Cover Image: Rosemarked


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Member Reviews

BEAUTIFUL! I love lush fantasies, and this is one of them. I love dual POVs when they're done right, and Zivah and Dineas were both very entertaining to read about. The story was exciting and intriguing, and I really enjoyed read it. Livia Blackburne is also really fine-tuning her craft, and her writing has gotten so much stronger. I wish there'd been more romance, but other than that I really enjoyed it!
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I received Rosemarked in one of my book subscription boxes. I wasn't expecting much from it (the cover and description didn't initially grab me.) However, I loved it! I desperately wanted Zivah to find a cure. The romance between her and Dineas was fun, as was the danger of spying. Because I enjoyed those two plot points so much, I did not pay attention to the politics AT ALL. As a result, I was confused occasionally. Overall, I enjoyed Rosemarked and am looking forward to the sequel.
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I thought this plot was very unique and it was something that I have never read before. It felt very dystopian but not a cliche whatsoever. It was fast-paced and easy to read and I recommend it!
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LOVE Love Love! I loved this book so much. The hype around this one was well deserved. The writing is just WOW I don't even know if there are words to describe how amazing it was. I can't get enough of this story. I can't wait to read the second one.
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I love a plague novel, I just do. Rosemarked has all the makings of a great iteration of the genre, but fell short for me. 

The beginning held great promise, with our protagonist enduring excruciating pain and evidencing immense bravery to become a Healer. But she never gets to push herself that far again. Instead, the middle of the story becomes predictable, with a pattern that repeats over and over (not further described to avoid spoilers) to the point where I just wanted to skim ahead.

I may pick up the second novel in this series because it did hold such promise and I want to hear the end of Dineas and Zivah's stories.
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Rosemarked was a very interesting novel with the basis of a plague like illness running lose and also a slight rebellion.  I liked both characters and their arch stories.
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I really enjoyed this book once I got into it. It was a little slow at the beginning for me but I pushed through and enjoyed it.
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This is definitely not my typical read as I find it heard to really enjoy books that are set so long ago. I have tried so many times to get into a book and failed. That was until I came across Rosemarked that could be labeled "Historical YA". I was taken for a loop by this story that follows a young girl Zivah who though being a healer falls  ill with the deadly Rose plague. The author creates such a vivid and complex world with characters that are equally complex. I truly enjoyed this story and was left wanting more!
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I really, really wanted to like this book especially with all the hype around it, but somehow could never get through more than the first few chapters. What part of it I read felt very familiar, like I've read it in a hundred books prior. And though it is very rare that I don't finish a book and even rarer that I actually completely give up on it, this was one of them.
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A year later and I finally (kind of) finished this book? I don't know. I cannot get through this. Maybe it has something to do with the writing and the chunks of text, but whatever the reason I just... can't get into it. It is boring and the characters are so bland and flatter than paper.

I did go into this keeping in mind the AEITA comparisons, but its not like it, the characters don't even compare to Laia and Elias, just... no. No thanks.
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Zivah is a healer who wants to help people, but when she gets rosemarked (infected by the rose plague), she starts to feel her dreams slipping out of her hands. She is forced to live a life of isolation to protect those around her. However, she gets an invite to join the rosemarked colony as a healer and it might be her one chance to be "useful", but it would mean leaving her town of Dara and working for the Amparan Empire.

Dineas escapes from being a tortured prisoner in the Amparan dungeons. He is broken, but night beaten as he survives the rose plague and becomes one of the unbertouched. He escapes back to his tribe called the Shidadi. They're known to be strong warriors who rebel against the Amparan Empire's greedy and harsh ways.

When Dara and Shidadi form an alliance against the Amparan Empire, Dineas and Zivah have to work together. Even though they're two completely different people (one marked for death and one a survivor) with personalities that clash, Dineas must rely on Zivah's skill at potion making to pull off the most dangerous ruse that puts both of their lives at risk. Together, they strive to use their skills to save their towns, but can they keep their blossoming emotions from interfering?

ROSEMARKED is a very intriguing and unique story. I absolutely love the crows (very nice touch). I love seeing the two sides of Dineas (a broken one with memories that plague his nightmares and a happy one who's playful.). It shows us what Dineas might be like if he didn't go through so much hardship. Zivah's character is very strong and it made me admire her. Even though she is marked for death, she doesn't let it make her weak or lose sight of what really matters.

Final Verdict: ROSEMARKED is an easy five stars for me and is perfect for fans of fantasy, romance, and strong heroines who aren't afraid to risk it all.
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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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Another repetition of a popular thread. I just couldn't get into this book because it was too familiar. It's not poorly written, I just have read it before.
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I'm kinda torn about this book. I mean it was a solid novel and was interesting. But I feel like it was kind of slow. I'm the kind of person that likes a fast paced book and I felt that this didn't really cover that that much. Like I was waiting for things to happen and I felt like they weren't. But I did enjoy the romance, and wished that it was included more in the novel, but I did appreciate at the same time how it didn't take over the whole novel. I felt like it worked for this novel and the direction it was going. But I really enjoyed reading about Zivah's heading ability and her passion for healing. I liked her the most in this story. And I felt more connected to her than to Dineas but I did think his POV was interesting as well! I liked their adventure they went on together and I liked reading into their POV's. But overall I might check out the second one, mainly to see if the questions I had in this book are answered! I had a few!
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Maybe it’s not the same for you other bloggers, but sometimes I download review copies, and even as I click download, I’m pretty sure that was a bad choice. Like, yes, I do want to try the book or I wouldn’t have taken an egalley, buuuuut I have this inkling that the book really isn’t going to work for me. Something about the blurb or my familiarity with the author’s other work makes me hesitant.

