Review: Death Sworn by Leah Cypress

March 11, 2014 Book Review, Young Adult 13 ★★★★

Death SwornDeath Sworn by Leah Cypress
Series: Death Sworn #1
Published by Greenwillow Books on March 4th 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: ARC
Source: Edelweiss
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<p>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.</p>
<p>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.</p>

I was long overdue for a fantasy novel and Death Sworn hit just the ticket for me!

Our main character, Ileni, is a sorceress who is close to losing her magic powers and has been sent to the caves of a mountain to teach a group of highly skilled assassins, knowing her two predecessors were both murdered and that her fate would most likely end with the same result. She finds herself surrounded by secrets, mystery, and danger as she works to uncover the truth while trying to stay alive.

I think what I enjoyed most about this fantasy novel was all of the mystery. Ileni cannot trust anyone she encounters in the caves and in turn we the reader also feel wary of everyone. The danger level is severe as we meet these assassins who are highly trained and are willing to follow their master’s every word, even if the end result is their suicide. Ileni is incredibly jumpy and wracked with nerves as she tries to hide the fact that her magic is dwindling each day from those who can hurt her. Working through her fears was no easy task but she was also pretty good at putting up a front when need be. She knew why she was there and she didn’t deter from that, despite what it most likely meant for her own life.I liked that excitement of not knowing what to expect. Even when things felt a little slower in pace, I was anxious to keep reading because I just knew something would happen. The murder mystery was very well done and kept my mind constantly whirling with thoughts and theories and in the end, it surprised me!

I also loved the dynamic between Ileni and the assassin who acts as her guide of sorts and swore to protect her, Sorin. The tension between the two was quite thick, but he stayed on task and was a man of his word with his orders. At least most of the time… He was so serious and deadly in demeanor but also protective. Finding cracks in that harsh exterior was some of my favorite moments and I could not help but root for these two to get together and loved the slow burn the path took.

Beyond the caves lies an Empire, one the assassins are trying to help take down. We learn a bit about this but I remain a little unclear to all of the elements of the world building on the outside and how it all fits together in what looks to be a war brewing. But Death Sworn has left us with a great setup to explore that more in the next installment, which I am crazy excited to read. Ileni was just scratching the surface of her potential and I can’t wait to see what she does next, as well as what will happen with her and Sorin!


About Leah Cypress

I wrote my first story in first grade. The narrator was an ice-cream cone in the process of being eaten. In fourth grade, I wrote my first book, about a girl who gets shipwrecked on a desert island with her faithful and heroic dog (a rip-off of both The Black Stallion and all the Lassie movies, very impressive).

However, I took a few detours along the way to becoming a full-time writer. After selling my first story (Temple of Stone) while in high school, I gave in to my mother’s importuning to be practical and majored in biology at Brooklyn College. I then went to Columbia Law School and practiced law for almost two years at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, a large law firm in New York City. I kept writing and submitting in my spare time, and finally, a mere 15 years after my first short story acceptance, I am going to be a published novelist. I am very excited about this!

I live in Brookline, Massachusetts (right outside of Boston) with my husband Aaron, a researcher and doctor at the Joslin Diabetes Center, and our two daughters.

Sara @ Forever 17 Books

13 Responses to “Review: Death Sworn by Leah Cypress”

  1. Lisa (Lost in Literature)

    I’m so torn on whether to try this one or not. It’s not my usual genre, as I don’t read many fantasy books, but for some reason I’m really drawn to it. Maybe it’s the cover… or the word “assassins” in the description… or maybe just because it seems that everyone is really enjoying it. Either way, I feel myself succumbing to peer pressure. I think I just may read this one. 🙂
    Lisa (Lost in Literature) recently posted…Audiobook Review: The Art of Falling by Jenny KaczorowskiMy Profile

  2. Amanda @ Late Nights with Good Books

    I love that feeling when I haven’t read books in a certain genre for a while and then I find a book and it just satisfies that craving so well. Glad that happened to you here! 🙂
    I’ve read many lukewarm reviews of this one, unfortunately, so I’m a bit put-off and not sure I really want to commit to reading to it yet. I’m going to start with Mistwood and see how that goes. If I love it, then I just may have to give Death Sworn a try.
    Amanda @ Late Nights with Good Books recently posted…Review: The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott LynchMy Profile

  3. Ariel T

    I just heard about Death Sworn recently, but it looks pretty good! I have seen some mixed reviews here and there, but I’ve added it to my TBR list. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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