Audiobook Review: Death Sworn by Leah Cypess!

Posted 3 April, 2014 by Nereyda Gonzalez in Audiobook, review / 14 Comments

Audiobook Review: Death Sworn by Leah Cypess!
Death Sworn
Published By: Harper Teen
Format: Audiobook
Release Date: 03/04/14
Narrator: Cris Dukehart
Length: 7 hrs and 40 mins
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Pages: 352


When Ileni lost her magic, she lost everything: her place in society, her purpose in life, and the man she had expected to spend her life with. So when the Elders sent her to be magic tutor to a secret sect of assassins, she went willingly, even though the last two tutors had died under mysterious circumstances.

But beneath the assassins’ caves, Ileni will discover a new place and a new purpose… and a new and dangerous love. She will struggle to keep her lost magic a secret while teaching it to her deadly students, and to find out what happened to the two tutors who preceded her. But what she discovers will change not only her future, but the future of her people, the assassins… and possibly the entire world.

I received this Audiobook Received for Review in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


I’d seen this book around a few times, but since I’m not a big fan of Fantasy (there are exceptions) besides thinking ‘Oh that’s a gorgeous cover’ I didn’t really ever take the time time to stop and actually read the summary.  Until a pretty finished copy arrived on my doorstep.  As I was looking through the book, the first word that caught my attention was assassin!  With me being almost obsessed with books about killers and assassins, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t heard of this one.  How had I not heard of this???  I read through the summary and thought it sounded fascinating.  Assassins + Magic =WIN!  I was excited to read this one but I couldn’t fit it in my TBR at the moment.  Luckily, a few days later I was able to score an audiobook copy for review.  I do love my audiobooks and my assassin books so this was another win.

Since Ileni’s powers are rapidly decreasing, the Elders have deemed her ‘expendable’ and have sent her on a mission to train a group of assassins.  Aside from the fact that she will be surrounded by trained assassins and that she can’t really defend herself with her powers if she needs to, the last two teachers ended up being killed.  Ileni doesn’t understand how these assassins can blindly follow their Master’s commands, especially after he commands one of the young assassins to kill himself.  But, the assassins, Sorin especially, believe that their Master orders them to kill because those deaths serve a higher purpose.  Ileni is equal parts terrified, fascinated and attracted to Sorin, even though she believes he is a cold blooded killer.  When their feelings start getting in the way, Ileni knows that her diminishing powers is the least of her worries.  She must find out who killed the last two teachers while making sure she doesn’t attract the attention of the Master.  But who can she trust among a group of assassins?

Things started off a little bit slow for me…but that’s okay because I think this is the norm for some fantasy books.  The whole ‘setting up the world’ for us thing.  Unfortunately, this was a little bit too slow for my liking.  While it was never boring, I felt like I was just waiting for that moment for it to take a turn and for the pacing to speed up.  Although I liked the chemistry between Ileni and Sorin, I also wanted more out of this.  I think it was about the 60% mark where they finally kiss.  This is also about the point where things really start picking up.  Although I really enjoyed the set up of the story, the world, the characters and Ileni and Sorin’s relationship, I would have loved it if we just had a little bit more of everything.  I am excited to see how the next book will play out now that we have all that stuff out of the way.  I want more romance and more action and I hope we get both!  Although this wasn’t my favorite book in the fantasy genre, the unique storyline and unexpected plot twists still made this an enjoyable story.  I’m looking forward to the next book in this series!

Audiobook Comments:  This is the first audiobook I’ve heard by Cris Dukehart.  A narrator is so important for the story because they can definitely make or break the book.  Since this story was a little bit to slow for my liking, I’m glad that I ended up listening to the audiobook instead of reading it.  Cris did a good job as narrator and I loved that she had a distinct voice for each character.  I think the narration saved it for those times in the beginning where it felt like it was dragging.  I enjoyed the narration of this book and I hope they keep the same person for the next book.

Some of my favorite non-spoiler quotes from Death Sworn:

Ileni found herself sitting on the floor with her back against the bed, arms wrapped around her body, feeling as if something inside her had frozen and cracked. She had been so loved, once. She hadn’t even realized how lucky she was, to be the center of someone’s world, to have someone who would always be there. And now she was alone, a helpless girl in a labyrinth of caves, surrounded by people who would kill her at a word.

“It’s not hard to kill,” Ileni said softly, as if discovering it all over again. “Not if you hate someone. It’s so very easy.”
But it shouldn’t be.

“Do you truly think all the people you kill deserve to die?
“That would be an easier belief, wouldn’t it?” Sori’s face was remote. “But no…We face the truth, Sorceress: Not that they deserve to die. But that their deaths serve a greater purpose.”

“Every person we assassinate dies to serve a greater purpose.”
“I’m sure they would be happy if they knew it,” Ileni said sarcastically, but her voice sounded weak even to her. “If you would explain it to them, perhaps they would volunteer for your knives.”

She knew this would end badly, It was so ridiculous and so doomed that she could almost despise herself. Except, except… except her whole life was ridiculous and doomed, so if a brief interlude of happiness had come her way, why not grab that? She had forgotten how good it felt to be happy.

About Leah Cypess

I wrote my first story in first grade. The narrator was an ice-cream cone in the process of being eaten. In fourth grade, I wrote my first book, about a girl who gets shipwrecked on a desert island with her faithful and heroic dog (a rip-off of both The Black Stallion and all the Lassie movies, very impressive).

After selling my first story (Temple of Stone) while in high school, I gave in to my mother’s importuning to be practical and majored in biology at Brooklyn College. I then went to Columbia Law School and practiced law for almost two years at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, a large law firm in New York City. I kept writing and submitting in my spare time, and finally, a mere 15 years after my first short story acceptance, I sold my first novel to Greenwillow Books (HarperCollins).

I live in Brookline, Massachusetts (right outside of Boston) with my husband Aaron, a researcher and doctor at the Joslin Diabetes Center, and our three children.

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14 Responses to “Audiobook Review: Death Sworn by Leah Cypess!”

  1. I’m sorry this was a disappointment. Somewhat. I hate slow. Like, I don’t want things to rush too fast, but too slow isn’t good either :( I’m sorry it lacked some magic for you in everything, but I amd glad that you’re excited about the sequel :) And yay for a good narratation :)
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  2. The setting-up part of fantasy books is always super slow for me, but in the end I can justify why it’s needed if you don’t want to be super confused by the end. I’m glad that you liked this one, and I’ve seen a lot of it around with really great reviews too :)

    Also re: the comment you left on my blog, I wrote a post a while ago being all like “Hey I’m quitting the blog!” but it was super abrupt and yeah I’m gonna make a more official post in mid-May :) I’m going to miss your blog so much! <33
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    • That’s always my issue with Fantasy books, the whole set up and all the names to remember…
      I’m gonna miss you Eileen but blogging is no fun when it feels like a chore. I’m thinking of a break soon or else it starts to feel like a chore for me too. Good luck and hope to see you around still. Virtually at least :)

  3. I agree with pretty much everything you said 100 percent. I needed a bit more of everything too. It was a good read but lacked just a little. I think its a great start to what will be an awesome series.

    There was great chemistry and it took them forever to get that kiss in… but I thought it was perfect.

    The pacing did lack at the beginning. I also listened to it on audio and I think I would have given up if I read it instead. I am little Book ADD and don’t do well with slow.
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  4. Vi

    Hmm, I’m a somewhat fan of fantasy, but my attention has been so limited lately, I’ve barely read any bc I know I would lose interest during all that world building, lol. I’ll have to skip this, but I do love that cover.
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