Monday, 24 February 2014

Review: Death Sworn by Leah Cypess

Title: Death Sworn (Death Sworn #1)
Author: Leah Cypess
Release date: March 4th 2014
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Format: eARC
Pages: 290
Source: Edelweiss

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.

The first thing that drew me to this book was the cover. Isn't it gorgeous? And then I read the synopsis and thought, I'm going to love this. And I did! I'm just starting to read a whole lot of YA fantasy, and there are so many amazing ones releasing this year. Death Sworn is definitely one of them.

Ileni hasn't lost all of her magic, but most of it. Now, the most she can do is little spells, and even those make her feel exhausted. So when she's sent to the Assassins' Caves to be their new magic tutor after the previous two died, she accepts her fate. But when she discovers the truth about her predecessor, she knows she has to take action. Not to mention the fact that Ileni has to gain the trust of her students to avoid getting killed by them. After all, they're all deadly assassins.

I really liked Ileni's determination and her stubborn attitude. She also never shows fear while amongst the assassins, which was really strong of her. I was surprised at her lack of anger, though. I'd imagine she would be angry at the Elders for sending her to the caves, or at the world in general for the loss of her magic, since she used to be an extremely powerful sorceress before. Anyway, Ileni is definitely a likeable protagonist, and I hope we get to see her character develop further in the sequel.

Sorin, on the other hand, was a little harder to like. I didn't mind his coldness, since he's meant to be that way. But his devotion to the 'master' was a bit creepy. He, like the other assassins, follows the master blindly without thinking for himself. All of them believe the master cannot be wrong, and they'd never go against him. I mean, Sorin even admits to being the master's tool, and being proud of it. But other than that, I liked him. He does soften towards Ileni, and I liked the slow development of the romance. It was intriguing and quite amusing to see him all flustered later on, on account of his growing feelings for Ileni.

Ileni's magic lessons with the assassins were some of my favourite parts of the book, because I love seeing how authors approach magic in their own way. We also get quite a bit of backstory about the Empire, the Renegai and the assassins, which will definitely be useful in the next book. I wish we could have found out more about Ileni's magic and how she lost it, though. That would have been a good addition to the world-building.

I loved that there was so much suspense in this novel along with the action. Ileni's trying to track down a killer, and watching her get closer and closer to her goal made me read this book all in one go. There's a lot of unpredictability throughout, especially in the last quarter. The pacing is great, and I really liked the writing too.

Overall, Death Sworn is an awesome start to a new fantasy duology, and I can't wait for the next book. The ending was bittersweet but hopeful, and I can tell there's going to be a lot more of badass Ileni coming up!

*Thank you to HarperCollins for providing me with an eARC for review*

Rating: 4/5

1 comment:

  1. Great review :D I'm glad you mostly enjoyed this book. <3 I really loved it. Dying for the second one :D


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