I finished Death Sworn about a couple of months ago, and knew that I had to get Death Marked ASAP, so I requested an eARC. Luckily, the publisher was kind enough to grant me access, and I devoured the book in a single sitting. I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of he book or the content of my review.
Death Marked by Leah Cypess
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Release Date: March 3rd, 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
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. (Goodreads)
My Bookish Thoughts:
I really enjoyed this book. I wasn't sure exactly sure what to expect from this book since I knew that the ending of the first book changed everything, but the new setting and characters really breathed a bit more life into this installment.
There were times I felt like the assassins in Death Sworn were very inhuman. They didn't have much in way of emotions except for anger... they had a surplus of anger, bitterness, and cynicism, but rarely ever empathy. I think that's why I enjoyed this book a little more in terms of characters. I really really grew to love a new character named Evan. He was probably my favorite character in this book. He was very human. He wasn't without his flaws or walls, but he was a good person, and I didn't realize how much I missed that until I began falling in love with his character. He was the exact opposite of Sorin and his drowned ideological view.
Though I loved the characters even more so in this installment than in Death Sworn, something about the plot felt a little off to me. Yes, it was very interesting with all the lodestones and such, but I felt like there was an absence of true, threatening danger that was found in the Assassin's Caves in the first book. Granted, there was still danger, but I didn't fear for Ileni's life like I did in the first book. This is just a minor nit picky detail. Despite this, I still really enjoyed this book!
I think my favorite part was the morality issues brought up in the book. Going into Death Marked, Ileni was completely against the Empire, but after experiencing the what the Empire was like and that most of this warmongering country wasn't made up of people who wanted war, her thoughts and choices began to change. I like how this doesn't show just one side as evil and one side as good. It's both, like humanity itself.
Overall, I enjoyed the book a lot. I think it sets up for a lot of character growth in various characters, for the next installment...especially considering Ileni and Evan's relationship--which I'm super excited to read about! I will definitely pick up the next book and I eagerly await the next release date!
I gave this book 4 stars.
Just because I think you guys need to read this great series, I'm giving away a hardcover copy of the first book, Death Sworn.
This is US only.