Overall: 5/5 Stars
Plot and Themes: 5/5
Awesomeness Factor: 5/5
Review In A Nutshell: Umbertouched is the perfect sequel and a fantastic conclusion to a breathtaking series.
“‘Our hearts are not so easily changed, nor what runs through our veins.’”
// Content Warning: Violence, Death, War Themes, Murder, Illness, PTSD//
– Premise –
Umbertouched is the sequel to Rosemarked, picking up shortly after the conclusion of the first book. It follows Dineas and Zivah as they struggle to save their home from an inevitable war, while also fighting their own demons. Dineas has been changed by what he’s gone through, and others in his tribe notice. Meanwhile, Zivah’s rose plague has returned and she doesn’t know how long she has left.
– Setting –
Livia Blackburne continues to develop this amazing fantasy world. It may not have actual magic, but it feels magical as you read about the different lands. A lot more time is spent in Dara than in the first book, and I loved seeing more of Zivah’s home.
– Writing & Plot –
This book is well written, balancing plot, action, and prose with precision. Livia Blackburne clearly knows a lot about war and battle strategy, and it shows in this book. The weaving storylines merge perfectly, and the war itself feels so real. She never shied away from the brutality and fear that plays a part in a battle, and this was one of the few books where I genuinely didn’t know who would survive and who would die. The pace in this book is a little quicker than in the first, but it’s still slower than your average YA fantasy. However, it deserves that slowness, and it makes the book so much better.
– Characters –
Umbertouched truly is a character-focused novel. The majority of this book is about the growth of the two protagonists, Dineas and Zivah, and their journey. Livia Blackburne handles Dineas’ PTSD perfectly in this book. It’s never ignored or forgotten, and the symptoms are very realistic. His journey throughout the book is absolutely amazing, a perfect mix of tragic and hopeful. Zivah is equally awesome. The way her story is wrapped up is perfect for this series, and no one will be disappointed by it. Also, their relationship is so adorable! This series isn’t about the romance, but it’s balanced very well with the war and other plot threads. Some popular side characters come back in this book, and I was so happy to see them, as well as some amazing new people.
“Save your honor for those who have honor themselves. Keep your piety for those who don’t spit on the gods.”
– Conclusion –
Pros– Fantastic characters, epic action, and very well written.
Cons– A little slow at times. (Honestly, this isn’t a con for me. This is just a warning for people who don’t like that)
Overall– 5/5 stars.
Umbertouched blew me away. This book was even better than it’s predecessor, and it makes me so excited to see what Blackburne writes next.