Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Umbertouched by Livia Blackburne

by Livia Blackburne
Read: July 2017
Published: November 6, 2018 by Disney-Hyperion
Source: BETA copy/Netgalley
Category: YA, Fantasy, Political, Wars, Plagues, Healers, Fighters
Series: Rosemarked #2/2

Book Description: 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.

NOTE: Umbertouched is the second book in a series. See my thoughts on RosemarkedI had the immense privilege and pleasure of beta reading this duet. 

Umbertouched is the sequel to Rosemarked and together these books make a stunning duet. This series is thoughtful, complex and beautifully written, and I am thrilled to see it out in the world in its entirety. 

Some of my favorite aspects of this duet, and, especially, Umbertouched are-

1) The hard won bond between Zivah and Dineas and the sweetness that has grown out of the pain they have both experienced. These two are so incredibly different - a healer and a fighter from opposing cultures. But together they traveled into the heart of the empire and behind enemy lines, sacrificing everything because of a plague that devastated their lives. In this book we see both the fallout and fruit of their shared experiences, and I loved how well these two trust and work together, and the more that has slowly come from that.

2) The complex characters and relationships in this story also stood out to me. I loved all the complexities in Dineas and Zivah's relationship with each other, and also with people on both sides of the line. This book has some great conversations and questions as these two try to navigate political and interpersonal relationships after their trip in the last book - all while trying to win a war. The secondary characters continued to stand out to me, and some of the most compelling scenes were when someone considered an enemy would give Zivah or Dineas insight on themselves. 

3) While Umbertouched has a big over arching plot, a huge empire to face and the truth of the plague to expose, this story shines in its quieter character moments. And all the while Zivah is running out of time as her health continues to be affected by plague symptoms. Don't come expecting a magic cure, but don't forget to hope either. I was pleasantly surprised by how much of an impact this ending had on me. It is powerful and fitting for the strength of these characters, and the internal and external battles they’ve fought and won.

Love Triangle Factor: None
Cliffhanger Scale: Series end

Author Livia Blackburn has an incredible giveaway of Umbertouched going on right now. Click HERE for the details!

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