Review: Death Sworn

Death Sworn


DEATH SWORN by Leah Cypess will be released in the U.S. on March 4, 2014 in hardcover, audio and eBook formats. It is currently available to pre-order online in all formats at AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE.

Published by Greenwillow Books, the print edition is 352 pages.

DEATH SWORN is the first book in a new series by Author Leah Cypess.

Note: This review is based on an eARC received from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest thoughts about the book.



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.



DEATH SWORN is a thrilling, suspenseful and utterly intriguing story of sorcerers and assassins, magic and mystery, secrets, betrayal and romance. It is a gripping tale set in a danger-filled world where dark magic is used to keep control of the Empire, where deadly assassins plot to dismantle it piece by piece, and where one girl may be the key to it all.

When the Renegai chose Ileni to replace the assassins’ previous magic tutor and investigate the cause of his death, she was happy to take his place. With her magic rapidly dwindling, even the risk of living underground with trained killers was better than staying home, becoming more useless every day.

But living in the Assassins’ Caves, spending her days and nights surrounded by lethal executioners who had no qualms about ending a life and no concern for their own, made having so little power to stop them a bigger risk than she’d first realized. Especially when the assassin assigned to protect her was loyal to a Master who could just as easily order him to end her.

And especially when it was beginning to look more and more like the previous tutor’s death was no accident and the same fate might be in store for her.

Leah Cypess created an enchanting yet deadly world in DEATH SWORN. She added excitement by introducing a main character whose bravery and inquisitiveness far exceeded her magical abilities. She built suspense by offering brief peeks into her story through alternate points of view, by the near-constant threats to her main character’s safety and by slowly allowing the mystery to be unraveled.

She developed a plot that was brimming with danger, adventure, romance, tension and intrigue. She delivered a climactic conclusion that was full of shocks and surprises. And she set the stage for an action-packed and electrifying follow-up.

DEATH SWORN is a thoroughly engrossing first book in this series and a must for fans of high fantasy or readers who enjoy a captivating story that twists and turns, with fantastic world-building, a likable and sympathetic main character, a mystery to solve, secrets and motives to uncover, and an ending that will leave them eager for the next installment.

Reviewer gives this book…


On a personal note…

I didn’t expect to fall crazy in love with this book and yet I did. Long before the story ended. At first I was a little intrigued. Then a bit more. At some point I found that I couldn’t set the story down. Not that I wanted to.

There was mystery and magic and assassins and romance. There was a strong female main character, some seriously fantastic writing and a plot that once it stuck its claws into me would not let go. Which means I may have screamed when I reached DEATH SWORN’s end and found that I was going to have to wait for the sequel to see what happens next.

The story begins right in the thick of things. There is no long introduction to the character, story and world. You’re immediately thrust into Ileni’s fascinating but deadly reality. Though because I hadn’t read the description right before diving in, it took me a few pages to figure out what was going on. But once I was reminded that this story was about a girl who’d lost her magic and was sent away to tutor a group of assassins I couldn’t read fast enough, I couldn’t get enough.

Everything about this story kept me on edge for the entire read. I was so worried that Ileni’s lack of magical ability would be discovered – and no I won’t say if it was or wasn’t. I was nervous that her fate would be the same as her predecessors and that at any moment one of the assassins would decide to go after her. I wished and hoped that it wouldn’t be Sorin, that instead he would be there to protect her.

Of course I’m not going to say whether he did or didn’t and was or wasn’t. That would spoil everything.

I may have figured out certain secrets early on but was anxious to see whether I was wrong or right. I may have guessed about some of the characters, but it was still just as exciting when everything came to light. This one thing at the end, though, was completely unexpected. A total shocker. I did not see that coming. I was more than a little bit stunned by just how things turned out.

And I can’t believe I have to wait ages and ages to find out what is going to happen next.

I still find myself intrigued by the arrangement between the Renegai and the assassins. I am still very curious about what goes on in the Empire and whether the Master’s plans will come to fruition… I’m still really curious as to what exactly those plans are.

But I’m most curious about what’s going to happen with Ileni and with Sorin, especially after what happened with….

Favorite passage…

There are a few passages that I would love to share, passages that make me sigh or grin or both every time I read them. But any one of them would be super spoiler-y if I did. And so I chose this one…

She had never needed to be cajoling or coy with Tellis. This thing with Sorin was something entirely different. It made her feel like she was walking on a knife’s edge, like her breath was permanently stuck in her throat.

Tellis had made her feel safe. Sorin made her feel like being inches away from death was worth it.

Note: This review is based on an eARC received from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest thoughts about the book.

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