Review: Death Sworn by Leah Cypess

Monday, May 23, 2016

Death Sworn #1
Publisher: Greenwillow
Publication Date: March 4th, 2014
Rating: 4 Stars
Source: ARC Trade
Pages: 344

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.

Ileni was once the most powerful sorceress among the Renegai until she realized her magic was not permanent and it began to weaken. Left with nothing and being as disposable as she is, she is sent to teach magic to a cave full of young assassins after the previous two sorcerers sent there ended up dead.

Ileni uses her time and the last dregs of her magic to attempt to figure out who among the assassins killed Absalm and Cadrel before they come for her next.

I really liked Ileni. She is kinda sassy. She basically knows that she is sent to this cave full of assassins to die. She has a very limited amount of magic left so the Renegai have no use for her except to fulfill their part of an agreement with the assassins to have one of their sorcerers teach their students magic. She is pretty much terrified the whole time, but tries her hardest to cover it up with her attitude. She hates being amongst these killers because she doesn't believe that what they do is right, no matter what the purpose the deaths serve is.

Sorin is one of the top students in the assassin cave and is given the responsibility of keeping Ileni safe at all costs. He pretty much goes with her wherever she goes, walking with her to meals and her classes and back to her room everyday. Despite the fact that he's generally just kind of cold, they start to build up kind of a relationship. They start to care moreso about each other since they spend so much time together.

There isn't a LOT in the way of romance in this book. Before coming to the assassin camp, Ileni was in a relationship with another sorcerer named Tellis. Now that she has lost her magic, he is the strongest sorcerer among the Renegai. Not wanting to hold him back, she suggests they break it off. That's about all you learn about him.

Sorin and Ileni build up a relationship throughout this book that I quite liked. I knew from like the first few pages that they were gonna end up together, but it's definitely not insta love or anything like that. A lot of the book passes before anything happens between them and I felt like I spent a lot of this book going, "KISSSSSS!!!!"

I wish that there had been a bit more emphasis on the romance in this book. I think there are maybe two parts where the romance takes place and I feel like it was more brushed over than I would have liked, moreso having Ileni reflect back a little bit on what happened rather than reading about it as it happened.

It really didn't feel to me like there was a whole lot going on in this book. Ileni gets sent to the assassins and then day in and day out she wanders the caves, teaches her classes, talks to Sorin, and tries to figure out what happened to the previous sorcerers. Probably right around the middle of the book or so the pace seems to pick up a bit and things get a bit more exciting.

Another thing that added to the feeling of not much going on was the fact that the entire book takes place in the same location. Everything happens in the assassins' underground cave. The next book should definitely be more exciting than this one as Ileni is off on an adventure!

Overall, I really enjoyed this book! I read the whole thing in a day and while I wasn't totally enthralled in it, I really liked it. If you like fantasy or books about assassins, you will probably enjoy this book.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it?


  1. I'm excited to read this one. I'm 80% sure I have a copy at home and it's been on my to read list basically since it first came out. I want to say I'll read it soon but honestly I'm so behind, who even knows. But yay that you liked it! I'm excited to read it now!

    1. I hope you like it! I read this whole book in one day! I really enjoyed it! I hope I can get my hands on the second one soon so I can see what happens next! I think the second one will be a lot more exciting because I think the world will really expand!


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