A young sorceress’s entire life has been shaped to destroy the empire controlling her world. She could change history. But everything she thinks she knows is a lie. The sequel to the critically acclaimed Death Sworn 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 trained the assassins in magic—and fell in love with one of them. And she discovered her entire life had been built on a lie. After all of this, she wants to see the truth for herself. She infiltrates the Imperial Academy of Sorcery. She will see everything she despises about the corrupt empire—its thirst for power, merciless control, and careless violence. But she also finds something she never expected—friends, and a place to belong. Ileni no longer knows whose side she is on. Leah Cypess spins an intricate and beautiful conclusion to Death Sworn.
Rating: 5 stars
If you haven’t read the first book, Death Sworn, go read it now. Though you can understand the story by jumping straight into DEATH MARKED, but you won’t get the same flavor and experience with knowing the backstory from reading the first book.
Ileni left the caves to go to the Empire to learn more about their ways and if indeed they deserve to be killed. She left behind the boy she loved, Sorin, who is now the master of the assassins, after she killed their master. At the Empire, her position is tenuous, depending solely on Karin’s (the head sorceress) generosity. The more she stayed on, Ileni was left with more questions than answers…and she had to probe the inner workings of her heart.
***Mini Spoilers Alert***
DEATH MARKED is the story of Ileni’s growth, of her discovering things in the Empire that made her think twice on the course of destruction that was her original mission. The author gave a vivid and realistic portrayal of Ileni’s confusion and the way her heart and her honor tug her in two different directions. And as Ileni grew in her convictions, so she also grew apart from Sorin, as their beliefs became radically different.
As in the previous book, the romance is understated, and all we have is the bloom of a possible love. That is understandable, due to Sorin’s place in her heart for most of the book.
***Mini Spoilers End***
The story flowed in a fascinating, compelling way that I can’t put the book down. Surprise twists and turns kept my eyes glued to the pages, desperate to know what happens next. The resolution to Ileni’s problem came as a surprise, yet when I thought about it, it was fitting, believable and realistic. Change, after all, comes slowly.
I’ve heard that this series comprises of only these two books, and yet, I can’t help but feel there could be more to the story. I certainly would love to see what happens after the ending, and go with Ileni on further adventures.
Fantasy lovers would love this duology, and seriously, I just love those covers! Just the right blend of mystique and magic with gorgeous colors.