Umbertouched (Rosemarked #2), by Livia Blackburne
Publish Date: November 6, 2018
Published by: Disney-Hyperion
Genre: YA Fantasy
My Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.5 out of 5 stars)
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.
This was a very strong sequel to Rosemarked, and I absolutely loved watching the continuing journey of Zivah and Dineas after the events in the previous book. It was filled with action and intrigue and kept me engaged throughout. It left me feeling happy and sad, content with how things ended but also leaving things a little open-ended, not perfectly wrapped up in a neat little bow.
I was a little disappointed, and even annoyed at times, at how much of the book Dineas and Zivah spent apart. It is a pet peeve of mine when characters get separated in the second book of a series, and for a while I had hopes that it wasn’t going to happen in this one. But then it did and for a duology, the time they spent apart was agonizing. I got so excited when we finally had a reunion, only for them to split up again.
Otherwise though, the different sub plots and overarcing story of the Amparan invasion was still intriguing and definitely engaging to read.
And I was really happy to see Dineas having some major character development in this book, whereas in the first one I felt like the Zivah went through the most changes. And it makes sense now looking back on things, because a lot of Dineas’s growth happened because of and based on the events of Rosemarked, so seeing him struggle and change because of the things that he did as a spy in Ampara, the friendships he made and the respect he found for Arxa in contrast with the new distrust placed towards him by his own people, made for such a wonderful character arc in this second novel. Not to mention how his view of Zivah changed because of what he saw in her as a memory-less Dineas.
I thought the romance was sweet and made sense after the previous book, but again with the separation thing – I felt like it wasn’t as strong as it could have been because of how little time they spent together in the long-run. I still like them together though and think they complement one another well.
This was a great ending to a great beginning. From the start ofRosemarked to the end of Umbertouched I was hooked and engaged. The characters are invigorating and full of life, with complicated morals and emotions and they made this already interesting story all that much more enjoyable. This was a great ending that left me knowing that in this fictional universe there is more to come for these characters I have come to know, but content with where I am leaving them.
Finishing the Series 2019: 2 books read, 2 series finished