Author: Leah Cypess
Series: Death Sworn #2
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release Date: March 3, 2015
Source: egalley received from publisher via Edelweiss
Rating: 3 Stars
Add to Goodreads
Buy the Book
***I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This has in no way changed my opinion of the book. The review below is my open and honest opinion.***
Synopsis from Goodreads:
A young sorceress’s entire life has been shaped to destroy the empire controlling her world. But if everything she knows is a lie, will she even want to fulfill her destiny? The sequel to Death Sworn is just as full of magic and surprising revelations, and will thrill fans of Leigh Bardugo and Robin LaFevers.
At seventeen, Ileni lost her magical power and was exiled to the hidden caves of the assassins. She never thought she would survive long. But she discovered she was always meant to end up, powerless, in the caves as part of an elder sorcerer’s plan to destroy the evil Empire they’d battled so long. Except that Ileni is not an assassin, and she doesn’t want to be a weapon. And, after everything, she’s not even sure she knows the truth. Now, at the very heart of the Empire—its academy for sorcerers—the truth is what she seeks. What she finds challenges every belief she holds dear—and it threatens her fledgling romance with the young master of assassins.Leah Cypess spins an intricate and beautiful conclusion to Ileni’s story. In the end, it may not be the epic decisions that bring down an empire, but the small ones that pierce the heart.
First of all, thank god for Recaptains. I didn’t remember a thing about the first book, but they had my back there. Second of all, I want to start this review by saying, had it not been for the ending, this would have been a solid 4 stars. Maybe even reaching into 4.5 territory depending on what the new/different ending was like. Because the ending was what killed this book for me. I’m just going to start with that and get it out of the way so we can end this review on a positive note.
So I’m at 90% right? And I’m thinking to myself “man, she better start wrapping this up soon…” 95%: “um, seriously how is this going to end? Isn’t this a duology?” *checks internet and confirms that it’s a duology* 100%: “wtf just happened?”
I guess what I’m trying to say is, there was no ending. It was left so ridiculously wide open that I’m really unsure where Ileni is and what she’s doing. For one, there was a semi-love triangle introduced in the last five pages of the book. Say what? And then, there’s the whole evil Empire vs. Assassins vs. Renegai thing. There was sort of a resolution on the whole evil Empire thing, but not a really good one and now I’m left wondering if it will ever be 100% resolved. I think that at the VERY LEAST this book needed an epilogue. But honestly, I think there’s so much story left that Leah could probably get an entire third novel out of it. *sigh*
All that being said, I really did enjoy this book. The first one was just kind of mediocre for me, but I was intrigued enough to continue. And I think I can safely say that I’m very happy I did. *attempts to block out memory of ending* I struggled with the main character, Ileni, in the first one. I thought she was whiny and just generally annoying. She’s still a bit whiny in this book, but once she arrived in the Empire she got much more interesting. I loved that Ileni wasn’t all pure good. She definitely struggled with the evils of using the Empire’s tainted magic and she made some big mistakes along the way. I loved watching her struggle with her desire for magic and her desire for good.
The magic itself was just so freaking cool. We got a LOT more magic in this book. Ileni ends up at the Empire’s training academy where she’s placed in the advanced class with three other sorcerers. And man are these guys badass. They could do so many cool things. Light shows. Combat magic. They literally just stand there, uttering words and their enemy will crumple to the ground. Scary? Yes. Badass. Hell yes. I loved, loved, loved reading about all the different spells.
I also really enjoyed trying to figure out who was the lesser of the two evils: the Empire or the Assassins. This is something Ileni struggles with throughout the book and I struggled with as well. My heart wanted to say the Empire because I’m a bit in love with Sorin and he’s an assassin so I have to side with them right? But then I would see a glimpse of the cold calculation the assassins were capable of and I would waver in my decision.
This book throws in some interesting new characters, brings back the old characters and does a great job of bringing them all together. I really enjoyed Ileni’s character, the world Leah Cypess created and the entire plot line. I couldn’t turn the pages of this one fast enough. My only complaint is the ending. I’m going to attempt to shun it from my memory so I can bask in the awesomeness that is the rest of this book.
Have you read this one yet? What did you think of the ending? I am dying to hear what other people thought.