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Death Sworn [Kindle Edition]

Leah Cypess
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $17.99
Kindle Price: $8.89
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Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers

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Book Description

When a young sorceress is exiled to teach magic to a clan of assassins, she will find that secrets can be even deadlier than swords. Teen Vogue proclaimed, "It's impossible not to fall deep into the dark yet alluring world of sorcery and secret assassins." A dangerous and eerie fantasy about murder, shocking discoveries, and fiery star-crossed romance that readers of Cinda Williams Chima and Robin LaFevers won't be able to put down.

Ileni is losing her magic. And that means she's losing everything: her position as the rising star of her people, her purpose in life, and even the young man she loves. Sent to the assassins' cave hidden deep within the mountains, she expects no one will ever hear from her again. The last two sorcerers sent died within weeks of each other. Accidents? Or something more sinister? As Ileni navigates the dangers—both natural and human—of the caves, she'll discover secrets that have been kept for decades. And she'll find an ally in Sorin, the deadly young man who could be the assassins' next leader. With Sorin determined to protect her, sparks—magical and romantic—will fly. But will even he understand the choice she must make in the end?

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up—Ileni was once a powerful sorceress, poised to be a leader among her people in their war against the Empire that exiled them long ago. But her magic is slowly and inexplicably fading, and she has been sentenced to spend the rest of her life as a teacher to assassins in a distant cave fortress. The teen also hopes to discover who killed the previous tutors sent by her people. The mission becomes further complicated by Ileni's growing feelings for Sorin, the assassin charged with protecting her. As Ileni delves deeper into the caves and the murders, she discovers more than she bargained for about herself and her people's relationship with the assassins and their mysterious leader. This book has a strong beginning that quickly fails to deliver, due in part to poor world-building. While Cypess gives a strong impression of a deep history of Ileni's people and the Empire itself, she doesn't delve into that history enough, which causes the story to lack a sense of true power. The romance is sluggish, despite a promising start, and Ileni herself, while steely and strong, has a tendency toward overt self-pity and whining. The novel's twists and turns set inside claustrophobic caves often lead to dead ends and will frustrate readers. Fans of Sarah J. Maas and Kristin Cashore may be drawn to this title but may not get deeply engaged.—Necia Blundy, formerly at Marlborough Public Library, MA

From Booklist

In a striking start to a new series full of magic and murder, Cypess (Nightspell, 2011) has created a heroine at the intersection of Tamora Pierce’s Alanna and George R. R. Martin’s Arya Stark. Ileni, a sorceress, is sent by her village elders to a rival land to tutor a group of young, brash aspiring assassins in the ways of magic, but she’s been separated from everything she loves, and soon she is wishing for her assignment to end . . . at whatever cost. Her predecessors were quickly dispatched by a mysterious foe, and she has been told she’s just as expendable. With her powers fading, she’s starting to believe it. But she’s not alone in her ever-more-hostile circumstances: Sorin, a young assassin assigned to protect Ileni, is good at training, magic, and doing what he’s told without question, and they work together to keep each other safe and solve the murders of Ileni’s predecessors. Fans who loved Kristin Cashore’s Graceling (2008) and its brave heroine will be sated by Cypess’ genre-crossing tale of intrigue. Grades 9-12. --Stacey Comfort

Product Details

  • File Size: 847 KB
  • Print Length: 357 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0062221213
  • Publisher: Greenwillow Books (March 4, 2014)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00DB36462
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #166,561 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Review for Death Sworn by Leah Cypess March 4, 2014
By Alyssa
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

Death Sworn by Leah Cypess
Book One of the Death Sworn series
Publisher: Greenwillow
Publication Date: March 4, 2014
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Copy sent by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads):

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.

What I Liked:

I've had this book since AUGUST, you all, August 2013. I remember because the ARC came in the mail the day before I moved out of my house and into Johns Hopkins, as a freshman. I was so grateful, because it was the first Harper I received (thank you, Leah!). It's gorgeous, it's fantasy, and I knew I had to have it.

I really enjoyed this book! It's a beautiful start to a new series, and I will be reading the next book(s) in the series. I had not read Leah's other books, but this is a new series. Ileni is a sorceress with dying magic. She is sent (forced to go) to a cave, to train young male assassins. No one knows that her magic is dying.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars loved it March 24, 2014
Death Sworn is three books in one. First it is a murder mystery – an old fashioned whodunit of the best type where when the heroine figures out who committed the murder, you wonder why you didn’t think of it first. Second it is an exploration of moral issues such as when and if the end justifies the means and whether being overly moral can sometimes be immoral. No answers are offered but if you are the type who likes to ponder you will appreciate this aspect of the book. And third it is the story of a young woman who loses an ability around which her life had centered, which was an essential part of her self-identity, and which had given her life purpose. One of the other reviewers complained about the suddenness of the heroine, Illeni , making out with Sorin, the lead male. There was insufficient development of the relationship to justify that scene. But that was the whole point. Ileni felt that her life no longer had meaning or purpose. She was not acting as a result of an emotional commitment; it was not a natural progression in a growing relationship. It was more in the nature of "what the hell - eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die.” As the book progresses we watch her move on and lose her feelings of purposelessness. Each of these three aspects is very well done. With all three in one book, I give it five stars plus.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Death Sworn is a solidly written fantasy featuring a young protagonist who is sensible and mature and a plot with with several twists and turns. Although this is a story with magic at its heart, it isn't about magical battles; rather, we have a mystery to solve as we follow the protagonist as she navigates the world into which she's been thrown.

