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Author: Leah Cypess

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Review: Death Sworn by Leah Cypess

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Review, Young Adult1 Comment

Review: Death Sworn by Leah CypessDeath Sworn by Leah Cypess
Series: Death Sworn,
on 04 March 2014
Genres: Action & Adventure, Assassins, Emotions & Feelings, Espionage, Fantasy, Love & Romance, Mystery & Detective, Politics & Intrigue, Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Young Adult
Pages: 352
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible
Also by this author: Nightspell

Place(s) Traveled To: Assassin’s Cave, Unnamed World

First Line(s): The first step should have been the hardest.

Death Sworn by Leah Cypess is her newest fantasy adventure that is filled with intrigue, assassins and magic. Did I mention assassins? Because they are the lure that sucked me into this book. That and well the magic and the fact that it was written by Leah Cypess and of course the assassins. There really need to be more books about assassins, though it should be noted that A Backwards Story has made this lovely list of assassin books…for those that might be into that sort of thing. In Death Sworn we don’t really go out and be all assassiny with the assassins but we do get to see where some of them train. And what can be spookier for our heroine, Ileni, than to be trapped in a cave complex where even the smallest boy probably knows a good 1/2 dozen ways to kill her before she can blink?

Assassin’s should be the last of Ileni’s problems as she was raised thinking she’d be among the most powerful Renegai sorcerers only something is wrong and she’s losing her magical abilities. This means that she’s losing her place in the Renegai social structure so when yet another teacher has died training the assassin’s the council sends in Ileni. Ileni is disposable after so she can teach the assassins some magical spells and investigate the deaths of those who came before her. If she lives long enough that is. As you read Death Sworn, you really feel for Ileni as she struggles to find her place in this new and alien world as well as dealing with self doubt over her changing identity. You also grow to love some of the assassins and despise some of the others. There is a potential love interest and lots and lots of intrigue.

I do love a good intrigue story.

The mystery isn’t overly complex but there are enough twists and turns to keep a reader guessing. And the resolution isn’t one that you can guess from the first chapter so that is always a plus with me. But where this book really got me was the ending. Loved the twist and totally wasn’t expecting how it all played out. I really enjoyed the ending and love how it sets up events for the next book in this duology but doesn’t leave the reader with a terrible cliff hanger. The main story ARC of Death Sworn is wrapped up but there are enough threads to tease the reader on what is to come.

Where Death Sworn loses me a little is with Ileni herself. She isn’t the strongest female character out there but then there are reasons for that. She was raised in a secluded society and taught to rely on magic for pretty much everything. When the magic is gone she is forced to re-evaluate the life she knew and deal with just how helpless she is. But Ileni isn’t a weak simpering miss. She is very intelligent and makes a great detective. She also realizes her weaknesses and so does work to make improvements. I think that as the series continues that Ileni will grow even further and become a stronger character.

I think that Death Sworn will appeal to all lovers of fantasy and assassins and a good mystery. Even if you aren’t a reader of fantasy I think that you will enjoy Death Sworn as the mystery aspect of it is a big part of the focus. As Ileni is losing her abilities she doesn’t do much in the way of actual magic as she must conserve what she has and so has to rely on her brains in order to get through each day. And who doesn’t like a book with a girl that uses her brain. And did I mention the assassins?



Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Review: Nightspell by Leah Cypess (Blog Tour)

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Blog Tour, Contest, Review, Young Adult11 Comments

Review: Nightspell by Leah Cypess (Blog Tour)Nightspell by Leah Cypess
Series: Mistwood, Book 2
Published by Greenwillow Books on 31 May 2011
Genres: Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Espionage, Family, Fantasy, Mystery & Detective, People & Places, Politics & Intrigue, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 326
Format: Hardcover
Source: Gift
Buy on Amazon
Also by this author: Death Sworn

Place(s) Traveled to: Ghostland

First Line: Darri didn’t see the ghost until he was upon her, a solid weight that dropped from the branches above and threw her sideways off the saddle.

