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Bloody Bookaholic's Commandment:

Thou Shall Read Till Thy Eyes Bleed

Thursday 5 March 2015

YA Review: Death Marked (Death Sworn #2) by Leah Cypess (This is IT?)

Death Marked (Death Sworn, #2)

Title: Death Marked
Author: Leah Cypess
Series: Death Sworn
Book #: 2
Pages: 400
Reading Level: YA
Book Rating: Photobucket.5
Goodreads Rating: 3.65
Published: March 3rd, 2015
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 Cypess 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.

Taschima's POV:
"She had grown up believing that destroying the Empire was her life's goal, the hope of every Renegai. But too many of her childhood beliefs had been shattered in the Assassin's Caves. She needed to see for herself."
4 Stars for when I thought this had a sequel.
2 stars for it being a conclusion.

I gave Death Marked four stars (at first) because I thought the struggle within Ileni was real and I admired her for looking for answers for herself instead of inherently trusting the people around her like she did for so many years. I enjoyed the story and got immersed in answering the questions of who to trust, what to think, which side to choose... I thought this book was great, as a sophomore read. Then I read that THIS is the conclusion to the Death Sworn series and all hell broke loose in my head.

"Was nothing she knew about the world true? And if so, how could she--ignorant, naive, wrong about everything--possibly make a decision that would affect the world so drastically?"
Death Marked just didn't read like a conclusion. It set up things SO very nicely, if there was a third title. I understand Ileni's decisions, and I loved that after everything she managed to stay true to herself (and her beliefs) in some way, but it isn't enough. You just don't go through everything you read and then NOT HAVE HAVE A NEAT ALL ENCOMPASSING CONCLUSION.

Death Marked stressed how complicated and difficult this war between the Empire and the Assassins is, I understand that no decision is going to be ideal if they want to end the war, but I also thought the war was going to END by the end of the series. I thought a side would have been proclaimed the winner, and something in the world would change. Yes our main character found peace of some sort but the world did not. The empire is going to keep doing what it is doing, and has been doing for years, the assassins are going to keep coming after them, and Ileni is going to possibly die if she doesn't make herself a more invaluable member of society.
"She could be the one to accomplish the goal both the assassins and her own people had been working toward for centuries: wipe the Empire off the face of this earth."
I don't even think they know what "wiping the empire off the face of the Earth" would mean to their society. You have to have a plan, a back up system in case your wiping out of society's current leaders works out. What will you do? How will you control the chaos? It is much like the assassins' predicament, if they kill Sorin who will take over? Who will lead them? And into WHAT future? They clearly have not thought that much ahead. The master might have, but he dead so.
"She had also once thought that she was on the side of good--that she would do something truly, wholly, unmistakably right. She missed that belief more than she missed Sorin, more than she missed her magic, more than she missed not wondering every morning if she would die that day."
As like the rest of the story the romance went into a very good place, but it did not feel like a conclusion. Ileni struggles with her feelings for Sorin throughout the novel and when we finally get some resolution to their situation... I need a follow up. It just CAN'T end like that. IT CAN'T. I need answers, I need a confrontation, I need IT NOW. [spoiler] also I never got the vibe of Ileni and Evin. For the large part I thought Evin might have been into  Arxis! I just, didn't feel it. Like at all, and then they started holding hands and... no. [/spoiler] It also doesn't help that Sorin was BARELY there throughout the novel. We only get to see his new mask as master of the assassins, little of the reckless boy we came to love in the first title.

[spoiler]"It still hurt, a tinge of loss. Her life wouldn't be grand, or dramatic, or momentous. There would be no great choices to make, no moments when everything would change. It would make a dull story if she was ever called upon to tell it.
It hurt, yes. But it was also something of a relief."

So she basically choose as her elders and others did when they exiled themselves. She choose to take the passive way out and HOPE this would change something. TO be honest, she kind of chickened out of making any REAL damage. At the end her upbringing won against everything else, and she wasn't strong enough to make the tough choices. I understand some characters are meant to battle for years before any change happens, but some on this is a novel! You have got to give me SOME resolution! If not then write a 3rd book and fast forward 5 years into the future.[spoiler]

Did I enjoy Death Marked? YES. I did, I thought it was written well, I loved the struggle within Ileni, how she wanted to use the magic but she knew it was wrong, etc. but I also thought we were working towards something. I didn't realize this was the last book. I thought there was more so I ended up disappointed in the end.

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