As a fantasy fan, I'm ashamed to say that this is my first foray into Leah Cypess's work. DEATHSWORN is a great place to start, though. I was immediately drawn into the world of the assassins in their dark, twisting caves and the Master who sees all. It was fascinating to see how they almost have a hive-like mindset, where every assassin's greatest desire is to please the Master, even if that means a painful death. They have a mission that has spanned centuries, and every action they take has meaning in the greater scheme. The reader slowly comes to realize just how wide the web is and how much the Master controls.
In fantasy, you see a lot of stories of individuals coming into their own, discovering powers they never knew they had. Ileni's journey is the opposite. Once, she was powerful sorcerer and the girl who had the most promise. Now her magic drains faster each day, until she'll have nothing left. I really felt for her as she struggled to come to grips with this weaker version of herself. I loved how Ileni felt powerless but didn't act like it. Her determination never wavered and she didn't lose her head when her life was in danger.
What Left Me Wanting More:
The romance felt a bit rushed to me, though I will say that I love the idea of it and I love even more where it left off at the end of the novel. That felt like the most realistic outcome of the two characters' situations. I'm really curious about how the relationship will progress.
I've already mentioned how much I enjoyed the world of assassins, but I want to know even more about where Ileni comes from and the Empire everyone is fighting against. It wasn't fully fleshed out for me, but based on how the novel ended, I have a feeling I'll get my wish in the next books.
Speaking of the ending, it made me really excited to see what Ileni does next.
DEATHSWORN is a dangerous fantasy story full of high stakes, deadly assassins, and a heroine you can't help but root for.