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Rosemarked Hardcover – November 7, 2017
"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
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"Blackburne's fast-paced fantasy will please fans of Leigh Bardugo and Tamora Pierce."―School Library Journal
"Put this in the hands of fans of Suzanne Collins and Veronica Roth."―VOYA
"Blackburne's high fantasy is expansive, with entertaining characters and a well-constructed world."―Booklist
PRAISE FOR MIDNIGHT THIEF:
"One of the best YA Books of 2017"―Brightly --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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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.
The book follows the journey of a young healer, Zivah, and a tribal warrior, Dineas, who come together in an uncomfortable alliance to save their homeland from invasion by the Amparan empire. Both bear the scars of the deadly Rose Plague, while Dineas carries the additional wounds of torture under the empire's heavy hand. The story is told in chapters with alternating perspectives, which is similar to Blackburne's previous duology ("Midnight Thief"). Although this is a common devise in other YA novels, I found it became somewhat complicated by a later development in the book (trying not to include spoilers here!) and therefore more intriguing. I resonated a bit more with Dineas' voice, which is filled with sarcastic wit and humor, but Zivah's internal turmoil, although more subtly parsed out, was more real to me and aligned with many of of my own experiences with longterm uncertainty.
While the start of the book was a bit slow for me, the narrative eventually reached a pace that kept my attention through the end. Some of the twists and turns were a bit predictable, but others were a surprise and kept me reading to see how things would pan out. I enjoyed seeing how Zivah and Dineas' initial black-and-white views developed to more balanced yet conflicted views, with the other characters' presence playing a strong role. In particular, I loved seeing Dineas' growing camaraderie with his fellow soldiers and Zivah's friendship with Mehtap. Mehtap ended up becoming one of my favorite characters in the book, although I wish there was a bit more fleshing out to her character.
The world of Ampara and Monyar is beautifully illustrated by the map included in the book cover, but in the narrative I wanted to learn more about the different people, their migrations, their cultures, and their influences outside of physical description. I was curious to learn more about some of the shared heritages revealed in the story, but the author often left these as asides rather than delving into them.
Rosemarked was one of my favorite reads of 2017, and I can't wait to see how Zivah and Dineas' adventure continues in the sequel!
Note: I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher but have also purchased my own copy.
Most recent customer reviews
I'm a sucker for books that involve roses in any form.Read more
First of all I would just like to say that I loved LOVED the writing style in this book. I adore two points of views of characters.Read more
Rosemarked is a great adventure fantasy with a non magical world. I picked this one up not knowing anything about it (basically a cover buy) and I ended up...Read more
I started Rosemarked a few days before its release in the hopes I'd be finished by November 7th and...Read more