lose himself every time she and him finished their meetings. Blackburne wrote this aspect of the story so well, though it broke my heart every time.

    There are a lot of pieces set in motion in this story. It isn't just about Dineas and Zivah going to Sehmar City to spy on the empire and Arxa and the prince. The rose plague is spreading, and no one can figure out how and why... especially when it starts to spread to higher ranks. Meanwhile, Dineas loses parts of himself every time he fights in Arxa's army. The rose plague is such an interesting part of the story - it definitely makes the book even more unique.

    This story was exciting and intrigued from page one. I was hooked and didn't stop reading until I was finished - and I was looking for the rest of the story. I so thought this book was a standalone, and I was about to be quite upset! I'm glad there will be a sequel.

    There is a subtle romance, as the synopsis implies. Dineas and Zivah fall for each other very slowly, and more visibly on Zivah's side. Well, on Dineas's too, but remember that his memories are taken away and given back and taken away. In any case, the romance is there and it's sweet, and also love-triangle-free. I'm rooting for more of a romantic presence in book two, because it's barely there in this book. It's there though, and a perfect amount, honestly.

    I really enjoyed Rosemarked, possibly even more than I expected. While I liked Midnight Thief a lot, I didn't enjoy Daughter of Dusk. But I'm glad I gave Rosemarked a shot. It is Blackburne's strongest book, and it was an excellent read.

    What I Did Not Like:

    I'm curious to see if there are repercussions to all of the memory-hopping that Dineas has to go through... he takes a potion to lose his memories, and then takes a temporary antidote for every time he and Zivah communicate in person. But then that wears off and he is back to being amnesiac. Zivah has a permanent antidote so it isn't like he is stuck amnesiac forever, but it seems too clean, to be able to go back and forth between having full memories and being a completely blank slate.

    I wouldn't have minded more romance. It's there, and I like it, but I'm hoping the sequel will have more. The romance in this book was sweet but also a little sad.

    Would I Recommend It:

    YA fantasy fans should definitely pick this book up. I don't usually compare books to other books, but the synopsis of the book is pretty accurate so I will use it - this book definitely compares to An Ember in the Ashes, and in a good way. It features a world just as brutal and hopeless as EMBER's, with a likable cast of protagonists, and villains you aren't sure are completely villainous. There are people on both sides of fight that are fighting for the "right thing" on their side. This book blurs that line and really makes you think about who is "right", in a war.

    Rating:

    4.5 stars. This book was spectacular and one that I'll be thinking about in the future. It's funny - I love the warrior/healer trope in adult romance novels; it's a trope that really works for me. You don't see it often in YA though, especially not from a romantic sense. But this book features a warrior and a healer and they do slowly fall in love... I love it. And of course there are many parts of this book that I loved, besides the trope. I highly recommend the book!

  • Melissa Souza

    **Thank you to Disney-Hyperion and NetGalley for sending me an ARC of this book in return for an honest review.

    3 stars!!!

    Finally, I'm done with this book. This was another pretty average read for me. I guess what got to me the most was the pacing. It's a very slow read and nothing much happens. However, the book does have it's plus points which I will go into further detail below.

    Firstly, I did like the descriptions and imagery in this novel. They were rather vivid especially in terms of the sym

    **Thank you to Disney-Hyperion and NetGalley for sending me an ARC of this book in return for an honest review.

    3 stars!!!

    Finally, I'm done with this book. This was another pretty average read for me. I guess what got to me the most was the pacing. It's a very slow read and nothing much happens. However, the book does have it's plus points which I will go into further detail below.

    Firstly, I did like the descriptions and imagery in this novel. They were rather vivid especially in terms of the symptoms of rose plague, the healing potions, the history of the world, the belief system and so forth. Unfortunately, I couldn't really get a handle as to how the world was really like as in what was the inspiration behind it. I guess it was a mix of Persian or something or the other. I gathered this from the names of the characters and places. But it was still rather confusing. In saying this, the world didn't feel immersive enough, in my opinion.

    Secondly, what I loved most about this book was the character development. I think Zivah and Dineas have well fleshed out characters. As the book is told from both their POVs, we get a clear picture of who they are as people. Their emotions, how they interact with others and their vulnerabilities. I also how this book, although a fantasy, didn't focus too much on one single person having a special power or gift. The disease affects everyone and all characters go through the same feelings of being isolated as well as dealing with their own mortality. This, in effect, helped us to see how compassionate the MC Zivah was. We see her resilience, independence and her passion for healing. In Dineas, on the other hand, we see a boy who is haunted by his past and how he tries to overcome his insecurities and tries to let Zivah see the real him. In terms of the minor characters, I felt they played a solid enough role. However, I would have liked to learn more about Commander Arxa and Mehtap. I feel the friendship between Mehtap and Zivah wasn't explored too deeply enough. This would have elevated the storyline even further.

