ARC Review: Death Sworn by Leah Cypess

March 14, 2014 Review 40 ★★★½

ARC Review: Death Sworn by Leah Cypess
Death Sworn by Leah Cypess
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: Greenwillow
Source: Publisher
Pages: 352
Release Date: March 4th, 2014
Series: Death Sworn #1
Genres: Action & Adventure, Fantasy & Magic, Young Adult
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.

I received this book for free from the source listed above in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


DEATH SWORN wasn’t exactly what I expected, but it was an enjoyable read. You can’t really go wrong with sorcerers and assassins, which is at the heart of DEATH SWORN.

The novel picks right up from page one and carries on with good pacing throughout most of the book. I flew through this one once I just sat down and started reading, the writing is easy to fall into and the story goes by fast enough that you will be halfway done with the book before you even realize it.


On the other hand, plot wise, not much was going on. A romance was being semi-developed and the main character was training assassins in the art of magic but there weren’t any huge happenings in the storyline until the very end.

Anyway, going back to the romance. It was predictable from the very beginning a relationship would develop between Ileni and one of the assassins, who I liked as a character but not a love interest. As for the development, it is one of the romances where  little things like looks and touching happen and then BAM-love confession.

The world building has such potential, I can’t wait to see more of it fleshed out in the next book. I would also like some more history about the Empire, why there are sorcerers and assassins, etc. Otherwise, I was fairly happy with the magic system and concept  in general.



Bottom line is that for all the fantasy books I’ve read this one won’t be that memorable, but it is a good book in a series that I will probably be following.

Rating Report
Overall: 3.3

40 Responses to “ARC Review: Death Sworn by Leah Cypess”

  1. tonyalee

    I have seen many reviews around for this one and it just isn’t something I could get into. Fantasy is THAT genre for me. Still, it sounds interesting. I’m glad you enjoyed it :)
    Great review lady

    • Alise

      I love almost all fantasy books so I can’t really recommend this one to you, either. :( Hope you find an awesome one to change your mind sometime :)

  2. Amanda

    This is the first review of this book that I’ve read that includes some of the less than perfect aspects of it. I still plan on reading it, but I really appreciate your review for letting me know what I’m going into, especially plot wise. Thank you.

  3. Kezia D

    I haven’t heard much about this book but you had me intrigued! :) The synopsis sounds interesting enough and I guess I can tolerate the romance. Besides, like you said, nothing can go seriously wrong with this kind of fantasy book.

    Lovely review, Alise! ;D

    • Alise

      The romance is definitely tolerable, not a deal breaker, but not the best. I hope you enjoy it if you read it :)

      Thanks :3

  4. Kirsty-Marie

    While I really did enjoy it overall, I got so frustrated with it, because it wasn’t what it should’ve been. It had it all there, but just completely failed. Considering it all takes place in that lovely one-setting, I think it did do well on that point, especially because it did keep me reading. BUT, the romance, I wanted to ship it, and I really thought I was going to. It wasn’t totally insta-love, but like you said BAM and it done a 180, and that was annoying. I had mixed feelings when I read it, and I still don’t know how I felt about it completely. I guess the sequel will make up my mind. Great review! :)
    Kirsty-Marie recently posted…Review: Elusion

    • Alise

      You are exactly right, it had all the ingredients but it was not well executed. I wasn’t a huge fan of the romance, either, so can totally relate to you “I wanted to like it” feeling. Plus I still have this image in my head of the love interest being really short/young in my mind for some reason. Lacks assassin-y ness. 1000% agree-the sequel will decide everything. Thanks :D

  5. Rashika

    I totally agree with your review. This book didn’t do much for me.. in general. I liked the setting at first.. I was enjoying everything but Soren just didn’t do anything for me as a love interest. There is no chemistry between the two and really the book kind of just dragged on for me. There wasn’t much going on so I was pretty bored.

    Wonderful review, Alise!! :)
    Rashika recently posted…ARC Review: The Secrets of Lily Graves by Sarah Strohmeyer

    • Alise

      “There is no chemistry between the two” Zippo, zilch, none. It’s like trying to breed a dog with a cat, except maybe not as violent, it just didn’t work. Yeah, the lack of plot really brought things down. Thanks :)

    • Alise

      That’s probably what I should have done! The sequel will definitely be my deciding factor on this book. The romance needs a lot of work, so I too hope that is better.

