By: Celine | February 26, 2014 | (17) Comments

Review: Death Sworn by Leah CypessDeath Sworn by Leah Cypess
Series: Death Sworn #1
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Release Date: March 4, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, YA
Source: Received in exchange for review
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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.

Death Sworn was such a refreshing read! If you are tired of all the clichés, Death Sworn is definitely for you. This right here was a novel without instant love, unnecessary angst, or whiny characters. This right here was a novel with an actual plot, characters that actually use their brains, and a MC who is not a special snowflake.

The heroine of the story, Ileni, is nothing like your typical YA protagonist. For starters, in this story she grows out of her powers instead of into them. Once, she was very powerful, but her magic is fading and it’s fading quickly. She has every right to be mopey about it, but Ileni is not the kind to sulk around. Instead, she takes what she gets and learns to live with (or rather without) it. She is not magically good at everything, nor does she go through this story unharmed. After all, she lives in a cave full of trained killers.

Quite predictably, there is a romance involving Ileni and Sorin, one of the killers. But once again, this isn’t your typical romance. It’s nice and slow (no traces of instant love to be found) and honestly, not THAT much happens on this front. The way Cypess handled it was really refreshing! Sorin is a trained assassin, and he always will be. He stays true to his character throughout the book, and he isn’t going to suddenly change into this person who’s all soft and constantly proclaiming his love or anything. No sir! Sorin never even acts jealous when Ileni mentions other guys. I loved that aspect, because honestly, every YA love interest seems to go all stiff and angry whenever “their” girl talks to another man.

The best selling point for Death Sworn is defenitely its refreshingness (which is totally a word). It’s a really quick read (I read it in one afternoon) and it feels like a breath of fresh air after so many mediocre books that all seem to follow the current YA trends. That is not to say this book is ALL amazing though, even though I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a ‘fresh’ read.

Death Sworn’s world building isn’t too great, I have to say. Now, I am personally not someone who cares a lot about world building, as long as I can understand what’s going on. I could definitely understand what was going on, but I know there are some people out there who care a lot about world building, so I thought I’d mention it. Basically, all you need to know is that most world building happens in a speech the MC gives at some point.

The other thing I liked less about Death Sworn: it isn’t a very memorable read. I’m typing this review right after I closed the book, and I can already feel the story slipping away. Although I’m not the kind of person who remembers every single thing about every single book I’ve ever read, my memory isn’t bad and I can usually get into sequels without needing to reread the first book in the series again. With Death Sworn, though, I know I’ll need to do a reread or read a recap when its sequel is upon us. Fact: I had to check whether I’d actually gotten the protagonist’s name right in this review. (Although that could also be because the name Ileni reminds me of someone who is called something else entirely – don’t ask me why, I have no idea – and I got confused which one the book used.)

In the endthough, I really liked this book! Refreshing and orginal, Death Sworn combines great characters and romance into a compelling story that dispatches all clichés often found in YA literature.

~Thank you Greenwillow Books for sending me a copy!~

3.5 Stars
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Celine is 17 years old and from the Netherlands. Quite obviously, she loves books! She has been a reader for as long as she can remember, and she believes she will be a reader forever. Celine is also obsessed with food, and loves singing along to music as loud as possible, dancing and doodling on nearly everything.

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17 Responses to Review: Death Sworn by Leah Cypess

  1. Great review Celine, I like the premise of this book about the MC growing out of her powers, instead of into. That would definitely mix things up a bit! I love everything to do with Assassin’s, especially since Throne of Glass so I’ll put this on my tBR 🙂
    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence recently posted…ARC Review: Panic by Lauren Oliver Review – Concerned parents need not applyMy Profile

    • Celine says:

      I hope you’ll like it! Don’t get too worked up about the assassins, though; this isn’t very much like ToG and there’s not much assassinating 🙂

  2. I liked this book too. I did think it was more of a step-up for the next book, but I look forward to see more of Ileni & the world 🙂
    Mel@thedailyprophecy recently posted…Review 236. Cayla Kluver – The Queen’s choice.My Profile

  3. Aimee says:

    I can already tell that I’ll love the heroine, the romance and everything else! I feel that quite a lot of novels aren’t as memorable as they could be, though. 🙁 I’m still pretty excited about this, though. I’m in need of a refreshing read. Great review, Celine! 😀
    Aimee recently posted…“Waiting On” Wednesday: The Girl from the WellMy Profile

  4. Great review, Celine! I’m still on the fence regarding this one. My co-blogger reviewed this not too long ago and she was pretty disappointed overall, although I am highly intrigued of a character who grows out of her powers and not the other way around (and come on, how many times have we seen normal people being announced as the chosen ones? too many too count, I bet!)

    Great review, Celine. I’m happy you found a book good enough to recommend! 😀
    Faye @ The Social Potato recently posted…ARC Review: Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. JensenMy Profile

    • Celine says:

      I hope that if you do read it, you’ll like it! I can definitely imagine that your co-blogger was disappointed, though – this book seems to be either liked or disliked, but not hated or loved. It’s pretty bland in that aspect!

      Thank you 🙂

  5. I’ve seen very mixed reviews for this but I’m with you and really enjoyed it! I found it to be different and fast paced. Loved the MC 🙂 I will say it did feel like a set up for book 2 but I’m fine with that. And I really can’t wait to see what happens next.
    Kristen@My Friends Are Fiction recently posted…DNF Review- Elusion by Claudia Gabel & Cheryl KlamMy Profile

  6. I’ve seen VERY mixed feelings on this one, but I have to admit that it does sound pretty darn good. I like the idea of it! Great thoughts, Melanie! 🙂
    Melissa @ i swim for oceans recently posted…The Life After Blog Tour: Guest Post and GiveawayMy Profile

  7. Aww I’m glad that you liked this one! I’ve seen some relatively negative reviews for this one, so it’s really nice to see a positive review! I would probably be bothered by the world-building, but I’m definitely intrigued by the premise and how fresh this one sounds. Fantastic review, Celine! <33
    Eileen @ Singing and Reading in the Rain recently posted…Nil by Lynne MatsonMy Profile

  8. Alise says:

    I also gave this one three stars, I liked the pacing but the romance didn’t really do anything for me at all. Completely agree about this one being unique.
    Alise recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday [32]My Profile

  9. Okay, SOLD. Secret assassin and growing out of her powers instead of into it? Why did I not know this? I need to pay more attention! Thanks for the review, I definitely need to give this one a try.
    Wendy Darling recently posted…Royal Tea with Melissa de la Cruz + The Ring and the Crown giveawayMy Profile

    • Celine says:

      Haha! I must warn you, there isn’t a lot of assassinating going on. At all. Still, I found this one pretty enjoyable and fresh! I hope you’ll like it 🙂

  10. Henrietta says:

    I’m currently reading this and so far I liked it! It’s quite different to see a main character with fading power. 🙂

  11. Melliane says:

    oh it’s nice to have something different. I’m nit sure it’s for me though, Fantasy is always a little tricky for me. but maybe.
    Melliane recently posted…Dirty Magic by Jaye WellsMy Profile

  12. It’s so good when you find a new book that makes up for all the average books you’ve read! Thanks for making me aware of this one, this is the first I’ve heard of it 😉
    The Bookish Manicurist recently posted…Afterworld by Lynnette LounsburyMy Profile

  13. Melanie says:

    It’s a pity that the world building isn’t too strong here! I do like it, but I guess if it’s got a really unique and lovable MC, then I can forgive 😛

    Lovely review as always, Celine! <33

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