    Thirdly, the budding romance between Dineas and Zivah was phenomenal. As a reader, it was a pleasure to see how their friendship and feelings for each other grew. How they learned to trust each other regardless of their differences. Plus, there was no love triangle as is the usual case in YA novels which was a relief. It made the interactions between them all the more enduring.

    Overall, I think the story was structured well. It flowed seamlessly without much info-dumping. There were some plot reveals but these weren't as shocking. The plot devices used helped with the story progression. The focus of the book was mainly based on politics, the effects of war and disease, family, espionage, and deceit. However, there wasn't much action. The book was not fast paced and I would have liked to have seen more thrilling scenes. I did like the aspect of how Dineas had a connection with the crows. But, as with many elements of the book, this wasn't explored or explained more. The book is a good start to the duology but it could have been better, I guess. I wouldn't say I was majorly disappointed but I was just expecting more out of a fantasy novel. Hopefully, the sequel will be more enticing. I would recommend this book if you want something a little bit slower.

  • destiny ☠ howling libraries

    I really, really, hate to do this, but I have to put this book down. I've been working on it since November 1st (so, just over a month), and I'm only at 63%, despite many other books having come and gone in the last month. I just can't seem to get attached enough to the story or the characters to finish it.

    The book alternates perspectives between Zivah, a young healer, and Dineas, a rebel soldier, both of whom have been cursed with the rose plague. The illness leaves its victims in one

    I really, really, hate to do this, but I have to put this book down. I've been working on it since November 1st (so, just over a month), and I'm only at 63%, despite many other books having come and gone in the last month. I just can't seem to get attached enough to the story or the characters to finish it.

    The book alternates perspectives between Zivah, a young healer, and Dineas, a rebel soldier, both of whom have been cursed with the rose plague. The illness leaves its victims in one of two states:

    - which leaves the individual with red scars, a dormant and contagious illness, and inescapable death within a few years - or

    - which leaves them with brown scars, fully healed, non-contagious, and free to live out the rest of their happy little lives. Zivah is the former, Dineas is the latter, and together, they set out on a task to spy on the army that has invaded and conquered their homes.

    There's nothing

    with the book - the writing is easy to read and finely done, the characters are decent, and the story is fairly interesting - but with all the YA fantasy that I read, occasionally I meet one that, while not a

    book, just isn't bringing anything new to the table, and that is certainly the case for

    I only give star ratings to books that I've DNFed if I make it pretty far into them, and I feel like 63% is far enough. I don't think I've ever given 3+ stars to a DNF title before - usually, it's 2 stars or less - but I

    believe this book could be incredible for many people. I'm just probably not one of them! I am totally open to the idea of trying this author's future endeavors, for what it's worth.

  • Anissa (FairyLoot)

    What a fantastic book! I loved Zivah and Dineas and can't wait for book two!

  • Lisa

    This is a highly political fantasy that focuses on one mission between two would-be enemies. I think all the elements of this story are so well thought out, and the politics clear and intriguing.

    I loved that the magic of the book is based in healing and that we have two very strong personalities butting heads throughout the story.

    Overall, I think high fantasy fans will really enjoy Rosemarked.

  • ☙ percy ❧

    (3.5 stars)

    This is a novel of that strange genre that has the feel and setting of a high fantasy, but doesn't actually contain any fantastical elements. (I like to call it 'pseudo-high fantasy. Possibly it could also be described as spec fic, but I've always found that definition to be almost uselessly broad.) The plot relied heavily on political machinations rather than containing magic, although it could be argued Zivah's potions have some element of magic.

    This is rather an atypical YA. It ha

    (3.5 stars)

    This is a novel of that strange genre that has the feel and setting of a high fantasy, but doesn't actually contain any fantastical elements. (I like to call it 'pseudo-high fantasy. Possibly it could also be described as spec fic, but I've always found that definition to be almost uselessly broad.) The plot relied heavily on political machinations rather than containing magic, although it could be argued Zivah's potions have some element of magic.

    This is rather an atypical YA. It has a romance, but not a love-triangle, and the romance was subtle and not forced at all. Whereas I wouldn't exactly say I

    it, being a pretty unromantic person in general (and also thinking it would have been more interesting if the romance had been between Zivah and Mehtap tbh), I could

    it, which is actually quite impressive if you consider how apathetic I am to romance.

