Review: Death Sworn by Leah Cypess

March 23, 2014 5 stars, Book Review, Young Adult 21 ★★★★★

Review: Death Sworn by Leah CypessDeath Sworn by Leah Cypess
Series: Death Sworn #1
Published by Greenwillow on 3/4/14
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
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    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.


Fantasy fans prepare to have your hunger sated. Death Sworn managed to hit all the high notes for me without nary a fumble!

Magic and Sorcerers and Assassins, Oh my!
In this world people are born with magic, almost as if it’s a byproduct created within themselves, filling them up and just begging to be used. But in most this is something that’s not permanent and completely disappears once they are past puberty. Those individuals that pass tests determining their magic to be permanent are taken from their families and placed into an isolated school environment to prepare them for life as sorcerers. Indeed it seems society in this world is split into varying different classes. The two focused on in Death Sworn are the assassins and sorcerers. Though they all live in the same country, ruled by the same tyrannical Empire, they couldn’t be a more different sect of people. One favoring non violence and the other, well obviously are deathly violent.

A fantasy world I can’t get enough of!
From the opening pages I was completely immersed in this world. Gobbling up each new tidbit about the different classes, the supposed evil empire, and the magic as well as the assassin’s culture, I finished this little gem in one sitting. While plenty was revealed to get me hooked you have to keep in mind the entire book pretty much takes place in underground caves where the assassins live and train. Due to this we readers don’t see much of the world other than what is described by the characters. The heroine, Ileni, is sent there to be a magic tutor for the assassins and this sets up the perfect opportunity for readers to learn things both through her students and from the things Ileni herself discovers about the assassins.  Above all the driving plot points were Ileni’s failing magic and discovering who it was that murdered the two previous tutors she had been sent to replace.

Tension to walk a tightrope on!
When you are in a situation where you can trust no one, and at any moment there might be an attempt on your life, you can bet your sweet cheeks you’d be as paranoid as our young heroine Ileni. Essentially cast out from the only life she has known, because it was discovered her magic was failing and would leave her forever she has become expendable. What better use to put her to then to send her to teach assassins in magic that her people really don’t want them to know a thorough use of anyway? She at times despairs over the loss of her magic but never lets that completely rule her. She has a mission to complete whether she is expected to actually accomplish it or not she is determined to do all that she can, even if it costs her life. She was definitely a heroine I could totally get behind. Indeed I loved her characters. She was a stubborn, strong willed survivor.

You look deadly enough to eat!
Of course women love dangerous men, and Sorin is nothing if not that. I dare say I think danger must be synonymous with sexual charisma. Now that isn’t what you’ll get with Sorin. Am I disappointing you? He isn’t all charisma, quite the opposite in fact. He’s cold, he’s aloof, yet frequently close at all times, and embodies such graceful violence yet would as soon slit your throat rather than kiss you. Doesn’t that just make him all the more yummy sounding? To a teenage girl I’m sure that would. So you’re thinking now, ‘oh another bad boy’ right? Wrong – for his people he is good, one of the best students they have. Obedient and loyal to his Master to a fault. But to Ileni, he is a wicked incarnation of all the things her people consider abhor. An exquisite recipe for tormented and forbidden love if I do say so myself.

With Magic, Mystery, oodles of death and violence, not to mention a healthy dose of tormented romance, Death Sworn has me counting the months until I can get my eyes on the next book!

Death Sworn (Death Sworn #1)

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*gasp* This book was provided by the publisher! No worries though it’s an honest review and all opinions expressed are my own. This post might also contain affiliate links. To view my full Blog Policy, click here.

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Tabitha (Pabkins)

When I'm in the zone I can flip book pages faster than the eye can see - screaming "More Input!" I'm a book, yarn, & art supply hoarding goblin who loves to draw, make toys and craft all sorts of creepy cute things. My current habit is to listen to audio books while I'm arting it up!
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21 Responses to “Review: Death Sworn by Leah Cypess”

  1. Anatea @ Anatea's Bookshelf

    Lately, I have been reading a lot of fantasy books. This one sounds just like something I’d read now. The romance sounds pretty great, and the whole world with assassins and sorcerers sounds pretty interesting. Great review!
    Anatea @ Anatea’s Bookshelf recently posted…MAJOR CHANGES COMING!My Profile

    • Tabitha the Pabkins

      Oh my goodness it really was! I loved the whole assassin society and how the world building was done and I just know that the way it was done was so that we can dive even deeper into the rest of the world’s story in the next book. I hope you do give it a read!

  2. Jen- At Random

    For the most part I stick to the outskirts of the fantasy genre but this one is making the middle sound like the place to be! Another book for my tbr…or my birthday wishlist *rubs hands together*. Oh hubbyyyyyy…
    Jen- At Random recently posted…5 Bad Bookish HabitsMy Profile

    • Tabitha the Pabkins

      You stick to the outskirts of the fantasy genre? Ok you totally have to explain what you mean by that as in which titles or publishers do you consider the outskirts? Haha I’d be curious to see if you like this one as much as I. I know that we share very similar darker tastes but Im very clueless as to how our young adult and fantasy tastes coincide!

    • Tabitha the Pabkins

      Thanks Tammy! I love it when I like a book so much the review is easy to write! Oh good hopefully that means I will like Stolen Songbird! I will try to get to that one next after I finish Be My Enemy….oh and Honor’s Night because I just finished Fortune’s Pawn a few minutes ago. Amazing!

  3. Anya

    1. I really love this review style you’ve been using 😀
    2. Yey!!! So glad that you liked this one as much as I did and I agree, dying for the sequel after that ending!!!
    Anya recently posted…Updates from the Lair 3/23/14My Profile

    • Tabitha the Pabkins

      You like it!? Me too! It can be fun trying to come up with a fun one liner to start the paragraph with. Sometimes tho i prefer to use your strength and weakness bulleted list. I figure I just gotta get it out one way or another.

      The ending! After my review i read some people say they thought it was a cliffhanger…it totally wasn’t a cliffhanger to me.

    • Tabitha the Pabkins

      That is actually a really cool description of it! I would hope you’d like this one. The romance is pretty prevalent but done very well in my opinion.