Death Sworn by Leah Cypess
Book One of the Death Sworn series
Publication Date: March 4, 2014
Rating: 4 stars
Source: ARC sent by the publisher
Summary (from Goodreads):
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.
What I Liked:
I've had this book since AUGUST, you all, August 2013. I remember because the ARC came in the mail the day before I moved out of my house and into Johns Hopkins, as a freshman. I was so grateful, because it was the first Harper I received (thank you, Leah!). It's gorgeous, it's fantasy, and I knew I had to have it.
I really enjoyed this book! It's a beautiful start to a new series, and I will be reading the next book(s) in the series. I had not read Leah's other books, but this is a new series. Ileni is a sorceress with dying magic. She is sent (forced to go) to a cave, to train young male assassins. No one knows that her magic is dying. And a threat lies beyond the cave, and Ileni will have to make some decisions about her magic, her duty to her people, and her heart.
This book takes place in the cave I mentioned above - like, the ENTIRE book takes place there. This is a good and bad thing. It is good, because we get a clear sense of the setting of the novel. It's not so good, because that is the ONLY setting we experience. We don't know much about the "outside" world - but we will in the next book (I'm sure).
This book is written in third person limited - limited to Ileni. I really like this, as it is a nice switch from first person. We get Ileni's point-of-view, but also the master of the assassins' point-of-view occasionally (very rarely though). I like Ileni. She is a strong character, and she follows her instinct and her heart, and not always the orders of others.
The other protagonist is Sorin. Sorin is the best (or one of the best) assassins being trained. He is tasked with shadowing and protecting Ileni - which is not an easy job, in a cave of assassins. Sorin is loyal to his master, but as the book goes on, he changes subtly. He becomes conflicted about his loyalties and his duties.
There is a bit of romance between Ileni and Sorin, but it is VERY light. Not much happens between them romantically, but the attraction is present. I hope to see more of the romance in the next book(s), because I am totally rooting for the magic-less sorceress and the deadly, unfeeling assassin.
The world-building in this novel is pretty good! Granted, the entire novel is set in a cave, so we don't know much about the actual world, but I liked the scene that the author set. The attitude of the assassins is brutal, harsh, but filled with honor. Ileni's attitude is passive, soft, yet unyielding. I loved seeing the worlds collide.
I feel like there wasn't too much of a climax in this book - but maybe it was supposed to be subtle for a reason. The book kind of meandered a little, but it was a calculating type of meandering, like a snake lying in the wake, waiting for just the right moment to strike.
As I said before, I really liked this novel, and I definitely will be reading the next book(s) in the series. I hope to see more from the actual world and more from the romance! Otherwise, I think the author did a fantastic job with this awesome fantasy novel.
What I Did Not Like:
I think I mentioned this point quite enough, but I would have liked to experience more from the setting - more than just the cave. Yes, we get to know a lot about life in the cave, and that sets the tone for the novel However, the next book will be set in the outside world (I think), and I would have liked to know more about the outside world. Being in the cave seemed like the world was in a bubble.
And more romance, please! This isn't really a complaint, but I would have liked to see more between Ileni and Sorin. At the moment, it definitely does NOT seem like their style, so I get it. But in the future...
Would I Recommend It:
This is definitely one that fantasy lovers should read! Fantasy is my favorite genre, and I loved this book. I wanted a little more from the book overall, but I'm hoping that the rest of the series will be more fulfilling. There is a hint of romance, but not enough to label this book with the "romance" tag. I would recommend this read to fantasy lovers primarily - I know this one won't be for everyone.
4 stars. I really enjoyed this book, and I definitely will be reading the next book in the series!
Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!
