Death marked is the second book in the Death Sworn series by Leah Cypess. There may be spoilers in this review.
“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.”
Right away when you start reading Death Marked, we’re swept into the happenings of the book. And if I’m recalling this correctly, Death Marked picks up right where Death Sworn ended. A nice thing about Death Marked is that the story definitely moves quickly, and Death Marked is an easy read as well.
Same as Death Sworn though, Death Marked has two points of view. The two views that we read from are Sorin; who has picked up the mess of what was left behind, and Ileni, who is having the internal struggle of a life time. And same as the last book, we read the majority from Ileni. Here and there, there’ll be moments were we “check in” with Sorin.
Ileni is pretty much the same as last time, but in Death Marked, she’s….struggling with herself. Ileni doesn’t really know what to do, but she definitely feels like she has this need to search for the truth. Along the way she meets an unlikely friend, and is reacquainted with somebody from the caves. Apart from that, Ileni struggles. She struggles with what she was raised to believe, versus what she’s learning about what’s right in front of her eyes.
The lines of what she believed in have blurred, and while she struggles to come to a sound conclusion, things around Ileni seem to have surged up a notch. The stakes are higher than ever, but still, Ileni is confused about what’s what.
On Sorin’s end of things, he’s silently confident that Ileni will come to see things his way. Things have proved to be not so, apparently. I’ll be honest, I wish we had more of Sorin’s view on things. Having the book focused more on Ileni’s end…was just boring.
I also feel like the story changed halfway through the book. And I’m not completely sure if Death Marked was going to be the last book or not, but I had definitely thought that going into reading. The ending to Death Marked leads me to believe that there’s going to be a third book, but I still can’t really tell. A lot happens in this book, but then I also feel like nothing really happened as well. So to put it bluntly… Death Marked feels like a place holder; a filler; something to just occupy our time with while we wait for the real ending.
I sincerely hope that there’s going to be a third book. If Death Marked was the final ending, then I was truly let down. I had such high hopes for this book, to maybe, hopefully, be better than Death Sworn. It turns out though, comparing Death Sworn to Death Marked makes me realize how much better Death Sworn is.
I ended up giving Death Marked 2 of 5 stars on Goodreads.