Plot: Ileni is a sorcerer whose magic has begun to wane and will soon disappear. As such, her people consider her dispensable and send her to an assassin's stronghold as part of a pact between the two powers. She will train the assassins in magic but also try to find out what happened to her two predecessors - both of whom died mysteriously and suddenly. But as she soon discovers, the very same fate awaits her as well - unless she can stay alive long enough to gather the clues and solve the mystery.

Those looking for a lot of action probably will not enjoy this book as those who enjoy a slow burn mystery. Ileni is a strong character who has to hold her own against the politics and physicality of living with the young assassins. But she also has the burden of hiding her rapidly waning magic - knowing that when it goes, she will be swiftly killed to bring in a new sorcerer.

Her guardian, Sorin, is a conflicted and complicated character. Although somewhat a love interest, the romance is downplayed in favor of character development and Ileni desperately trying to figure out who she can and cannot trust. For there is much more at stake than just her life - countries will fall unless she can uncover the truth in the assassins caves. Sorin may be more of a hindrance than a help with his dogmatic adherence to the Assassin's Master's wishes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
Actual Rating: 2.5 stars

Death Sworn, I could have sworn that the 5 star rating is almost within your grasp. You could have rendered me on my knees. You could have made me suffer a terrible hangover. But sadly, you let your laziness get the best of you. Let me enumerate the things that I liked and disliked about you, alright?

The things that made my inner bibliophile happy:

1. The Characters- Ileni is a kick-ass heroine despite the fact that her magical powers are almost drained. Her realism and cockiness really made me a happy reader. Not to mention that she definitely know what her purpose in life is and she’s not afraid to achieve it even if it threatens her life. I think that she’s one of the few heroines who see death with realistic acceptance. She doesn’t mope about it… she just looks at it like it’s rain…an uncontrollable phenomenon that would occur any day.

Her love interest, Sorin, is also one interesting fellow. He’s a cold-bloodied assassin and he is a firm believer that every death serves a greater purpose. His first meeting with Ileni was quite antagonistic since they have differing beliefs when it comes to killing people. But over time, he warmed up to her. This event led me to another discovery of the other side of his personality. Sorin is somewhat naïve when it comes to girls and romance. And his reactions were really funny and at the same time, frustrating.

Even the other characters including the villains deserve commendation.

2. The Romance- Sweet and wasn’t interfering to the overall story. It was really interesting to see a romance unfolding between an arrogant sorcerer and a passionate murderer.

3. The Interactions and Dialogues- Highly amusing for the most part but chilling at certain times.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Ileni is just what a good fantasy novel needs
A true fantasy story that was well paced and intriguing. Death Sworn has strong characters and an story that keeps the reader wondering right to the end. Read more
Published 7 days ago by Geekgirl1969
5.0 out of 5 stars Fresh and original!
A surpisingly new, fresh story where assasins and magic blend. The plot was original and many times i wondered where the next crucial point will be. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Alexandra
4.0 out of 5 stars incredible debut fantasy
"The first step should have been the hardest. The cave entrance angled so sharply that one step was all it took: plunging her from light to darkness, from the fresh scent of... Read more
Published 2 months ago by CurlUpWGoodBook
3.0 out of 5 stars 2.5 stars for a book that's pretty much unremarkable
This review has been sitting there in my draft pile for a very long time. I have a hard time writing reviews for books that I find unremarkable for no good reason,and this is one... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Krazzyme
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Blend of Romance, Action and Mystery
*Review posted on Page Turners on 9/29/2014*

A teacher who is losing her powers is sent to teach assassins magic. Can it possibly get more awesome? Read more
Published 3 months ago by Sophie Riggsby
1.0 out of 5 stars Death Sworn (Death Sworn #1)

I wanted to love you. I really did. You have some of my favorite things, including assassins and mages. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Leeanna Chetsko
5.0 out of 5 stars LOVE IT
I love it, the suspend and romance. I can't wait for the second book, l am sure it would be just as great as the first.
Published 6 months ago by Tomme Garvin
3.0 out of 5 stars A Kernel of Nonsense Reviews
Review originally posted on A Kernel of Nonsense blog.
Brought up as part of the Renegai, a splinter group of sorcerers working against the Empire, and educated in the art of... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Alicia @ A Kernel of Nonsense
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fantasy Dystopian Combo
Disclaimer: This book is a dystopian vaguely veiled in the pretty prom dress that is fantasy. Now don't get me wrong, I really liked this book. Read more
Published 6 months ago by k. fatiga
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent.
Ileni had everything, a life most envy, but now its taken a turn for the worst. She is losing her magic a little every time she uses it and she also lost the man she loved. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Natalie @ Book Lovers Life
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More About the Author

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

After selling her first story while in high school, she gave in to her mother's importuning to be practical and majored in biology at Brooklyn College. She then went to Columbia Law School and practiced law for almost two years. She kept writing and submitting in her spare time, and finally, a mere 15 years after her first short story acceptance, she sold her first novel.

Leah currently lives in Brookline, Massachusetts with her husband and children.

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