Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Review: Death Sworn by Leah Cypress

Death Sworn (Death Sworn, #1)Title: Death Sworn 
Author: Leah Cypress
Publisher:  Greenwillow
Publishing Date: March 4th 2014
Pages: 352
Genre:  YA High Fantasy
Series:  Death Sworn #1
Source: Audio


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.

This was a very anticipated read for me. Everything about the book really drew me in. I was happy to find it on audio and dove in. I enjoyed the listen, great story and great characters. It was a refreshing read for YA fantasy. Not too deep but more than a light read. The only issue (small issue) I had was the pacing. It lacked a bit for me. Other than the pacing, wonderful read.

Ileni is sent on a suicide mission. She is sent to the cave of assassins to teach those assassins magic… her real mission… find out who killed the teachers prior to her. Two have ended up dead. Ileni is OK with this mission, it gives her purpose. Her magic is slowly dying and she is afraid of what will come after its gone. All she is, is her magic. She ends up with a shadow, a guardian, an assassin all to herself, to protect her, his name being Sorin. Being with him, talking with him, she has learned many things. Her thoughts of these assassins slowly change. She learns more about who they are, what they are trying to do, and how easy it is to kill. She also falls in love. She sets forth to uncover the mysteries behind the deaths of previous tutors and comes to learn that all she thought is not all that is right.

The story I loved. I loved the assassins vs. the magic makers, killing vs. peace…I enjoyed they story at its place and where it was headed. There was a lot to the story and the author did a great job with the world building. It was not over done or under done. I felt that I was able to quickly grab on to the world, who was who, and the conflicts. I was invested in the story pretty early one.

The pacing of the story was the main issue for me. There were some really awesome parts in which I could not put the book down. I was very into everything that was happening. Then there were times I was just a tad bit bored and spaced a bit. It didn’t deter me from wanting to finish the book. The exciting parts put a hold on me that really got me through the slow parts and I was able to move on and really enjoy the story and the characters.

The characters I adored. I really liked Ileni. She started off a bit naive when it came to the assassins. Not really her fault, She only knew what she was taught. What I loved about her, she wasn’t afraid to forget what she learned and change her mind with what she was experienced instead of what she was taught. She had an open mind. She had a bit more trouble opening up her heart. She started off a bit distant, stand offish. She had a mission, she didn’t care for killers, and she had a great desire to stay alive for as long as she could. She was committed to her mission. She was loyal. Even when it seemed she may have been headed in the wrong direction, she held on to her loyalty… She just figured out how to expand her loyalty. She was a strong, brave, and very intelligent. Great character.

Sorin was also a fantastical character. I fell in love with him from the very beginning. He was an assassin, yes, he was trained to kill, yes, but from the very beginning, clearly he was one of the good guys. He was very honest, very hard, but he had goodness going on. He fully believed in his mission and would not fault from it. He changed his ways a bit when it came to Ileni and that is when his hardness began to falter. He fell in love and it changed him. Only a bit though. Only enough to save her hide when needed, he still stayed true to his beliefs. He wasn’t arrogant, he wasn’t cruel, he wasn’t a jerk. He wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies either. He treated Ileni as an equal, I liked that very much. Of course that didn’t stop his need to protect her, but only in the moments she needed it. Wonderful character.

There is love in the story… written just perfect. Not overwhelming, not instant, just right. It was sweet and deep. It grew over time as it should. Started out with a spark and took off from there. It was not the center of the story but I would say it plays a pretty big part overall. I think it will be even more prominent in the books to come. The only issue I had with the romance.. it was forbidden in a way and of course there will be lots of obstacles in the way. In the end I am sure they will be together and all with be wonderful… but until then it will be a very hard road.

The ending was the best part.... I loved the relationship play out, the story come together, it felt as if the story was just beginning for me. It had a conclusion but only to the main issue in this story... there is still so much more to come, so much story left, the ending was not the conclusion and I can't wait to read more. I think the best is yet to come. This story was just build up. 

A great addition to YA High Fantasy. Enjoyed it very much and look forward to reading more in the series. 

Leah Cypess

Leah Cypess wrote her first story in first grade. The narrator was an ice-cream cone in the process of being eaten. In fourth grade, she wrote her first book, about a girl who was shipwrecked on a desert island with her faithful and heroic dog (a rip-off of both The Black Stallion and all the Lassie movies).
After selling her first story while in high school, she gave in to her mother's importuning to be practical and majored in biology at Brooklyn College. She then went to Columbia Law School and practiced law for almost two years. She kept writing and submitting in her spare time, and finally, a mere 15 years after her first short story acceptance, she sold her first novel.
Leah currently lives in Brookline, Massachusetts with her husband and children.


  1. Ooh. Death Sworn looks and sounds like a great book! Definitely putting this on my to-be-read list, cuz I LOVE a YA High Fantasy. So are sooooo good. Especially those romance and chemistry. Eek! Thanks for introducing this book to me! Great review!

    Cindy @ In This World of Books..

  2. I did like this book. I wanted a little more word building, but I think that things will really pick up in book two.

    Kate @ Ex Libris


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