cover image Rosemarked


Livia Blackburne. Disney-Hyperion, $17.99 (400p) ISBN 978-1-4847-8855-4

Seventeen-year-old Zivah, a Daran high healer, contracts the rose plague from an Amparan battalion that’s occupying her village. Zivah survives the initial infection but is left rosemarked—splotched with red, highly contagious, and likely to succumb to her disease within a decade. Dineas, 18, is a Shidadi warrior who catches the plague while shackled in an Amparan dungeon. His captors dump him in a ditch, but Dineas pulls through and returns to his people umbertouched—spotted with brown, no longer infectious, and forever immune. The Daran and Shidadi people suffer mightily under Ampara’s rule, so when their leaders hatch a plan that involves sending Zivah and Dineas to Sehmar City to gather intel about the empire’s plans and weaknesses, the teenagers sign on, despite the dangers. This character-driven fantasy from Blackburne (the Midnight Thief books) is slow to start, but patient readers will be rewarded with an intricately choreographed conclusion and a high-stakes cliffhanger that sets up a sequel. Arguments against prejudice share the page with questions of faith in the face of tragedy. Ages 12–up. [em]Agent: Jim McCarthy, Dystel, Goderich & Bourret. (Nov.) [/em]