Guest Review: Death Sworn by Leah Cypess

This review is brought to you by my amazing sister, Kelli. You can find her on her blog and on Goodreads.

Summary: 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.

Review: I desperately wanted to give this 5 stars because I loved the ending, but Ileni was seriously SO woe-is-me pity party for so much of the book that I just couldn't round my 4.5 stars up.  Having said that, her self-pity is pretty much the only thing that really annoyed me, and that was all internal.  To the outside, she presented a pretty kick-a$$ heroine who was haughty and powerful.  And I loved that despite her admittedly crappy position, in the final evaluation, she acted from a position of strength and reasoning rather than her feelings of betrayal, anger, and sorrow.

And I'll go ahead and admit up-front that for some reason I'm a sucker for stories with assassin main characters.  Books like Throne of Glass, Graceling, Poison Study, Grave Mercy are all 4- and 5-star books for me.  But the heroine isn't an assassin, and in fact is pretty disdainful of the assassins.  It's interesting because in reality, I think murder is horrible, too, so I can easily relate to her.  The author's timing is well-done as she introduces more facts and plot-points to develop Ileni's sympathy for their position.

This is clearly a first in a series, but I felt there was sufficient closure to not be considered a cliff-hanger.  There's more story to tell, but I look forward to reading it in another book rather than feeling like I was cheated out of the last half of the story.

The part of the book that made me want to stand up and cheer is actually on the last page or two and would be a huge spoiler, so all I can say is that I wanted to call all my friends and rave about this book and demand they go read it so I could talk about why without spoiling a huge plot point.  So go ahead and read it, then hit me up and see if you can guess what I loved.

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