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
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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?