Series: Death Sworn #1
Published by Greenwillow Books on March 4th 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
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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!