Release Date: 3/3/15
A young sorceress’s entire life has been shaped to destroy the empire controlling her world. But if everything she knows is a lie, will she even want to fulfill her destiny? The sequel to Death Sworn is just as full of magic and surprising revelations, and 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 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.
Leah Cypress spins an intricate and beautiful conclusion to Ileni's story. In the end, it may not be the epic decisions that bring down an empire, but the small ones that pierce the heart.
My thoughts on the book:
I absolutely adored Death Sworn, and I was eagerly anticipating its sequel. However, Death Marked fell a bit flat for me in a few areas. The story itself was a good one, and Cypress' writing was top-notch, but Ileni was a wishy-washy character and hard to get behind. There was a lot of repetition and some things that didn't fit, but this book still kept me interested. If you read the first installment, then the sequel is definitely worth a read. Don't expect to be blown away, though.
Ileni came across as incredibly weak in this novel. I didn't like how she kept going back and forth and whining about wanting to go back to simpler times. I got it the first 50 times she said it. She wished she could live in a fantasy land where things were simple. Well, that's not real life. Deal with it. On top of that, Ileni's loyalty was lacking. She couldn't commit herself to a cause, and she betrayed everyone. That made it hard to respect her. She was also incredibly selfish. I mean compared to some of the other characters, she wasn't that bad, but Ileni was not a heroine that I wanted to root for. Sorin wasn't in this novel much, but he disappointed me during his few cameos. However, he stayed true to his character and to what he was, and I at least admired that. I really didn't like Arxis, and I hated his name. I absolutely adored Evin. He was the best character in the novel, in my opinion. He had a lot of depth and was an all-around good character. Sure he had his faults, but he wasn't half as messed up as the rest of the cast.
The plot itself had a lot of potential, and the ideals expressed through it were solid. Again, I didn't like the inconsistency of Ileni, though I guess it was pretty accurate for her age and life-experience level. Cypress gets points for realistic characters, even if they did get on my nerves at times. The writing was good, and the world-building was fantastic. The pacing was a bit slow in places, but overall, the story flowed nicely. I really liked the ending. It wasn't a cliched happy ending. It was a real ending. It worked out how life actually does, and I appreciated that. I also loved the idea of small changes vs. big change. The ending really made this book for me.
Overall, I'd recommend this book to people who read the first novel. If you haven't read the first book in the series yet, I'd say only read these if you're a huge fantasy fan or if you want some serious philosophy to go with your fantasy lit. Sometimes the characters were annoying, but the ideals behind the story, and the writing itself, were very good.
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