by Leah Cypess
Publisher: Greenwillow (March 2014)
Genre: Fantasy/High Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover ARC (352 pages)
Source: Free book from publishing for honest review
Find It: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Rating: ★★★½☆ (3.5 stars)
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.
At A Glance
Gotta love the scary assassin cave and dark world, but the characters and romance were meh.
This was a pretty badass assassin book. These assassins are in no way redeemable. They have learned to not care, not feel pain, and never hesitate to murder someone right from childhood. All they know is the Master knows all, he knows best, and he is law. It’s like an assassin cult. Creepy, right? And Ileni is thrown into this world of killers, and her only defense, magic, is fading. No fair!
Ileni was pretty kickass and brave throughout the whole novel. I couldn’t imagine having magic all my life and then it fading. And then being forced to live in a cave kingdom of assassins. Effing bonkers! Ileni did good though. She had a lot of bluster and words to hide behind, faking her way enough to look somewhat threatening. She was also not as afraid of death as most people are, so she took dangerous risks that often paid off in the end. And bonus, she got away with not getting stabbed a whole bunch of times. Yay!
There were many plotlines that all beautifully interwove in some way: Ileni’s magic fading, the mystery behind the sorcerers deaths, evil kingdoms to dismantle, Ileni doing the nasty with an assassin. 😀 But it was the sinister world and dark tone that really kept me reading. I never felt safe while reading this book, and I loved that. I am very interested to read the next book in the series. I want to see the world outside the cave. I want to see what Ileni plans to do after all those big reveals near the end. The ending could have been better, but I was still shocked by what happened and what might happen in the future.
My biggest problem with Death Sworn was that I didn’t connect with the characters all that much. Unfortunately, Ileni and Sorin were one-dimensional. They had one purpose and they never deterred from that purpose, no matter how stupid it was. Sorin was worse though. He was suppose to be the love interest and I never, ever liked him. He is just not a good person anymore. He is too far gone.
Even though I loved the dark, unrelenting world these characters lived in, we only got to see and hear about a small part of it. I mean, the whole book is set in a huge ass cave world. I wanted to see more of the outside, learn more about evil Empire.
It was also slow in some parts.
Since Sorin was not my cup of tea, the romance wasn’t my favorite part. And I think these two had sex but I really don’t know. It was so ambiguous and confusing. If they did have sex, don’t worry, we only see a little kissing, that’s it. Good for a YA audience. Though I think everybody would like to see more passion and an emotional connection between these two.
Definitely not perfect. A total bummer that I didn’t really connect with the characters or the romance, but the interesting plotlines and dark feel of the novel made it worth the read. I can’t wait for book #2. Recommended.
“Every person we assassinate dies to serve a greater purpose.”
“I’m sure they would be happy if they knew it,” Ileni said sarcastically, but her voice sounded weak even to her. “If you would explain it to them, perhaps they would volunteer for your knives.”
“It’s not hard to kill,” Ileni said softly, as if discovering it all over again. “Not if you hate someone. It’s so very easy.”
But it shouldn’t be.”
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.”