Review: Umbertouched by Livia Blackburne

(Rosemarked #2)
by Livia Blackburne
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication date: Nov. 6, 2018
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

The mission was a failure. Even though Zivah and Dineas discovered a secret that could bring down the empire, their information is useless without proof. Now, with their cover blown and their quest abandoned, their only remaining hope is to get home before Ampara brings the full might of its armies against their peoples.

As Shidadi and Dara alike prepare for war, Zivah and Dineas grapple with the toll of their time in the capital. After fighting alongside the Amparans against his own kin, can Dineas convince the Shidadi—and himself—where his loyalties lie? After betraying her healer’s vows in Sehmar City, can Zivah find a way to redeem herself—especially when the Dara ask her to do the unthinkable? And after reluctantly falling in love, what will the two do with their lingering feelings, now that the Dineas from Sehmar City is gone forever? Time is running out for all of them, but especially Zivah whose plague symptoms surface once again. Now, she must decide how she’ll define the life she has left.

Together, healer and warrior must find the courage to save their people, expose the truth, and face the devastating consequences headed their way.



Umbertouched is the second half of the Rosemarked duology and in this installment we are dropped right where the last book left off. Zivah and Dineas are fighting for their lives in an attempt to escape enemy territory and make it back to their people safely after completing their mission. However, their time behind enemy lines have taken its tole on both of them and they find themselves struggling with everything they’ve been through.

It’s been a while since I read Rosemarked and that fact that this story starts off with zero lead up left me scrambling to get my bearings. I think if I had reread the previous book before diving into this one, I’d be fine. However, I found myself not only trying to reorient myself with what was going on, but I also tried and failed to remember all the secondary characters we met in the previous book. It took me a long time to get back into the mindset for this story and I’m still not 100% sure who was who in the end. I guess I would have liked a little refresher or something since we were thrown smack dab in the middle of the action without any warm up.

Once I got my bearings, I did enjoy the story a bit more. Since Dineas and Zivah have been through so much, they have changed quite a bit from the two young characters we met in the beginning. Zivah has gone against her vow of not causing harm to anyone. She has a hard time coming to terms with the things that she’s done. Meanwhile, Dineas has PTSD from his time fighting with the Amparans against his own people. He spent a long time trying to earn the enemies trust and in the end wound up being one of the commanders top fighters. So, to say he has some mental health issues from it all would be an understatement. This installment took a darker and more serious tone while we witness these two characters deal with the aftereffects of what they did for their people.

I did have some issues with things being a bit choppy and not really knowing what the timelines were. Since Dineas and Zivah are separated throughout the war with the Amparans, they each get their own POVs. However, I was never overly sure how fast time changed, and it sometimes felt like their time wasn’t consistent with each other. While I liked that the author gave this book a completely different feel from the first one, I was left feeling a bit off and unsure of what was going on.

I thought this was an enjoyable conclusion to the story. I did have some issues with it, but I liked that we got to see the aftereffects of being at war. Both of these characters did something they live to regret, and both had to come to terms with it and try to push past it.


My favorite quote…

“When was it that my people became strangers to me? At what point did they change into something I was ashamed to be a part of?”


Previous reviews from Rosemarked




6 Thoughts on “Review: Umbertouched by Livia Blackburne

  1. bookwormbrandee on 2 November, 2018 at 8:09 am said:

    Aww, it’s too bad Blackburne didn’t provide a refresher. I can imagine that with a story like this, it’d be hard to recall everything when there’s been a lot of time in between. I’m glad that you eventually got oriented and enjoyed the story even though it had its issues. Nice review, Kristin!

  2. I’ve had Rosemarked on the TBR for a while but haven’t got around to it. It sounds like reading them back-to-back is a good idea so I’m glad my procrastination is going to pay off for once! 🙂

  3. I’ll have to look to see if I can find a synopsis of the first book before I read this one. I don’t want to be lost!

  4. Glad you enjoyed the conclusion even with some of the issues you had. Great review!

  5. Haven’t read YA fantasy since like forever! I’m glad that despite the issues you’ve encountered, you were still able to enjoy it Kristin 🙂

  6. The title is really catchy, but I think I may like this one better as a movie or series. Hugs…RO

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