Review: Death Sworn – Leah Cypress



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


If there’s any trends for me in 2014 it’s that I’ve definitely lost a lot of love for genre YA – although I’m still reading roughly equal amounts of young adult to adult (albeit less so recently) when I look at my tentative list of best books of 2014, only a quarter of the titles there can be considered YA. So what’s with the disconnect?

Death Sworn is a great representation why attitude has shifted so much in this past year: there’s a glimmer of a great idea here, but it’s buried beneath slow (and weak) character development and it tries to push a romance upon us, even though there’s practically no chemistry between the intended couple. In other words: squandered potential.

The biggest weakness of the book is Ileni herself. On the one hand, she keeps walking around going “I can’t use my magic, lest I run out” and then two seconds later casting a spell that drains her even more. When she isn’t doing that, she’s complaining about how wrong it is for assassins to kill..never mind she’s in a camp full of them complaining to one of them. By the end of the book she does start to show some potential, but it’s a shame she spent so long in this state. Towards the end a plot of unraveled that is actually rather intriguing, especially the use of the kids in the plot. It’s the only reason to finish the duology.

Yep. Duology. Not a trilogy. Not an open ended series. Nice change! Anyway, there is a second and final book due out next March, and I do have an ARC of it – you’ll see a review of it much closer to publication.  Overall though, this book was eh. It was par for the YA course. Take that for what you will.

Verdict: Borrow it

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