The first moment I saw the cover of Nightspell by Leah Cypess I fell in love. Its totally gorgeous and romantic and just utterly breath taking. But as I’d become more friendly with Leah Cypess on twitter I was a bit wary of reading and reviewing her book. What if I didn’t like it? Would I be able to be my usual honest self and say what I really think of the book? So I waited and when Leah asked people to be part of a blog tour I found that I couldn’t say no. I also couldn’t go without reading the book. So its with a happy heart that I found that I really enjoyed this one.

I admit the beginning was a little slow for me. I was thrust into this fantasy world where I knew none of the history. I knew that Nightspell was a companion to Mistwood but as I have yet to read that I had nothing to compare it to. So the start was a bit slow as I learned to navigate the twists and turns of Ghostland. Much as one of the narrators, Darri, had to do as she approached this new kingdom that is to be her future home. And what a strange place Ghostland is. A world where the dead don’t always die and move on. No, instead if one is murdered than their ghost comes back so they can get revenge on the one who did them wrong. Failing that they tend to live on attempting to regain all that they had in life – including being more solid than you would think a ghost should be.

As this was a story with multiple points of view I was instantly in love. I adore seeing the action of things through multiple eyes. Though at times this head jumping seemed like it was a bit contrived, an easy out in order to move the plot forward. But its ok, I was able to overlook that as I found the further I read the more engrossed in the story I became. I loved the political intrigue and the mystery. I loved all the little twists and turns that Leah tosses into the mix (most I figured out before, a few not so much.) I also found it so very refreshing to have a story where there was no real romantic storyline.

Don’t get me wrong. I love a good romance. But there are times when I like to see a story stand for the story alone and not have all these grand plot points made a little less because the story hinges on if the boy and girl will make googly eyes at each other in the end. Romantic plot points can be an easy plot device to play and I am glad to see that Leah Cypess chose not to play that hand. Though I am sure that wasn’t an easy task either as there was potential for one throughout the story.

As for political intrigue, Game of Thrones this book was not (but really not many books are) but that isn’t a slight against Nightspell. I feel that those who may not be ready for the full heaviness that can be an epic tale like GoT could really like Nightspell…its kind of GoT Lite. And if you recall I loved beyond loved GoT so that is high praise indeed from me.

There is much to love about Nightspell but as I wasn’t completely surprised by the twists and there was a time or two when I rolled my eyes at some of the action going on. Its that and that alone that keep this from being a 5 star read. I do know that after reading this one I must move Mistwood up Mt TBR so that I can see how that story ties into this one.

Have you read Mistwood or Nightspell? Which did you like better? Or what are your thoughts on either book. Leave a comment below and fill out the form for a chance to win a signed hardcover copy of Nightspell. Thanks Leah for letting me be a part of this tour and for giving me the book to give away. Contest will close at midnight EST on 03 January and a winner chosen randomly. This contest is open internationally….and as will all my contests books will be sent out some time after the winner is announced….it all depends on when I can find time to visit the post office. Good luck to all who enter and thanks for visiting!


Have you visited the other stops on the tour? Leave comments at them all for a chance to win an annotated copy of Mistwood.

November 28: Guest post at Fiction State of Mind
November 29: Review at The Book Cellar
November 30:  Interview at Library Mosaic
December 1: Guest post at YA Bibliophile
December 2: Review at Scattered Pages
December 4: Guest post at Haunted Orchid
December 6: Interview at A Thousand Little Pages
December 7: Review at Ashley Suzanne
December 8: Review at Hobbitsies
December 9: Review at A Backwards Story
December 10: Nightspell Excerpt at Arianne Cruz
December 11: Review at Penguin Girl
December 12: Interview at WhatchYAReading
December 15: Review at Word Lust
December 16: Nightspell Excerpt at A Tale of Many Reviews
December 18: Guest Post at Bodacious Bookaholic
December 19: Deleted Scene from Mistwood at A Good Addiction