Series: Rosemarked #1
Published by Disney-Hyperion on November 7, 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Sexual Content: None
Reviewed by: Rebecca
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.
In ROSEMARKED, the rose plague affects every part of the novel, from setting to characters. There are frank descriptions of everything, from infections to the remote, and desperate, lives of the infected. There is no magical cure and no kindness for those who are rosemarked. There’s a fantastic balance between exposition and description as each chapter examines Zivah and Dineas. However, the real gem of the novel is that, although there are only two main characters, there are three POVs as one of the characters goes undercover.
Zivah has trained to be a healer for most of her life. It’s her purpose and what she believes she was meant to do. When she contracts the rose plague and is left a carrier of the disease, she’s left without direction. Even though she joins the rebellion, Zivah remains the moral centre throughout the novel. She values her healing, her religion, and her country. Zivah is the embodiment of ‘do no harm’. Although there are times when her skills are almost too handy (knowing every venom or herb for any situation), it never feels like a deus ex machina.
Surprisingly, Dineas is the standout character of the book. Dineas is introduced as angry and tortured. His character grows throughout the novel as you experience two different men that Dineas can be: the fierce warrior who hates his enemies and the new soldier who is loyal to his friends. Betrayal is a constant part of spywork, it’s worse when you make friends along the way.
I wish there had been more breathing room near the end of the book. The middle of the novel lingers on the Zivah and Dineas’ learning and growth, but the last few chapters are a race to the finish line. Greater focus on Zivah’s friendships within the rosemarked village, would have added more emotion to the final stages of the book. With complex character and world building, ROSEMARKED never flinches from depicting the consequences of actions.Series Titles:
For a another book about venom and poisons, check out Poison Study (Poison Study #1) by Maria V. Snyder