    The pacing was quite slow, which I felt worked for most of the book but there wasn't much action, and when the stakes were raised you could pretty much tell what the outcome was going to be. Also, there weren't any particularly shocking turns or twists in the plot

    and by the end of the book I didn't really feel that anything had particularly been resolved.

    Overall I enjoyed it, but I'm not sure if I'm going to read the next one. The plot wasn't quite gripping enough, and I don't know if I want to read the second only to find that nothing has still been resolved and I'll have to read a third one to find out what happens.

    Definitely promising though, and I'll keep an eye out for the author's next books (and perhaps go through her backlog, although writers' abilities tend to develop as time passes so idk if her previous ones will be better... might check them out if the blurb is interesting tho)

    The book reminded me a lot of The Winner's Curse, except the two protagonists were both oppressed by the Empire instead of one of them being privileged, with added plague - always good -, with added character development, and basically better in every way so if you liked that book you'll LOVE this one (and if you didn't like that book then read this anyway because it's twenty times better)

  • Scrill

    Rosemarked is told from alternating views and tells the story of a young healer that catches a disease that she cannot cure and a man who has overcome the disease and must go on a mission with the healer to infiltrate the capital city as spies.

    -The pacing of this book was slow but st

    Rosemarked is told from alternating views and tells the story of a young healer that catches a disease that she cannot cure and a man who has overcome the disease and must go on a mission with the healer to infiltrate the capital city as spies.

    -The pacing of this book was slow but steady. There weren’t many climactic points that had me at the edge of my seat, and when there was one, it was somewhat short lived. I had hoped with the espionage and a trained soldier there would have been a little bit more nail-biting time. Regardless, I was still entertained the entire time. The story was not very complicated which gave more time for character development.

    -I liked the idea of a country that has been ravaged by an empire overtaking it. Either lay down and let them control you and occupy your land or rebel and be slaughtered. Our characters were found from both sides-the healer catching the plague from the men that have occupied her country and a soldier that has history from the empire that haunts him. Since the characters do travel throughout the book I was hoping there would be a little more time spent in some sweeping landscape. I also would have liked to read a little bit more on the culture of the people and what life was like in the country before the invasion maybe. I appreciated the inventiveness of the plague and the stages that go with it.

    -Our two main characters were definitely the most complex things about this book. The fact that Zivah is a healer but has an incurable disease is something that she has to grow and accept. I feel like it helps her transform from her naïve self to someone with a little more purpose with her life. There is something about a person’s impeding death that has them questioning how they will spend their remaining time: Sit in a cottage and slowly die

    use my knowledge for something good, something meaningful.

    Dineas on the other hand has a second chance at life and somehow finds himself on a mission back to where he managed to escape from. It was really interesting to see his personality bounce back and forth throughout his mission to the point where he finally becomes whole by the end, accepting all parts of himself.

    Overall, it seemed like a decent start to a series, and I am curious to see how their mission affects their world and how the characters continue to grow. I really hope to see a little more action or suspense in the next installment. There is a lot at risk, and I really want to feel the anxiety that these characters must be feeling.

  • Dianne

    She had dedicated her life to healing the sick, but when she must heal the enemy who has come into her land with a deadly and incurable plague, Zivah is forced to live an life isolated from her family and her people when she becomes another victim, another of the

    . Her life can end ostracized and alone or it can end on her own terms, healing others who are afflicted like her, but the chance to help others will come at a price and she will be forced to trust an enemy soldier who thirsts

    She had dedicated her life to healing the sick, but when she must heal the enemy who has come into her land with a deadly and incurable plague, Zivah is forced to live an life isolated from her family and her people when she becomes another victim, another of the

    . Her life can end ostracized and alone or it can end on her own terms, healing others who are afflicted like her, but the chance to help others will come at a price and she will be forced to trust an enemy soldier who thirsts for vengeance against those who tortured him.

    They say all is fair in war, but can a woman devoted to healing and an emotionally wounded soldier become allies in a dangerous game of spycraft neither is prepared to handle on their own? Will they find a common ground that could lead to so much more?

    by Livia Blackburne is NOT a fantasy about war, it is a story about people, about the fact that no matter how vast the differences, even the enemy feels love, fear and loss. Ms. Blackburne focuses on the human element, compassion and the personal growth of her characters, as well as their flaws. Definitely not a fast-paced tale, there is far too much depth to rush through each scene. Feel the atmosphere of a world in chaos, the fear and devastation of the Rose Plague and the efforts of one woman to bridge the differences in people and to protect those who need her most, even if one of them happens to be a soldier she once saw as an enemy. He may be the one who needs her most.