  6. Angel (Spare Reads)

    Haha I agree. I don’t think I would be able to resist a sorceresses+assassins combo either. I like the MC’s name, sounds very pretty, that is if I pronounced that correctly buy anyways. I’m a little skeptical about the part when you said nothing really happened until the end, but then you also said reading it felt fast and easy. So I guess I will have to judge it for myself :P Thanks for the review Alise!
    Angel (Spare Reads) recently posted…Review: World After (Penryn & the End of Days, #2)

    • Alise

      Yeah, I kind of contradicted myself there, didn’t I? :P I don’t know how to explain it but it’s very smooth and easy even know there isn’t a packed plot. Sure! Thanks for stopping by!

      (And I don’t know how to pronounce it either, you guess it as good as mine xD )

    • Alise

      I know exactly what you mean! Not enough time as it is so time should be spent on books that are going to be great :)

  7. Faye @ The Social Potato

    The reviews for this has largely been mixed, so I’m not really sure I want to read it. I actually tried reading a bit (maybe the first 10% or so?) and the writing has already turned me off. There’s just something too detached about it. Detached and disorienting. Looks like to you this was more “meh” as well, so I’ll probably put it off until I find the motivation to plow through it. But seeing as there are countless books I can read instead, that may be grim :P

    Great review, nonetheless!
    Faye @ The Social Potato recently posted…ARC Review: The Wizard’s Promise by Cassandra Clarke

    • Alise

      I haven’t read many reviews for it but I think the consensus was pretty “meh” too, haha. I can agree about the detached feel, and unfortunately, that continues throughout the book.

      Thanks :)

  8. Jessica @ Rabid Reads

    I’m so over the mediocre YA fantasies that keep getting churned out. Gah. And they all sound SO good. Since this is a series, maybe the next book will be better. I’ll keep an eye on it and hope ;) Great review! Sorry this was only meh for you, but with assassins and potentially great world-building, it can’t be a total loss, right? Maybe even the lackluster romance will get a boost next time.
    Jessica @ Rabid Reads recently posted…Review: The Shadow Prince by Bree Despain

    • Alise

      Yup, I feel the same.
      That’s my hope too, but if not, I’ll probably be dropping the series. Thanks! Yeah, it has it’s positives, for sure.

  9. Aimee @ Deadly Darlings

    I’ve been seeing a lot of positive reviews for this one, and I’m glad that you enjoyed it overall!

    The romance doesn’t sound very promising. There are just some novels that would work out really well without the romance, right? I’m really glad you liked the magic and the world building–those are the aspects I focus on more in high fantasy novels. Fantastic review, Alise! <3
    Aimee @ Deadly Darlings recently posted…Discussions & Confessions: The One Where I Discuss Covers!

    • Alise

      Thanks! :D

      Yeah, on one hand I think romance was need for this book to keep people more entertained, but just not THIS romance. It was bland and the characters didn’t mesh.

    • Alise

      Haha, it wouldn’t take much to tear me away from Shakespeare ;) Yeah, it really is a shame. I’m hoping the sequel will improve on those two things, though.

    • Alise

      I do the same, if reviews are mixed for something I usually keep pushing the book back.

      Aha, it IS pretty mesmerizing :)

    • Alise

      Baha, treadmill level: beast. I feel the same, there is a good base for it and I can’t wait to see where it goes.

  10. Hellen

    Even if it’s not one of the best fantasy series, it sounds very interesting. The description had my whole attention at “assassin”. I agree with you, you can’t go wrong with sorcerers and assassins.

  11. Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews

    Sorry for the late visit, I bookmarked your review here right before I was planning to get into Death Sworn so I saved it for after I read it. You’re right that this one had all the right elements but somehow not a lot happened anyway. I think that might have been my main issue with it: it left me feeling underwhelmed. I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who felt it was less the memorable overall. I’m hoping the sequel will be an improvement because this one had a lot of potential. Wonderful review ^^
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…Review: Death Sworn

    • Alise

      No, don’t be! It’s so awesome that you saved it! Underwhelmed is the perfect word, I agree. The author really has a great opportunity to do a lot with this series so I’m anxious to see what the sequel has in store. Thank you! :)

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