DEATH SWORN Blog Tour: My Top Five Favorite Passages + Giveaway


I am super excited to be a part of the DEATH SWORN Blog Tour and to be able to share a few of my favorite passages from Leah Cypess’ amazing book about magic, sorcerers and assassins. I had the chance to read DEATH SWORN just a little bit early and couldn’t help but fall in love with it – the beautiful writing, the story, its characters.

When I heard that this tour would allow us to choose our post type I was totally stoked. I thought about sharing a review, but as I tend to be too long-winded, I thought I’d choose one of my favorite types of posts to read – Top Ten Favorites – instead. Of course, as most of my favorite passages were incredibly spoiler-y and posting ten passages and the reasons why they were favorites would make this post crazy long, I decided to share just five.

And even still I had to do a little redacting to avoid revealing too much.

If you’d like to check out just what five passages were among my favorites and why, they’re listed just a little bit further below. First I wanted to share the details about DEATH SWORN and its author, Leah Cypess, as well as places they can be found online. And if you’d like to see just what I thought about this awesome book, my review is here.

This tour comes with a seriously amazing giveaway. So if you’d like to enter for a chance to win, just follow the directions in the Rafflecopter. And if you’d like to find out just what other types of posts each of the bloggers will be hosting on this tour, the schedule with direct links to each of the stops is at the bottom of the post.


About Death Sworn

Death Sworn


Series: Death Sworn #1
Publication date: March 4, 2014
Pages: 352
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Formats: Hardcover, audio, eBook

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.



About Leah Cypess


I wrote my first story in first grade. The narrator was an ice-cream cone in the process of being eaten. In fourth grade, I wrote my first book, about a girl who gets shipwrecked on a desert island with her faithful and heroic dog (a rip-off of both The Black Stallion and all the Lassie movies, very impressive).

After selling my first story (Temple of Stone) while in high school, I gave in to my mother’s importuning to be practical and majored in biology at  Brooklyn College. I then went to Columbia Law School and practiced law for almost two years at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, a large law firm in New York City. I kept writing and submitting in my spare time, and finally, a mere 15 years after my first short story acceptance, I sold my first novel to Greenwillow Books (HarperCollins).

I live in Brookline, Massachusetts (right outside of Boston) with my husband Aaron, a researcher and doctor at the Joslin Diabetes Center, and our three children.



My Top Five Favorite Passages

Most all of my favorite passages involve both Ileni and Sorin. Quite a few of them are just too spoiler-y to include. If you’ve read DEATH SWORN then I think you know just which passages I’m referring to. Especially those ones toward the end.

And so as not to make this post only about these two characters, I thought I’d try to include at least one favorite passage that wasn’t about them at all.


The first passage I chose as a favorite is one that shows just how gorgeous a writer Leah Cypess is and how she can paint such a vivid picture of a scene with her words.

The walls of the vast cavern were raw and jagged, and the high ceiling dripped with stalactites. The glowstones illuminated dozens of young men stripped to the waist and gleaming with sweat, attacking and defending each other with swift, deadly movements. No one ever made contact, so despite the jabs and kicks clearly meant to cause harm, the bouts resembled dances more than fights. It was terrible, graceful, and oddly beautiful.



This next passage I call a favorite is one that is actually much longer than what I’m revealing here. It starts somewhere around the time that Sorin rolls his eyes and ends with Ileni feeling reckless and giddy.

But the reason it’s a favorite is because it shows both characters being a little more unguarded than usual in addition to showing how fantastic a writer the author is.

Sorin held her close and refrained from the complex acrobatics the other assassins were showing off with. They whirled around the cave floor to the tune of the music, Sorin looking down at her with his lips pressed together but curved upward at the corners. The music worked its way into Ileni’s blood, and she moved to its beat without thinking, the fabric of her skirt brushing rhythmically against her legs. Exhilaration rushed through her, fueled by the music and the movement and the press of Sorin’s hands against her lower back. Every time he pulled her close, it felt like another draught of wine, making her reckless and giddy.



This passage is a favorite for a few reasons – beautiful, breathtaking writing, a touch of humor, and it includes just the right amount of twisty-turny angst.

