Series: Death Sworn Book One
Author: Leah Cypess
Publication Date: March 4, 2014
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.
A copy was provided through Edelweiss and the Publisher in exchange for an honest review
After months of having read this book and finally sitting down to review I still don't know what to write. I have so many conflicting thoughts about it. Notice how I say thoughts and not feelings. That, I believe is the main problem for me. I have no feelings for this, it wasn't either bad, but it wasn't good either. It just was.
So what can I say about Death Sworn? I was ecstatic when I first read the blurb. It's a cave full of assassins!! How could I not be excited?! I'm glad to say that at least that part was good enough. The kid assassins did behave like assassins. They had discipline, they were bad ass, and their views about death were spot on with how they were raised. The Master has brainwashed them. They are pawns in his chess board, willing sacrifices in this game he is playing that they aren't even remotely aware about. I mean they know there is a plan, and obviously a main goal, but not what it truly encompasses. You know how we love that saying that says, "so if someone told you to jump off a bridge, you would?" The Master illustrates it here beautifully.
While I loved the whole assassin bit, the rest of the book felt bland and at times underwhelming. The plot? Could have been done and over with during the first few chapters. She literally could have known who did it as soon as she was at the crime scene, but she took the long road cause that would have depleted the already meager magic she had and while I understand she wouldn't want to be completely defenseless, I also felt it was dragged out way too much.
There were a few twists, all of them foreseeable and not surprising, but that last one with the Master was underwhelming. After the care Cypess took to make such an elaborate and complicated character as the Master and have that whole shindig at the end happen? My only thought was, that's it? And don't even get me started on the world building, there was none. All you are told is, there is magic, there is an Empire that needs to be put down with it's requisite renegade group and the assassin's cave. Which is all pretty standard fare in any fantasy book. I can't even remember the name of the empire of the renegade group. It was mentioned so little.
Lastly we have the romance and the characters. I felt nothing for Ileni. I was just reading through the motions. I just wasn't connected to what she did, felt, or thought, therefore the romance was bland as well. While I appreciate that there was no love triangle, the romance also wasn't anything to write home about. It just was, like everything else in this book. It was just there. Maybe the problem was me, maybe other readers will have a much better time with it than me, but it just wasn't doing it for me.
Would I Recommend it?
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