Death Sworn by Leah Cypess combines a fun fantasy world with twists on traditional fantasy tropes and some surprisingly deep morality questions. It introduces a world that I can’t wait to find out more about, even though nearly the entire book takes place in the cave system of a guild of assassins! Also, plot twists, ahoy, woot!
Note: I received an eARC of Death Sworn through Edelweiss for an honest review. Some things may have changed in the final version.
Death Sworn by Leah Cypess (Death Sworn #1)
Published by Greenwillow on March 4, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 352 pages
How I got my copy: Edelweiss
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
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When Ileni lost her magic, she lost everything: her place in society, her purpose in life, and the man she had expected to spend her life with. So when the Elders sent her to be magic tutor to a secret sect of assassins, she went willingly, even though the last two tutors had died under mysterious circumstances.
But beneath the assassins’ caves, Ileni will discover a new place and a new purpose… and a new and dangerous love. She will struggle to keep her lost magic a secret while teaching it to her deadly students, and to find out what happened to the two tutors who preceded her. But what she discovers will change not only her future, but the future of her people, the assassins… and possibly the entire world.
- Let’s just start out with my favorite thing (no not dragons, haha): plot twists! I knew from early on that Death Sworn would have to have a crazy ending given the mysteries that Ileni encounters, but I still didn’t expect what happened, which is the best in my opinion :D.
- The magic system in Death Sworn hints at being really cool. I suppose it is actually fairly typical in that it involves personal power being shaped by spoken spells, but the description of the spells that Ileni performs goes way beyond that! I could picture these scenes perfectly and they were so epic.
- So at first Death Sworn seems to be a typical chosen one story since Ileni is the most powerful/skilled magic user of recent memory. However, Death Sworn quickly turns that trope on its head and I loved it! Ileni is slowly losing her magic and therefore she is still the most skilled, but she doesn’t have the power to do the spells she knows how to do. I can’t wait to see where the series takes this aspect!
- I honestly didn’t expect the morality questions that arose. Ileni finds out a lot about how the assassins’ guild teaches about death and sacrifice and it raised some really interesting ideas, especially since Ileni is pretty opposite in opinion so there is lots of good discussion, yey.
- Pretty much all of Death Sworn takes place inside the caves, so while the outside world is discussed, we never get to see it. The hints that are dropped are so tantalizing and it drove me a bit batty not to find out much of anything of what the world really looks like in Death Sworn.
- Ileni was an all right main character, but I didn’t particularly care for her. I didn’t dislike her, she just isn’t someone that I would go out of my way to be friends with ya know? More of an acquaintance even by the end of the book.
- Remember that awesome magic that I told you about? We don’t get to learn much of it beyond a couple of scenes since Ileni can’t cast many spells. I’m not really sure how the rest of the series will get around this, but I neeeeeeed to know more about that magic system (and kind of wish that Death Sworn had found a way to show us more despite Ileni’s situation)!
Death Sworn is an exciting start to what could be a really epic duology. The ending promises so much amazingness for book two so I’m just going to keep refreshing on Goodreads until more information about book two is posted >.>. But seriously, if you like fantasy and assassins, add this one to your March reading list asap.
Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
Death Sworn by Leah Cypress
© 2014, Anya. All rights reserved.