Title: Death Sworn
Author: Leah Cypress
Genre: YA Fantasy
Series: Death Sworn (Book 1)
Publication Date: March 4, 2014
Format: Hardcover, 352 Pages
ISBN-10: 0062221213 (Harper Teen)
ISBN-13: 978-0062221216 (Harper Teen)
Reviewed by: Kaitlin
When a young sorceress is exiled to teach magic to a clan of assassins, she will find that secrets can be even deadlier than swords. From the critically acclaimed Leah Cypess comes a dangerous and eerie fantasy about murder, shocking discoveries, and fiery star-crossed romance that readers of Cinda Williams Chima and Robin LaFevers won’t be able to put down.
Ileni is losing her magic. And that means she’s losing everything: her position as the rising star of her people, her purpose in life, and even the young man she loves. Sent to the assassins’ cave, hidden deep within the mountains, she expects no one will ever hear from her again. The last two sorcerers sent died within weeks of each other. Accidents? Or something more sinister? As Ileni navigates the dangers—both natural and human—of the caves, she’ll discover secrets that have been kept for decades. And she’ll find an ally in Sorin, the deadly young man who could be the assassins’ next
Quick & Dirty: Death Sworn is an unforgettable, engaging novel with a dark tone and an eerie quality about its setting. This is a smooth blend of mystery, romance, and magic that makes for a story that will blow your mind.
Opening Sentence: The first step should have been the hardest.
Ileni is a sorceress who had once been extremely powerful, but her magic is fading rapidly. The Elders gave her an assignment, one that she will fit because she is “expendable”, and that is to train the many secluded assassins that live in a formation of caves. The assassins and the sorcerers have an agreement, after all, and that is that in exchange for the assassins leaving them in peace, the sorcerers will send one of their own to be a mentor to those with magical talent. It’s a dangerous job… not only will Ileni be living in a cave full of assassins that are obsessed with following their master’s will, but the last two teachers that came were murdered for unknown reasons. Ileni also has the burden of discovering who, and why, this happened. Let’s not forget her handsome, seemingly uncaring protector against this unknown predator, Sorin, either!
Right off the bat, I could not tear my eyes away from the pages. There are multiple plots in this book: the evil rulers of the kingdom, the assassin’s killer, how Ileni’s powers are fading, Sorin and Ileni’s relationship, and more.
I want to tell you guys about the Master. This “Master” rules over the assassins, and his word is law, with no hesitation. In one scene Ileni witnesses, the Master demonstrates his power over them by ordering a young boy to kill himself — unblinkingly, eager to show his devotion, this is followed out. Constantly, it is argued whether he is considered evil, because every order is set to help little by little his master plan to end the empire, and yet some of the things he does are so horrible. Personally, I loved this character! He has just the right amount of goodness, slightly unbalanced by his cruel ideas and playing of his followers like pawns on a chessboard. When you are reading scenes with the Master you want to shiver.
The romance between Ileni and Sorin moved very slowly, in subtle touches and quick glances. It never gets boring, though. Sorin’s lack of emotion most of the time makes him showing any emotion a very strong statement. Even though it wasn’t exactly your normal love story, I was still very fond of the pairing of these two characters.
There is always a very morbid and sinister feel about this novel as you read it. The dark tone is set very nicely, adding some creepiness to anything and everything. Even the scenes with fun and laughter had an undertone of this scary feeling. The only time I really felt content and peaceful was when I closed the book, but that isn’t a bad thing, because Death Sworn caused my emotions to unravel and swirl.
I did have one problem, though. I wish that I had seen more of this “empire” that is considered so horrible and evil, although we did get hints that book number two would give that to us, which makes me even more excited about the sequel. Sadly, I have to wait awhile for that. The setting the whole story through was in the caves (which were very vast, I’ll give you that).
I absolutely loved Death Sworn. I can’t rave enough about how fast I read this, or how unique the writing style was. The beginning hooks you in, the middle never gets boring, and the end is explosive and exciting. Definitely add this to your to read list on Goodreads, you will not regret it! Thank you for this masterpiece, Leah Cypress!
That was why he had gone after Bazel. To give her a chance to escape.
The door to her prison had been wide open, and she had turned away.
Ileni felt her lips twist as she gave him the truth, knowing he wouldn’t believe it. “I was sent here for a reason. I won’t leave until I find out who killed Absalm and Cadrel.”
Something passed swiftly over his face, something that wasn’t disbelief, before it went blank again. “Or until you become the next victim?”
She turned away from him. “Or that.”
The Death Sworn Series:
1. Death Sworn
FTC Advisory: Greenwillow Books/Harper Collins provided me with a copy of Death Sworn. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
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