Death Sworn by Leah Cypess (3 stars)
Kel Thursday, December 18, 2014 reviewI meant to read Death Sworn when it first came out, but the library didn't have it and the TBR list kept growing. Fast forward to October when I got approved for its sequel, Death Marked, and realized, oh, I need to read this book first. The library still didn't have it, so I found a good used copy that will remain on my shelf because, despite a few issues, I liked it.
Death Sworn by Leah Cypess
Series: Death Sworn #1
Genres: YA, Fantasy
Published on March 4, 2014
Published by Greenwillow
Final Rating: 3 stars
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.
The assassins are a fanatic cult. Which is why they're so scary. :) But I wanted to see more of them in action. Real action! It's like telling me it's a movie about ninjas, but we never leave the training ground high in the mountains to watch them be NINJAS on a mission. To that end, trapped in the training ground with a steady routine, the plotting is a little monotonous; but it's full of tension, which keeps things interesting, and the pacing works well.
In general, I liked the main character. However, Ileni makes some straight up dumb decisions. She really should be dead by now. On the bright side, the third person narrative works well, though Ileni has a tendency to rehash the same thoughts often. Which is understandable and believable, but can we either shorten the rehashing or find less familiar ways to say it? Or maybe make decisions and think about completely new subjects?
The romance is meh, but it wasn't prevalent enough to really bug me. It also seemed to be more of a "you're here, I'm here...I haven't seen a girl in years...you're not super ugly...so?" And then she's like "I'm living in a mountain full of people who can kill me...and you're keeping them from killing me...and teaching me stuff...and you're hot...why not?" Which is less love than attraction/loneliness/codependency, but this is YA. Same thing, right? ;)
Final thoughts: the caves are cool, but I want more of the outside world, just for a little variety. On to Book 2!