Series: Death Sworn (bk. 1)
Genera(s): High Fantasy/Romance
Subjects: magic, supernatural, assassins, sorcerers, love
Setting: In a fantasy world
POV/Tense: 3rd person POV, usually limited to Ileni
Age/Grade Level: Teen
Length: 344 pgs.
List Price: $17.99
Publisher: HarperTeen: Greenwillow
Summary/ product description: “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 Review: Death Sworn was pretty unique, as far as fantasy books I’ve read go. I personally have not read a fantasy series about assassins. I know that they are plenty out there, but the main character is a sorceress who training the assassins in magic while finding out who murdered the previous sorcerers. The story has a pretty interesting description, but it just wasn’t that exciting to read. I’m not a big fan of 3rd person POVs because they lack character voice, so the characters felt pretty flat. I did like Ileni and Sorin dialogue though. Ileni is very feisty and says a lot of funny things.
The story is mostly set in a cave. I love picturing caves and all the stalagmites and stalactites I’ve been to lots of cave in South Dakota, Minnesota and even Ohio and Kentucky. I really enjoyed the setting. There wasn’t that much world building, but I feel like the second book would give you a better perspective on that. I didn’t much care for the plot until around the very end. There was some romance that built up between Ileni and Sorin, but it was pretty light. There was a lot of training and magic and fighting.
I hate when I finish a book and feel like I have no idea what happened. I hate when I end up skimming over thing, but that happened a lot here. In the beginning I read completely and as it went on I got a bit bored with the story. There’s a few burst of really awesome parts. Things that I found interesting, but this is not a perfect story.
This book reminded me of Heather Brewer’s book Soulbound. I felt like there was a bit of Japanese stuff mixed in with the high fantasy. Emperors, assassins and mentions of dark, almond shaped eyes. But there were red heads and brunettes too. It’s just fantasy with some diversity. And chocolate was mentioned. They said it came from the southern continent. I started to wonder if this was some parallel/dystopian world, but it’s clearly fantasy. I recommend this book to fans of Soulbound by Heather Brewer, Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Mass, Graceling and other fantasy series, and shows like Game of Thrones.
Cover Art Review: I like the tower and the color. It looks like it’s a mirror/window. I like the colors. Wish the cover was metallic and embossed.