Review of Death Marked by Leah Cypess

deathmarkedDeath Marked
By: Leah Cypess
Release Date: March 3rd 2015
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating:

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.

My Thoughts:
I really enjoyed Death Sworn and was very excited to see where Cypess would take her characters and story. Overall, this book failed to live up to the first in the series. I wanted more about the Assassins, Sorin and world building.

I did enjoy seeing Ileni’s character growth and struggles and felt that Cypess has done a great job giving her a mixture of loyalty, guilt and passion. If this was the middle book in a series it would get a higher rating because I’d be eager to see what happened next. Knowing this is it I’m just left feeling dissatisfied and sad! There was so much more to develop. How can this be it?

In this sequel we see much less of the assassins though we do get a few chapters from Sorin though they are very short and really his character felt ignored. So much of the Death Sworn was set to show his growth and interactions with Ileni and in this book it was abandoned- he went to being a character Ileni knew rather than being someone prominent. I was so sad because he was my favorite character.

In Death Marked we get to see more about the Empire and are introduced to many new characters. I liked most of them and felt that Cypess did well in creating Evin especially. His character was easy to like and I enjoyed the humor he employed to cover his hurt. We find out if what Ileni has learned her whole life was true or not and we get to judge the Empire’s actions for ourselves. I enjoyed all of these aspects and while reading was absorbed.

I think it all boils down to this being a duology and focusing on Ileni. I think that if someone reading isn’t all that invested in Sorin they will enjoy these two books. I respect that this was the journey the author wanted for her characters but it left me wanting.

Final Thoughts:
This feels like a case of it’s me not you for this book. The story was a good one but I can’t feel happy about it just because it abandoned so much I loved about Death Sworn. The ending felt abrupt and left so much more for me to question. Yes, all the major story lines were acknowledged, the character’s stories were mostly developed and concluded but for this reader it left me wanting so much more.

My March TBR Pile

February was one heck of a month. A lot of bad happened and some good too…March hasn’t started off that much better but I’m optimistic it will improve. I have really enjoyed the books I’ve been reading. This month has a great selection and I’m really excited to escape reality into these books. Here’s a look at the month…

Pile of Books


This is a rather small pile but I’m not wanting to feel stress these days. I’ve been reading at a slower pace so figured this was manageable. I think I’ll begin with Magonia. I’m so exciting and hope it lives up to my expectations. Have you read it yet?

Upcoming Posts for March

  • March 3- Blog Tour for A Darker Shade of Magic by Victoria Schwab
  • March 5- Blog Tour for The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski
  • March 10- Interview with Lauren DeStefano
  • Reviews for Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver, Stone in the Sky by Cecil Castellucci, The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows and more.

My February To Read Pile

January is behind us and now it’s the month of love- February. I ended up reading 12 books in January and I’d love to read that many again this month but I’m going to keep my reading pile smaller than that. I don’t want to cause unnecessary stress on myself.



I had to start The Heart of Betrayal immediately upon receiving it because I’ve been waiting forever and I’m not patient. I’m about 50 pages from the end so it’s cheating a bit to have it on the list but whatever. It’s been amazing- maybe even better than the first book.

I am about half-way into Invaded and sadly I’m not loving it. I’ve been tempted to DNF but I’ll keep trying for a tiny bit more. Solitaire looks to be different than my norm and was unsolicited but I’m going to give it a shot. The Storyspinner doesn’t release all that soon but I know I’ll not be able to wait to read it much longer.

I’ve started Magonia, Illusionaruim and A Wicked Thing but haven’t made much progress on any of them. I hope to read them all this month too.

I’m really excited about the posts I’ve got planned this month. I have 3 interviews this month:

  • Interview with Melinda Salisbury author of The Sin Eater’s Daughter-first week of February
  • Interview with Becky Wallace author of The Storyspinner-second week of February
  • I’ll be participating in 12 Days of Fictional Swooning Hop- February 13th
  • Interview with Karen Bao author of Dove Arising– end of February

What do you plan to read this month?