And while it too is a bit longer than what I’m sharing here, beginning the moment Sorin’s voice broke, what I enjoy most about this moment is that Ileni is trying to charm Sorin. And as you’ll see, it’s not a skill she possesses.

“Please, Sorin. I can’t do it without your help.”

“Good,” he said flatly.

She brushed his fingers with hers, watching his cheeks turn faintly red. “I’m going to try anyhow. If you help, you can keep me safe.”

“Don’t.” He jerked his fingers away and stepped back. “You’re not very good at this.”

Ileni felt blood rush to her own face, and she turned around so he wouldn’t see. He was right, she wasn’t. She wished that she had more practice in working her wiles. Or even that she knew exactly what those were. 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.



I chose this particular passage as a favorite because it’s one in which Ileni can’t hide her emotions. Neither can Sorin. Yet both try to fight it. And, yes, this is just a fraction of a much longer moment.

Her eyes burned, and she had to hold them wide open to keep tears from spilling over. What was wrong with her? He wasn’t important. He wasn’t the reason she was here or the reason she had stayed.

“Afraid of danger, are you?” she said, with every bit of scorn she possessed.

“No. I don’t care if I die.” He said it through gritted teeth. “I care if you die.”

His eyes were black fire. Ileni drew in a breath.



I love this moment between Ileni and Sorin. Love, love, love it. It is all sorts of romantic and gorgeous and swoon-y. And while it’s just a tiny bit spoiler-y, I think I picked this up late enough in the scene and cut it off early enough to avoid revealing too much.

But if you don’t want to take the gamble, stop reading now.

“Did you really think I would run?” she said.

She could hear his indrawn breath. “I hoped you would.”

Ileni stood frozen, not sure what to think. All this time believing she was nothing but a duty to Sorin . . . all this time, telling herself she didn’t care. When she cared so much she could barely breathe.

“I shouldn’t care.” He said it like he was angry. “I try not to care. But then you go and do something so stupid, put yourself in such danger, and if you died . . .” He ran out of breath then, and stared at her across the room.

Ileni’s voice came out in a whisper. “It’s all right for you to care.”


Okay, so there may be one other passage I seriously love. It’s a passage that is actually my most favorite of them all. But as it is from a scene that takes place right at the end of the story I just can’t share it here.

Of course if you have a copy of the book and want to read all about it, it starts with…

“Sorin.” Her chest was so tight she could barely breathe. “No.”

And it ends with…

His eyes were like dark fire now, and she willed herself to be afraid–it would make this easier–but she couldn’t, despite his rage, despite what she had seen him do, believe he would hurt her. Even when he pushed himself off the rock and strode toward her.

Even with just a hint of what’s going on in that moment, I’m sure you can see why I love it. But there was just no way I could share it in its entirety.


These are just a few of my favorite passages from DEATH SWORN. I have quite a few others judging by the number of notes and marks on my Kindle copy. I’m very curious to see if they’re favorites of yours. I’m also curious to see just what other moments from the story are ones you love.


The Giveaway

1 GRAND PRIZE PACK with signed copies of all 3 of Leah’s Books – MISTWOOD, NIGHTSPELL and DEATH SWORN – plus signed SWAG for all 3 books. US ONLY.

Enter in the Rafflecopter below…

a Rafflecopter giveaway


The Tour Schedule

Week One

Feb. 24th – Two Chicks on Books – Two Chicks on Books’ Favorite Scene + Song Match

Feb. 25th – Mundie Moms – Mundie Moms’ Two Favorite Scenes

Feb. 26th – Bookish – Original Content

Feb. 27th – Fiktshun – Fiktshun’s Top Five Favorite Passages & Why

Feb. 28th – Magical Urban Fantasy Reads – Teaser

Week Two

Mar. 3rd – Supernatural Snark – Supernatural Snark vs. Ileni

Mar. 4th – Page Turners – Page Turners’ Pinned Images with Quotes

Mar. 5th – Tales of a Ravenous Reader – The Riff Off: A Night of “Killer” Magic

Mar. 6th – The YA Sisterhood – Review

Mar. 7th – A Backwards Story – A Backwards Story’s Top 10 Assassin Novels


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