Review: Rosemarked by Livia Blackburne

by Livia Blackburne
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date: Nov. 7, 2017
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

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.




I’m going to be honest with you guys, I wasn’t 100% sure this story was for me. Fantasy can be hit or miss with me, and I’ve been in a contemporary kick lately. However, the last few contemporaries have done me wrong and left me feeling empty. Thankfully, Rosemarked stepped up to the plate and not only delivered but it pulled me from the depths of book funk and brought me back to the living.

Rosemarked… oh how I love your title and your cover. Rosemarked comes from the rose plague which infects the people of Zivah and Dineas’ time. When one becomes ill with the rose plague, they develop your typical symptoms of fever and delusions, but they also develop rose-colored splotches all over their skin. For the fortunate, they break out of the clutches of the plague but remain rosemarked. They retain the red splotches on their skin, are carriers to the disease, and will one day succumb to the fever and illness which will claim their life. The very fortunate not only persevere, but they will also come out on the other end with their splotches turned brown, and their body fully immune to the rose plague. Those lucky enough to escape the clutches of death are called the umbertouched.

The book starts off with us following Zivah as she goes through her trials of becoming a healer. However, shortly after passing the trials, the capital’s guard who have been stationed in her area, are showing signs of the rose plague. It’s Zivah’s duty to care for those in need and she sets forth to do all that she can to either cure these men, or at least give them some peace for their last days on earth. Sadly, Zivah becomes infected and ends up rosemarked. No longer able to do what she’s trained all her life to do, she is sort of excommunicated to live her remaining days outside the village. Except until a rebel leader shows up and joins forces with her village’s leader. Soon Zivah is put on a massive mission. She’s to accompany an umbertouched rebel soldier into the heart of the capital while posing as a rosemarked healer to their rose plagued citizens. Not only will her purpose help unravel what the capital is up to, but she may also gleam some knowledge into not only curing those with the rose plague, but hopefully saving herself in the process.

The romance that is mentioned is a really weird one… but in a good way. Dineas drinks a potion that makes him lose his memories, thus allowing him to blend in with the enemy without sticking out. When he’s under the potion, he develops feeling for Zivah and she for him. However, every time Dineas comes back to himself (in order to report back to his rebel leader) he not only has all the memories about what he’s done since he last “resurfaced” but he also feels his conflicting feelings during that time frame as well. That disconnect between the two Dineas’ was so complex and well written that he felt like two completely separate characters.  It’s amazing the kind of person Dineas would have turned into if he hadn’t been hardened by war.

Okay, that’s all I’m giving you guys. I don’t want to go too far into it and give away the awesomeness that is this book. It was nothing like I thought it would be. We got to follow both Zivah and Dineas during their mission and it was so hard watching them both struggle with their task. Zivah is a healer and yet she comes across some brutal decisions to make that goes against all she believes in. Not to mention, Dineas is fighting with and for the men who tortured him not that long ago for about a year straight. So, needless to say, he’s disgusted with himself every time the potion wears off and he remembers all the things he’s done and felt while in his other state. Both of their conflicting emotions is felt through the pages and I found myself holding my breath and wishing that they didn’t have to make certain choices when the time came.

Rosemarked will take you on one plague ridden adventure that you won’t soon forget. Let’s just say that Livia Blackburne knows how to write a beautiful story filled with death and despair that will leave you on the edge of your seat.


Favorite quote…

“The other travelers I encounter behave the same way. Although my veil is meant to separate me from the world the empty space around me is the real partition. After an hour of walking, I’ve encountered more fearful and suspicious glances that I’ve had  in all the months I was rosemarked in my home village. In Dara, people knew me first as Zivah, and second as a diseased person. On this road though, I am nothing but a carrier of death.




12 Thoughts on “Review: Rosemarked by Livia Blackburne

  1. I’m actually digging the covers too 🙂 I’m not much of a fantasy reader and I find it hard to get excited reading one, but I have to say that this one sounds intriguing. And wow, those raging 5 stars! I’m glad you enjoyed this one Kristin 🙂

  2. I entered the GR contest for this one 😉

  3. You sold me on this one. It has been a long time since I read a good, unique YA and I am really curious about the romance. I will see if I can still get this one. Thanks.

  4. oh wow that sounds like a very interesting fantasy, glad it got you out of the funk because the plot has me hooked. Will have to keep an eye out for it.

  5. Oh wow. I did skip this one because fantasy is not usually something I enjoy but this does sound unique.

    For What It’s Worth

  6. That sounds like a book that I would like.

  7. This sounds awesome! I’m supposed to be on a book buying hiatus until Christmas but I just got given a couple of amazon giftcards for my birthday… Be rude not to use them. Even if I have to wait until Tuesday! 😉

  8. That cover really is very pretty! I have been really curious about this one so I am glad to see it delivered. Great review!

  9. Fantasy is not my typical reading material, Rosemarked sounds captivating. Great review.

  10. Fanasy is quite tricky for me as well but seeing your review I think I could have a good time with it too!

  11. jennifer@badbirdreads on 5 November, 2017 at 9:13 pm said:

    Oh wow, sounds like a rough story. Sounds good though.

  12. I’m not such a fantasy reader either but you have convinced me to put this on the “to try” list!
    Jen Ryland Reviews

Jump in on the discussion: click on the notify button below to follow along

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Post Navigation