Oh my gosh... this book!!
So I started reading this novel by American author Livia Blackburne called Rosemarked recently.
I had never before heard of her, but did recognise some of her book covers, but this was a random library pick for me, just because the story sounded interesting and I was in the mood for a fantasy.
And it is freaking AMAZING. I LOVED this book.
Why, why why why???
That is basically what I want to know whenever I am this utterly sucked into a story.
What was it that compelled me to just gobble this up, why was I thinking about it and dreaming of reading it whenever I was at work doing blurg work?
What was it about this story?
One. The way the romance is handled.
So I make no secret at all about what a romance fan I am, I just love it, and I always 100% prefer a book to have romantic elements in it than not.
In saying that I will also make it super clear that I am mad picky about what constitutes a satisfying and romantic romance to me.
I HATE instant love. I hate tragic, deep, instant connections and I hate when girls feel themselves ‘somehow drawn’ to a beautiful boy for no reason whatsoever (except that he is gorgeous apparently).
But this book.... oh this book.
The romance is definitely not a huge major focus point of the story at all though, so I don't want to mislead you into thinking this is a full romance book, because I guess that is not the case. But everything is told through dual viewpoints, a boy and a girl, so it is definitely present, but also not the main storyline.
The romance is given room to breathe. When they first meet each other these two aren’t very keen on each other, and when they become forced travelling companions, they reach an uneasy truce. And it takes AAAGGGGEEEESSS for them to move anywhere beyond that, and even when they do it is complex and difficult.
But what I LOVED about that lead up to the romance, was the absolute slow care taken in building the relationship between these two characters, and of course the care taken just to also build them into real people who live and breathe and feel individual too. Each conversation they have feels real and measured, and it takes a long (read: realistic) amount of time for their antagonistic relationship to change from grudging wary respect to other complex emotions.
Obviously there is some fantastic memory loss in here too, which really adds complications to their growing connection.
But I think the main thing I took away from this was that a writer should never be afraid to take it slow. Or to build feelings layer by layer at a realistic pace. Until you can get a real feel for someone and understand more about who they really are as a person, you can’t really truly love them, and I think that comes across in this novel.
I thought it was wonderful.
But, I am also aware that other readers found it slow and maybe didn't like this novel for the exact same reasons that I did. Which is what is so interesting about writing books. Every reader is SO DIFFERENT. There really is no magic formula that works for everyone.
But hey, this one worked for me!
TWO: The world building.
Oh yeah! I loved the smooth worldbuilding in this novel. It took it's time and the world constantly built outwards, adding layers.
I liked the idea of the plague, that felt different for me, the plague quarantine village and just all the ideas behind this world that seemed a bit fresh for me (plague veils etc.) All very interesting.
I also really liked that this is a fantasy world but without magic. Everything is realistic, war, disease, armies, torture etc. There are Gods but they are just worshiped and never impact the story at all.
I really like this, as for me it really raises the stakes in a way. Things feel real.
THREE: View points.
So this point is completely personal, but I have discovered that I love fantasy or high concept stories told from the perspective of characters that aren't really that special. For instance, that aren't the prince or princess. That don't have special powers.
That's just a personal thing for me, but I will always choose a story about the princess's servant over the princess. I don't know why.
So I really liked reading about a no name healer with no future and a tortured soldier, both out to do extraordinary things, but with no special powers or family dynasties behind them. They really were just by themselves.
All in all, I loves this book and can't wait to read the next one, Umbertouched.
You read any good books lately? Something you found very exciting?
Tell me all about it! :)