Saturday, January 17, 2015

Review: Death Sworn

Death Sworn (Death Sworn, #1)Title: Death Sworn
Author: Leah Cypress
Series: Death Sworn
Volume: 1
Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy
Release Date: March 4, 2014

A Quick Introduction: Ileni is losing her magic. She's spent her childhood training for a destiny that can no longer be hers. Rather than spending the rest of her life in a place where she doesn't have the value she used to, she takes the likely-lethal mission of becoming tutor to the assassins living in isolated caves. She's to go to the assassin's cave, and, while training them in magic, investigate the deaths of the previous two tutors. What she finds there is more that she ever expected.

Out of Ten: 6/10

Review at a Glance: Despite an interesting premise, this book's characters, world and plot weren't a fully engaging introduction to a duology.

Review: This was an alright read. It wasn't bad, but it was one of those books that I didn't really have much feeling for one way or the other. It was only disappointing because I was expecting more.

The characters really always just felt like characters, never like people. While I could see their motives, but I never connected to them. I had a hard time with Ileni, simply in how she chose to conduct herself, and how she chose to go about her mission. She's supposed to be hiding her dwindling magic, but she's awfully reckless and gets herself into a lot of situations where it is required. Sorin just didn't interest me. Despite the fact that he was fairly developed background-wise, I just didn't care much about him. While I didn't feel much attachment to any of the characters, I didn't really find them intolerable, and I still didn't mind reading from Ileni's point of view.

Possibly partially as a result of the unengaging natures of the characters, the romance wasn't terribly interesting. I found myself uncertain as to why it was necessary. Ileni and Sorin were designed to be at odds with one another, and I didn't really see where the romance grew from, as they didn't seem to like each other much more... so it felt sudden. There didn't feel like there was a bond there, so it wasn't something that I was terribly invested in.

The setting and world both felt static. While the assassin's cave could have been a very dynamic location, I just didn't see it. It didn't feel vivid. The background of the world (the history, if you will) wasn't truly presented. There wasn't a very vivid story, so what I got was essentially "One day the Empire (where were basically jerks) appeared out of nowhere and took over without any resistance. Some people ran away to live in the caves or on a mountain". I just didn't feel it.

The plot itself was alright. Again, I wasn't engaged, but I still worked my way though it. I think it would have been more engaging with more story. The Empire was such a vague enemy, that wasn't truly the enemy. It felt that there could have been more involved in constructing the mystery. The plot was fine, just not something that I was super invested in.

In the end, this book was alright, but it was something that I couldn't really invest in. I still think I'm going to read the Death Marked, the sequel and conclusion to the duology. I do have some hopes for seeing more of the world, and that I might connect more with Ileni.


  1. I agree, I DNF'ed this one late last year. I loved the setup - the cave, the dwindling magic - but something about it just didn't work for me.

    1. I'm thinking that I'll give the sequel a try, but it will be a library book. I wish I'd been more engrossed in it, but you can't love everything, I suppose.