Great review Alyssa! I have this one in my TBR list and reading your review has made me feel sure I'll love it!ReplyDelete
YAY I'm glad that you think so! I really hope you do, Pili!Delete
I've had my eye on this book for quite a while now and am glad to hear it's living up to expectations. It sounds even more awesome! And little to no romance? Yay!ReplyDelete
Excellent! It is definitely a fabulous read, and lived up to my expectations. I wanted a little more romance, but I like what I saw. Hope you read it and enjoy, Kel!Delete
I really loved this book, too! I agree that I would love to see the world outside of the assassins cave, but I think we'll be getting a lot of that in book 2 (which I'm super excited for!!!). I love how you called Ileni and Sorin the "magic-less sorceress and the deadly, unfeeling assassin," because that's both hilarious and entirely accurate. They're definitely a complicated couple, especially with what happened at the end. Great review :)ReplyDelete
So glad to hear that, Farrah! I have some expectations for book two, but I'm also very excited for it. And HA! One of my more eloquent lines, no? ;) I really like them together!Delete
Thank you <3
I'll be reading this soon as well, Alyssa! So glad you enjoyed it. I always love hearing what my trusted blogger friends think of books first, and it looks like this one will be fantastic!ReplyDelete
WOOT! Good for you, Tammy! It's so great. And aww, I'm honored to be called a "trusted blogger friend" - thank you so much!Delete
Amazing review sweetie :) I really loved this book as well. <3 I'm glad you did too :D I actually loved the setting. But ohh. I'm also dying to see about the outside world. Thank you for sharing. <3ReplyDelete
Thank you so much, Carina! I saw that you indeed did love this one! I enjoyed the setting as well, but wanted more of the outside world.Delete
You're very welcome - and thank YOU!
This is probably the first review I've read for the book but I'm glad that you liked this one so much. The setting and world-building sound really solid, but I can definitely why you wanted more from it. Great review!ReplyDelete
Ooo, I'm so happy to be the first! I love being first :D It has so many amazing parts to it! But I hope book two is even more spectacular. Thank you, Eileen!Delete
I really enjoyed this one and I hope that the next installment is even better!ReplyDelete
I'm glad that you did, Liza! I hope it is as well!Delete
I finally got to come over and read your review since I posted mine today. I really enjoyed Death Sworn--I'm with you--the cave setting got to be a bit much but overall I found it a really fun, fast paced read. I loved the spellcasting (though it was few and far between) and really enjoyed the chemistry between characters. I would have liked a more in depth world but thinking we'll get that in book two. So happy you liked this too!ReplyDelete
Awesome! I'm glad you liked the book as well! I have some of the same dislikes and likes as you, which is great! I hope book two is super fabulous. Thank you!Delete
Awesome review Alyssa Yay for another great fantasy book I just love fantasy books I've been dying to get my hands on this book when it comes out but I don't now if I am going to get it because I'm getting two books in March and my mom well get on my case if I by more than two books but I might get a chance to get it though lol but this one looks and sounds amazing and I heard nothing but great raving reviews about it! thanks for sharing Alyssa!ReplyDelete
Can't get enough of fantasy, no? And I know what you mean about limiting yourself - I'm in the same boat, for books I want to buy. But this one is pretty great! You're very welcome, Katiria.Delete
Great review! I didn't realise the book took place in mainly one place, but it sounds quite cool and I want to meet these characters! I am a romance person so I think I'll have to read the second book too if I want more romance :) Can't wait to read this!ReplyDelete
It IS very cool! I hope you enjoy the romance in this book, because I really did. Happy reading, Zareena!Delete
You gave great details of the book and what you liked and did not. Nice to know story is written in 3rd person except for lleniReplyDelete
Thank you, Annie!Delete
I am so excited this book is finally out! It sounds amazing, and I don't know how you have waited since August - I couldn't have! I'm glad to hear that it's a well written third person narrative. Sometimes they don't turn out so well and I'm glad I found out before I picked it up. I;m a little bummed about the lack of romance but I think it will still be amazing. Great review!ReplyDelete
Time! Time holds me back and pushes me forward. And I have a good feeling that you will love this one, Rachel! Don't worry too much about the "lack" of romance ;)Delete
SO glad you enjoyed this one! I've been anticipating it ever since I found out about it. I really enjoyed her previous world. So eager to dive into this one :DReplyDelete
YAY! I hope you read and love this one, Vivien! I have her previous two books, but I have not read them (I definitely will be though). Happy reading!Delete
Thanks for the review! I liked what you said about different worlds colliding. Sounds like it will add some good tension. I'd prefer it have more romance, but I definitely want to read it.ReplyDelete
You're welcome! And about the romance - me too. But I found that judging the characters' personalities, the type of romance in this book seems to work for them. They're both private, non-trusting individuals.Delete
I am so relieved that you enjoyed Death Sworn! I have read a few not so positive reviews for the book, and it has made me incredibly nervous because this is one of those books that I have been so ready to read. Now, I can take a breath because it just sounds so good and according to you it lives up to that. That makes me almost positive that it is a book that I would very much enjoy!ReplyDelete
I have seen a few as well! But this book really worked for me. I want to say that you will loveeeee it, but we can't be sure until you read it, right? ;) I really hope you do enjoy this book, Jaime! *bites nails*Delete