Review: Death Sworn by Leah Cypess

Posted by Jessi (Geo) on February 22, 2014 | 12 Comments

Review: Death Sworn by Leah CypessDeath Sworn by Leah Cypess
Series: Death Sworn #1
Published by Greenwillow (3.4.2014)
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: ARC, 352 pages
Source: From Publisher
Buy on Amazon

1.5 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.

My thoughts

This is a hard review to write, because this book inspired absolutely nothing for me. No emotion, no interest, nothing. Overall, this book was just ‘meh.’ Maybe even less than that. It’s not that I hated it, but I didn’t really like it either. This book was just….there. It won’t leave a lasting impression and I probably won’t remember anything about it a month down the road. Honestly, it was a struggle to finish it.

The characters were flat and I couldn’t connect at all. I couldn’t connect with the story, either. Nothing had much dimension. I didn’t feel as if there was a solid plot, and there was little to no action throughout the majority of the book. I couldn’t find a point to this story.

The world building was awful. We get absolutely NO explanations whatsoever. There are Renegai, Rathians, the mysterious Empire. Who are they? Where are they from? Who knows! There’s no background at all on the society, the countries? (I guess they’re countries) or the races (I’m assuming that’s what they were, anyway). I didn’t really understand Ileni’s mission. She’s sent to be a tutor for this assassin’s guild, which is a death sentence…but why? Why does she have to go? What’s the point? It’s her duty. That’s all we get. Why did she lose her magic? *shrugs* No background on the assassin’s guild, either. The world in Death Sworn was much like being tossed into a large body of water for the first time and being expected to teach yourself how to swim. 

I feel as if the story started out much too fast. There was no slow introduction of the love interest, Sorin, either…it was just BAM! he’s there too! Right in the beginning! And I knew as soon as he appeared that they would fall for each other. *rolls eyes* It did move slow, but it wasn’t consistent. They were just…there…for most of the book, barely even friends, then all of the sudden they were kissing. Then they were in love. Um, what? There was no transition at all. There was no inner dialogue from Ileni about being interested in him, or thinking about him romantically; or any building of feelings. It just happened one day.

Also, who the crap is this Tellis person?! I gathered that it was Ileni’s former romantic interest, and they couldn’t be together, but there was NO flashbacks or background story on that despite the fact that he was mentioned constantly. 

Would I recommend this? Probably not. 

Overall Assessment

Plot: 2/5
Premise: 3.5/5
Writing style: 2.5/5
Originality: 3/5
Characters: 1/5
World-building: 0.5/5
Pace: 1/5
Feels: 0.5/5
Cover: 3.5/5
Overall rating: 1.5/5

Jessi (Geo)

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12 responses to “Review: Death Sworn by Leah Cypess

  1. Oh dear, I really hate it when that happens! Probably why I write most of my mini reviews when it comes to 2 star books. They just don’t deserve my time for a review. I would hate it if I got no explanations on ANYTHING. I’m not so sure about this novel–the reactions are rather mixed. I still will try it because i had highly anticipated this one.

    Lovely review, Jessi! <33

  2. World building is one of the most – if not THE most – important parts of a fantasy novel, so to see that it sucked in this book is frustrating. I’m planning on reading it soon, but am honestly not looking forward to it. I need explanation and background! If you write a fantasy you have a chance to create such a vast world, and explore so many different things. I want to explore it too. It’s a shame this one doesn’t cut it.

  3. Yikes. I just started reading this book an hour ago and I see what you mean where it starts off too fast. Like, you’re just kinda thrust upon her story right in the middle with no background knowledge really. I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy this one! Great review, though. And, yeah. I’ve only read so far as the first chapter, but I so called that Soren/Ileni romantic relationship.

  4. Nikki

    Awwwe sad you didn’t love it! I’ve read the author’s MISTBORN before and I THINK I liked it? I was going to buy this one but maybe not!

  5. I know exactly what you mean about that ‘meh’ feeling. What a huge bummer because I thought this book looked kind of cool. Now I’m glad I chose not to request it!

    • I was going to download it from EW but refrained because I wasn’t sure I’d like it…but I got an unsolicited ARC of it, so I figured I’d give it a go. Wish I’d have just skipped it =/

  6. Aww sorry this one wasn’t for you! I definitely can see where you weren’t satisfied with the world building because that’s always a HUGE part of a book for me and if it isn’t done right I feel so confused and lost while I’m reading which isn’t fun at all. And I hate when a romance is kind of abrupt and transitions quickly. It’s so weird because you don’t expect it to happen and after the initial attraction is established you should definitely be able to anticipate what’s going to happen next. Fantastic review, though, Jessi! <33

  7. This book is frustrating, haha. I read it a while back and at that time, I liked it. So my review is kinda positive. I guess it was the right book at the right time, because I was nodding throughout your whole review and now I realize I’d have the same problems. The world-building was not good enough (though quite interesting if she would have worked it out) and the romance didn’t work for me either.

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