In this case, that feeling came from a combination of the sickeningly pink cover and the fact that I DNFed Midnight Thief because I didn’t feel a connection to the characters. However, this is one of those cases where I actually turned out to be wrong.

The world building leans a bit to the simpler side, but it absolutely works. There’s room for more scale as Zivah and Dineas learn more about the world as well. Where the world building shines is in the plague that gives this book its title. The rosemarked plague is fascinating and scary, and it puts our heroine on a time limit, which accelerates the slower pace with tension.

Admittedly, I did consider DNFing Rosemarked early on. It’s a book that builds slowly, as does the characterization. Before you have a real handle on Zivah, the plot’s beginning. Dineas spends quite a bit of time being anger personified. Their interactions are that of true hatred on Dineas’ part and great misunderstanding. It’s not a sexy banter hate by any means.

However, as the story unravels, I found myself slowly drawn in to the story of these two. Zivah has this massive quiet strength. While she doesn’t have any physical fighting skills and has sworn only to use her powers for healing, she even bests Dineas. She’s clever and resourceful, and lbr it’s totally badass that she has a a poisonous snake best friend. She lacks the flash of most YA fantasy heroines, but there’s no denying that she’s a heroine and a strong one, albeit in an atypical way.

Though the book isn’t particularly twisty, I the way the plot unravels is done incredibly well. I mean, any time an author can incorporate memory loss into a book and not have it feel like a cheap plot point, I’m pretty impressed. The emotional tension between Dineas and himself could be shallow and obvious but instead feels honest and full of depth. The romance isn’t a massive ship, but there’s a quiet fascination to it.

By the end of the book, I wanted to immediately pick up the sequel, which is always a sign of a book that has successfully grabbed me. I’d like to see more from the supporting cast of the emotional depth and shades of grey that I loved out of the main characters. I’m very glad I gave Blackburne another try.
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3.5 stars

This is a slow, incredibly unique fantasy with great worldbuilding. I really enjoyed this book, especially the disease and poisons elements, and the fact that the main characters were a warrior and a healer. I liked their dynamic, too. I thought this was a stand alone, but I'll probably read the next book to see how their relationship develops. This has a lot of great elements too that makes me want to continue: the politics, the war, the different tribes of people, and the memorable characters. I'd definitely recommend it if you want a fantasy that isn't too fast, loud, or violent. This has a good balance of all that, but with slow moments too.
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This might not be as action-packed as other teen fantasy novels but I still enjoyed it. I liked the alternating POV chapters featuring a healer and soldier, and the plague angle with survivors either fully cured or destined to succumb a second (fatal) time was different. It was also refreshingly free from lots of teen angst so it felt a little more 'grown up' than some teen novels. Looking forward to the next one. 

(ARC provided by publisher via NetGalley)
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Did not finish. I really wanted to love this book. especially with all the hype that it was getting but this book just wasn't doing it for me. I felt like it was a bit all over the place and scatterbrained.
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I'll start by saying I wasn't sure how much I'd like this book, if at all. But the premise was intriguing enough that I decided to give it a shot. 

Now, if you're expecting a fast-paced, action-packed story, you may be disappointed. If you appreciate the slow build-up with a few tense moments tossed in, you'll enjoy Rosemarked. 

Zivah is a healer. The youngest in her village/town and seemingly the most dedicated. After an unfortunate encounter with infected soldiers, she herself falls to the Rose plague. But worst of all, she becomes Rosemarked. This means that she will die within a year from the disease. She also has markings on her skin that identify her as such. Oh, she's also a carrier and therefore, still contagious. She is exiled to a cottage outside the village. 

Dineas is a member of a warring tribe. He, too, came down with the Rose plague. But his results were far better. He became umbertouched. Meaning that he's immune to the disease. 

Together, they combine to collect intel on the Amapran leaders and their plans. They don't like each other at first, but as the journey progresses, it's obvious they become more tolerant of each other. And possibly, actually develop a friendship. 

I really enjoyed the "healing magic" aspect. It was something different in a fantasy. Plus, Zivah's knowledge of such added some great elements to the plot. And then there's the fact that she has to deal with her imminent death. But even more important is the way Dineas is dealing with his past. He's clearly suffering from PTSD and for the most part, I think it was handled well. I would have liked to see more of both emotional journeys. 

There are several things I wanted and expected to happen. I feel like at some point in the continuation they might. I found the "twist" to be not so surprising. Nothing feels resolved, but as there's a second book it isn't so surprising. I do hope that the next installment will provide more answers and resolutions. 

I saw this compared to An Ember in the Ashes and I can see that. But, fans of The Winner's Curse trilogy might enjoy it too. I feel like that may be a better comparison, too! I will definitely continue on with the series.
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What a super fun and sweet romance fantasy. I loved how the author played with memory in this book and the romance between the two main characters was wonderful. This book was featured in our November box as well.
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