Title: Rosemarked (Rosemarked #1)
Author: Livia Blackburne
Date: November 7th 2017
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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About the author
New York Times bestselling author Livia Blackburne wrote her first novel while she was a PhD student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she conducted research on the neuroscience of reading acquisition in children. Upon graduation, she switched to writing full time, which also involves getting into people’s heads but without the help of a three tesla MRI scanner.