Tuesday, March 17, 2015 17:53

Review 220. Leah Cypess – Death marked.

18803194Title: Death Marked.
Author: Leah Cypess.
Pages: 400.
Published: March 3rd 2015 by Greenwillow Books
Sort: Death Sworn #2.
Death Sworn #1. Death Sworn.
Source: Edelweiss & Publisher.
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.

I think it was a good decision to keep this as duology, because the story got thin and stretched in this conclusion to Death Sworn. I wasn’t blown away by the first book, but in the end I decided to give the sequel a shot (because it’s another series to cross off my Mission impossible). I wasn’t completely let down. There was still not enough action and magic for my taste, but I liked the tension between the assassins and magicians – and how Ileni is stuck between both camps.

There are no spoilers for Death sworn.

In the first book we met Ileni and we found out that she was losing her power, so they send her away to the assassins. It seemed like an easy way to get rid of her, but the book ended with a dramatic note. Ileni she ends up with the Empire's magicians – once her sworn enemies. Her romance with Sorin makes it difficult for Ileni, because which side is she going to support in the upcoming battle?

The first things I liked were the characters. They all have their own reasons to work together with the Empire and I liked Ileni's struggle in the beginning. The problem was, towards the ending I got a bit annoyed by her constant switch of loyalty. Figure it out already! I felt like she was looking for people who were a 100% good, but nobody is. Everyone is a mixture of good and evil, so it seemed to me she wasn’t realistic. I thought Kara was great. I didn't always agree with her choices, but that made her complex and much more interesting than Ileni.

I really liked the addition of Evin. I was never a big fan of Sorin and I continued to feel that way. There is something bland about Sorin and he doesn't stand out to me. Evin felt more like a real person. The only thing I liked about Sorin was the fact he kept protecting Ileni, no matter what was going on. He always looked out for her and I think that’s an admirable trait.

”I don’t require people to like me before I decide to like them. That would be giving too much weight to their opinion of me.”

The story is written in a nice writing-style that made it easy to fly through the pages. While I would have liked more action and magic, there was still more of these elements than in Death Sworn. The plot wasn’t mind-blowing, but kept me engaged. What really worked for me was the ending. I didn’t see it coming and while it wasn’t completely satisfying to me, I thought it provided something more unique than most conclusions. It wasn’t clichéd and that unexpected twist is appreciated.

The overall series didn’t live up to it’s full potential, but I’m happy I read it anyway.
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Mel is a microbiology technician who is obsessed with Disney, fairytale retellings and fantasy. If she's not reading or blogging, she's either busy with gaming, hanging out with family or watching a TV show. She loves summer and bright nail polish. One of her dreams is to travel the world. She has found her Prince Charming and they are together for 7+ years.


  1. I've yet to pick up Death Sworn but I'm glad to hear you liked the duology despite it not living up to it's full potential. I usually struggle getting into fantasy books so I like finding ones with a writing style that allows me to flip pages constantly and not read the book in a slow-pace. I'll give this a shot if I had the chance to read. :D

    1. I think this is a good book for someone who sometimes struggles with fantasy!

  2. Great rev,I actually never heard of this series before, but I am intrigued!

    Happy Reading
    Patrick @ The Bookshelves

  3. I was pretty underwhelmed by Death Sworn so I decided to give up on the series after that and now that I've read your thoughts on Death Marked, I think I made the right choice. I do like that it's a duology though and it makes me think I should read this one just to finish off the set haha! I was never fully sold on the characters to begin with and the plot already felt stretched thin to me, as you say, in the first book. I also remember desperately wanting more magic and action in the first book and the fact that you mention that here too confirms my feelings. It's really unfortunate that this series didn't live up to it's potential - I think it could have been something amazing. Wonderful review all the same Mel^^ ♥

    1. Haha, exactly! I have to finish a duology, because it's so close to finishing a series :p

  4. I'm always pleased when a story is a duology instead of a trilogy because I truly feel like there aren't enough of them. Too often writers draw out their stories even though the 2nd book isn't needed, or the 3rd book feels stretched thin for plot. Trilogies sell, and publishers like them, but I don't think all stories NEED 3 books. /end rant

    This does sound interesting, but it's a shame it doesn't live up to its potential. :/ I love books about assassins, particularly assassins in magical lands in the midst of wars, but I think it's the type of thing that has to be interwoven through a well-told story. It sucks you didn't enjoy this as much as you'd hoped, but on the bright side you finished a series! :D

    1. Yes, some series would benefit from 2 books instead of 3. It's great when authors take the decision to stick with the amount of books needed for the story :)

  5. I didn't realize it was a duology and I'm disappointed! I really liked both books, but there were so many lose ends at the end of Death Sworn so I just assumed there would be a book 3 (aside from so many things being trilogies these days). This definitely would have affected my review if I realized it was the conclusion of the series.

    1. OH, that must be really disappointed for you then :(

  6. I've never heard of this series before,but it sounds interesting!And you got me hooked with the word,assassins.I love books about assassins!
    Great review Mel!

  7. But.. but.. whyyyy did you like Evin? :( I could never like a love triangle. Sigh. Neeever, hah :D But gorgeous review Mel. <3 I am glad that you enjoyed this book. I loved book one, sadly. Because I have peeked at this one, and there is no chance I will read it :( So disappointed about the romance. HMPH. And so angry. Ugh. But.. you didn't like Sorin? :( Sad face. But I sort of understand you. Maybe :D Even so. I'm sorry this book wasn't the best for you, but also happy you didn't love it :p Anyway. Thank you for sharing sweetie. <3

    1. Haha. I just liked him. He felt like a genuine, sweet guy :)

  8. I love your layout! It looks awesome! <3 Especially your rating scale! That is so cute!

    Interesting story! Not much of a reader myself (unless you count blogs) but it does look really interesting to me. May have to check it out. :)

  9. Ah, I think I prefer the whole duology format if it means the middle book is just a filler. Glad to hear you still enjoyed it, even though you were expecting more magic and action. The addition of Evin sounds like a potential love triangle though! Lovely review Mel.

  10. I just finished Death Sworn and I was pleasantly surprised by it! Not blown away or anything but I'm glad I read it. I had planed on reading Death Marked as a result but hearing that it's a little better and the last book cements that decision! Can't wait to find out what the conclusion is!


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