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Death Marked by Leah Cypess eARC {4 Stars}

Death Marked by Leah Cypess is the conclusion to the duology started with Death Sworn and it really changes the game for what this story is about. There is a whole lot more magic, not much romance, but another awesome and unexpected ending that I loved :D. If you weren’t completely sold on Death Sworn because of not enough magic, definitely give Death Marked a try! And of course be warned that there will be spoilers below so feel free to check out my review of Death Sworn instead to be safe ;-).

Note: I received an advanced copy of Death Sworn from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Death Marked by Leah Cypess eARC {4 Stars}

Death Marked by Leah Cypess (Death Sworn #2)
Published by Greenwillow on March 3rd, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 400 pages
How I got my copy: Edelweiss
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A young sorceress’s entire life has been shaped to destroy the empire controlling her world. But if everything she knows is a lie, will she even want to fulfill her destiny? The sequel to Death Sworn is just as full of magic and surprising revelations, and will thrill fans of Leigh Bardugo and Robin LaFevers.

At seventeen, Ileni lost her magical power and was exiled to the hidden caves of the assassins. She never thought she would survive long. But she discovered she was always meant to end up, powerless, in the caves as part of an elder sorcerer’s plan to destroy the evil Empire they'd battled so long. Except that Ileni is not an assassin, and she doesn't want to be a weapon. And, after everything, she’s not even sure she knows the truth. Now, at the very heart of the Empire—its academy for sorcerers—the truth is what she seeks. What she finds challenges every belief she holds dear—and it threatens her fledgling romance with the young master of assassins.

4 Stars


  • The biggest change between Death Sworn and Death Marked is definitely the amount of magic! Ileni is now in the academy of sorcerers and so can use the harvested magic and put her mad skills to use. There is less description of the shouting (which I thought was really cool), but lots of discussion of magic and how it works and how it can be harvested :D.
  • I feared that there would be a lot of angst since Ileni is apart from Soren, but there really wasn’t much at all for YA! Ileni is pretty good at focusing on the things that are important to her and I am happy to see that.
  • I really loved that Death Sworn didn’t end the way I expected it to, but still didn’t see the end of Death Marked coming. It was very different from the typical YA or fantasy ending for a concluding book so I was delighted!
  • Death Marked does a very good job of raising the stakes in a big way. In Death Sworn, Ileni was just trying to survive and solve a mystery. In Death Marked she is trying to change an entire empire and it is made quite clear what the stakes are. It’s not just her life on the line, it is the lives of so many poor that are being basically tortured for the sake of the sorcerers’ magic.
  • Without giving too much away, love doesn’t save the day! I was absolutely thrilled to see a flat out statement in Death Marked that love wasn’t going to be the thing that fixed everything, but you have to read it to find out what does end up being the vital aspect instead ;-). Yey for throwing out tropes and doing something interesting!


  • While Ileni doesn’t have too much angst over boys, she does waffle quite a bit on what the right course of action is. I like the emphasis on grey areas and the way that she had to confront that there is no clear cut good and evil, but seriously just make up you mind girl!
  • There is this thing at the end involving romantic developments that I really really really could have lived without!
  • If you really need closure, you might not be thrilled with how Death Marked ends. Death Marked ended up feeling pretty open ended for the second book in a duology and I’m quite sure it was on purpose, but it wasn’t the typical amount of closure that you would expect.


Death Marked is a strong sequel to Death Sworn and brings a whole lot more magic to the table! If you weren’t completely thrilled with the fantasy elements of Death Sworn, you should definitely give Death Marked a try. There were a few things at the end that irked me, but overall I love how Death Marked continued to buck some tropes of the fantasy and YA genres and continued to surprise me :D.

Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings

Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
– Anya


 Death Marked by Leah Cypess

© 2015, Anya. All rights reserved.


  1. It’s very unrelated to the content of this series, but I love the covers of these books! They’re very beautiful. I’m glad that there isn’t too much romance and that love doesn’t save the day. There are already too many books where love is the key, so it’s nice to find some where this isn’t the case.
    Hellen recently posted…Review/Reseña – Whispers in the Dark – Chase J. JacksonMy Profile

  2. Ooo! This one looks interested. TBR’d.
    Ashana Lian . recently posted…Paperbacks, Sketchpads, Diaries and Notebooks (+ Fiction Friday!)My Profile

  3. Despite the lack of magic, I actually liked the first one better. And Ileni’s inability to make up her mind really grated. “You have no compassion for my poor nerves!” cried Mrs. Bennet. I agree that the romantic leaning at the end wasn’t a great addition, but it paled compared to Ileni’s final “decision.” It fit her character, I guess, but she sticks herself in a box and refuses to think outside of it. :P
    Kel @ Booked til Tuesday recently posted…Top 10 Books Recently Added to My TBR ListMy Profile

  4. I have this series waiting on my TBR for me. Now that I know you enjoyed it, I’m even more excited to read it :)

    Great Review!

    Michelle @ Book Briefs
    MIchelle @ Book Briefs recently posted…{ARC #Review } The Start of Me and You by @EmeryLord @bloomsburykids @BloomsburyPubMy Profile

  5. I actually was kind of disappointed in the first book, so I’m glad to hear this one is better! I’ve added it to my library list, so hopefully I enjoy it :) Thanks for sharing!

    • Yey! What didn’t you like about book one? Maybe I can help you figure out if this one will be better for you, hehe

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