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Death Sworn (Death Sworn series Book 1) by [Cypess, Leah]
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Death Sworn (Death Sworn series Book 1) Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 63 customer reviews

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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: 889 KB
  • Print Length: 357 pages
  • Publisher: Greenwillow Books; Reprint edition (March 4, 2014)
  • Publication Date: March 4, 2014
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00DB36462
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #336,806 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
Why I chose this book:
Death Sworn has been in my TBR pile for a long time, so when I saw Death Marked was available as a automatic download on Edelweiss, I knew I needed to read both of them asap.

My Bookish Likes:
I devoured most of this book within 48 hours. That should tell you something all on its own. I’m a sucker for anything that is fantasy that has to do with assassins and magic. I mean sign me up for all the books that are like that, and I promise that I will be rarely disappointed. And this book was no exception. I really liked the setting and the danger of it all. It fascinated me and drew me into the world of lies, dogma, and death.

My Bookish Mehs:
Part of me wishes this book was just a tad longer. 50-60 more pages would have done it for me. I would have liked more interaction with the Master, because I found him to be such an interesting character, and I would have liked a few more scenes with Sorin that wouldn’t have faded to black so prematurely. I mean, nothing explicit, but I would have liked more of a tie to Sorin, because I really enjoyed his character.

My Bookish Loves:
She knows how to write action scenes! Leah Cypess is a fantastic writer. With living in a mountain full of assassins, there’s a lot of description of movement, and Cypess did a fantastic job of making that real to the reader. I felt like I was watching everything on the big screen.

And those twists! Ah the twists! I thought I had everything figured out, but then this huge twist happens, and I figured out that I knew nothing! Ah, brava, Leah, brava!

Final Thoughts:
This book is definitely a worthy read that will keep you guessing and eager for the next installment. Don’t pass this one up in the bookstore.

I gave this book 4.5 stars on my Goodreads.

Check out more of my reviews at ofspectaclesandbooks.com
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Format: Hardcover
***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.
Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Bought this book on an impulse buy. The story concept was interesting. A young sorceress losing her magical abilities is sent to teach magic to a mountain full of assassins. The fact that the two previous assassins were killed was a fact that the main character knew quite well.

The world that was created was interesting if a bit limited in this book. There is an empire, a group of outcast magicians, and a hidden group of assassins. The assassins and magicians are both attempting to overthrow the empire. The two groups aren't really allies, but work together due to an agreement. One part of this agreement is that the magicians send a teacher to teach those assassins who are able to practice magic.
Unfortunately, the entire pretty much takes place in the assassin mountain, so the world isn't really seen in this book.

The heroine was pretty confident and good at bluffing. Though how a young sorceress can bluff a trained assassin was a leap for me at first. She was noted to be very powerful in the past and therefore probably had practice being insufferably arrogant. For fanatical assassins, they did seem a bit choosy when it came to being fearless of death.

Still, for its limitations, the book was a page turner.
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