    Fabulous storytelling that brings it characters to life, in a tale that is both uniquely told and deeply intriguing, built in a flawed fantasy world that is ultimately not unlike our own.

    I received an ARC edition from Disney Hyperion in exchange for my honest review.

    Series: Rosemarked - Book 1

    Publisher: Disney Hyperion (November 7, 2017)

    Publication Date: November 7, 2017

    Genre: YA Fantasy

    Print Length: 400 pages

    Available from:

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    For Reviews & More:

  • Dani - Perspective of a Writer

    A healer who cannot be healed is joined by a soldier shattered by war, together they will take on infiltrating the Empire... When Zivah catches the deadly rose plague her life as a healer is cut off from her, in order to recapture her life and practice her art she will become a daring spy. After being tortured and thrown out with the garbage, Dineas will undertake a mission that will mean abandoning who he has become to change the future.

    It took

    A healer who cannot be healed is joined by a soldier shattered by war, together they will take on infiltrating the Empire... When Zivah catches the deadly rose plague her life as a healer is cut off from her, in order to recapture her life and practice her art she will become a daring spy. After being tortured and thrown out with the garbage, Dineas will undertake a mission that will mean abandoning who he has become to change the future.

    It took me quite a while after I finished this book to wrap my head around it... I requested it spur of the moment having NOT read the books marketing compares it to (The Lumatere Chronicles and An Ember in the Ashes), based solely on the emotional impressions the blurb gave me... I.E. MY GUT said to give it a go.

    It is set in an alternate world, of a medieval nature, with an Empire honing in on other people's land. There is NO MAGIC, nor any fantasy or paranormal aspect or creature. It's not historical in nature but you can tell the writing was informed by a knowledge of world history. Due to the herblore and rampant plague I call this combination of world building fantasy realism.

    It takes the realistic details of a fantasy world and plays them out without any of the actual fantastical elements. A pretty neat, almost slice of life sort of world if a fantasy world were real. Due to there being NO fantasy elements, there is conflict but it is a tone and pace to life in the real world rather than the bookish one. In fact, ALL of the drama, twists and conflict is more akin to realism or real life. So while there were two pretty mega twists they are "small beans" if you compare them to your typical fantasy story.

    If magical realism is a favorite of your then this has a complimentary feel...

    YES! While the premise of an Empire dominating the area is not a new one, the details make it pop as well as the realistic nature of the story. Dineas' use of crows as messengers was pretty special! I LOVE the use of animals in stories, even common ones like birds! And his weaponlore positions him as the man who can infiltrate the army.

    I was really quite taken with Zivah's knowledge of herblore and her use of poisons. She's been trained as a healer and uses all of her skills to help Dineas in his role as spy. These two elements are at the core of the story and plays out in spectacular "realistic" fashion. It is definitely a unique balance as you do have to suspend disbelief that his birds and her herbs can have this affect (look at the author's credentials!) but if you do then it makes events super compelling.

    The plot though is well developed for both characters. Dineas must earn trust in the army and Zivah works in quarantine to find out about the outbreak in her area. And where those cross over there is a little something special brewing...

    Right, BUT do not expect the story to get swept aside for the romance! These two have NO REASON to fall in love. They each have some pretty bitter feelings toward life and love is NOT going to suddenly make everything they've gone through better. Again it was amazingly true to life without those hopeless tropes that make readers view romance in such an idealistic light!

    There was NO love triangle, NO insta-love (far from it) and really if they hadn't both taken on this task to infiltrate the Empire they NEVER would have fallen in love! I know readers are looking for books with LESS LOVE but this truly is one of the best YA romances I've read as far as pacing of their relationship and the uniqueness of their circumstances! Plus we get both characters POV which is a really great change from it being solely from the female perspective...

    I quite loved it! Everything was well researched and well developed and the storytelling was spot on... A truly superior dual POV narrative! Each character rang true to the personality developed and had their own unique voice that sucked you into the POV. The skills a writer has are normally hit or miss, developed over a career but here our author seems to have those skills well in hand.

    As a Reader...

    I am CHOMPING at the bit to read the next book!! At the end of this book everything has gone to hell and so you have NO CLUE where this duology is headed... that excites me as I HOPE Blackburne is able to duplicate and heighten the special mix of details and realism that she captured so well in

    .

    ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Premise & World Building

    ⋆ ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Cover & Title

    ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Development & Storycraft

    ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Writing & Narrative

    ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Plot & Pacing

    ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Relationships

    ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Feelings

    BOTTOM LINE: Fantasy Realism with Slowburn Romance = Winner!

    ______________________

    You can find this review and many others on my book blog @

    . See my special perspective at the bottom of my reviews under the typewriter...


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