Monday, March 3, 2014

Book Review: Death Sworn (Death Sworn #1) by: Leah Cypess

Release Date: March 4, 2014
from Greenwillow Books
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Source: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via edelweiss in exchange for a fair and honest review.
"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."

My Thoughts:

I’ve been looking forward to Death Sworn for a while now and I’m glad I finally made time to read it. I’m a sucker for a well done high fantasy and Death Sworn delivered just that. The story is good with lots of twists and turns. It’s not perfect but it is definitely enjoyable. 

I want to start with our heroine Ileni. I really took a liking to her. She was tough but at the same time she was also afraid. Being sent to live with a bunch of assassins isn’t really something that would make you feel all warm and fuzzy, but Ileni handles it well. She tries to be strong and do what she was sent to do, but she is human and still afraid. 

Then we have Sorin, who is not your normal hero, but I liked him none the less. Sorin is an assassin so I’m not sure you can really say he is a good guy, but despite that you still want to like him. It’s clear he comes to care for Ileni and it’s also clear he doesn’t know how to handle that. He truly believes what he is doing is for a greater good and because of that it is hard to fault him. 

What I really liked about Death Sworn is that it keeps you on your toes. When you think you have an answer, it turns out you don’t. You are told one thing but then something completely different turns out to be the truth. None of the characters can really be trusted and events never seem to pan out like you think they will. It’s really fun to try and figure out the answers along the way and I always give props to a book that can keep me guessing. 

While I really enjoyed Death Sworn overall, there were a few things I had issues with. Firstly, the book does take a bit to get going. It definitely gets off to a slow start, but once it starts to move the story keeps moving and becomes addictive. Also, the world building could be a bit better. We don’t see anything outside of the assassins caves. Ileni makes references and tells the reader constantly about her life before the caves and the people in it, but we never get to actually see that life outside the caves. I think it would have been beneficial if we could have seen Ileni before she was sent to teach the assassins so we had something to actually compare her before and after to. Also, we hear about this evil empire, but again we don’t get to see it. It’s hard to think of something as evil when we are simply told its evil. 

Despite my few issues, Death Sworn is a very good read. It had twists and turns and magic and danger with a touch of romance. It’s everything I want when I pick up a high fantasy read. I think fans of Throne of Glass, Shadow and Bone, and the like will enjoy this one.


  1. Exactly how I feel! :) It definitely keeps you on your toes, especially when she figured it out...only to figure it out again! And my biggest complaint was also the world building! It's hard to build a world from inside some caves, but I agree that it could've been helped simply by starting the book a bit earlier or by adding some kind of flashbacks, at least mentions of her past that didn't have to do with Tallis. :)

    Great review!
    Rachel @ Paper Cuts

  2. The slow start and not connecting with Ileni is why I didn't finish, but might have to give it a go and more chance to get to know Soren.

  3. I think this cover is so pretty, and I love a book that keeps you on your toes. The pace at the beginning is disappointing, as well as the lack of information from outside the caves; but I love that you were able to enjoy this one for the most part. Fabulous review, Wifey!!

  4. Oh, I'm a sucker for well written/well told high fantasy as well!! I like the sound of the characters and that the hero is a bit different! An that the book keeps you on your toes! Very hard to find books that do that! The cover is also soo pretty!!

    Great, great review!! *sending you all the muggle huggles right now*

  5. Thanks for sharing Teresa! I have this one for review, so it's good to know going in it's a little on the slower side. I am definitely curious about meeting Soren and Ileni, so I'll try and start this one soon.

  6. I feel like I read another really positive review for this within the past week. I've never read any of Cypress's books, but have heard good things. I'm glad you enjoyed Ileni and Soren so much!

  7. I'm not really in to high fantasy, but this story sounds really good! I like it when a story keeps me on my toes, and I don't know what to expect from the characters. Excellent Review Teresa!!!

    Lindy@ A Bookish Escape


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