Death Marked

Death Marked

by Leah Cypess


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A young sorceress's entire life has been shaped to destroy the empire controlling her world. She could change history. But everything she thinks she knows is a lie. The sequel to the critically acclaimed Death Sworn 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 trained the assassins in magic—and fell in love with one of them. And she discovered her entire life had been built on a lie. After all of this, she wants to see the truth for herself. She infiltrates the Imperial Academy of Sorcery. She will see everything she despises about the corrupt empire—its thirst for power, merciless control, and careless violence. But she also finds something she never expected—friends, and a place to belong. Ileni no longer knows whose side she is on. Leah Cypess spins an intricate and beautiful conclusion to Death Sworn.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062221247
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 03/03/2015
Pages: 400
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.40(d)
Age Range: 13 Years

About the Author

Leah Cypess wrote her first short story—in which the narrator was an ice cream cone—at the age of six. She has degrees in biology, journalism, and law, and has traveled to Iceland, Israel, Jordan, and Costa Rica, among other places. She now lives with her family in Maryland. She is also the author of the acclaimed fantasy novels Death Marked, Mistwood, and Nightspell.

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Death Marked 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Alyssa75 More than 1 year ago
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** Death Marked by Leah Cypess Book Two of the Death Sworn series Publisher: Greenwillow Books Publication Date: March 3, 2015 Rating: 3 stars Source: ARC sent by the publisher Summary (from Goodreads): 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. What I Liked: Oh man. This book. It has me torn in two. On one hand, it's a decent novel and has a good story... but on the other hand, I wanted more from the book. Maybe my expectations were too high. Maybe I'd had an idea in my head when I finished Death Sworn, and after reading Death Marked, the idea wasn't what happened. I don't know. But I didn't enjoyed Death Marked as much as I'd hoped... Ileni is now a prisoner to the Empire, the very thing she despises. She is a weapon, but not an assassin. At the Empire's Academy, she learns how to use combat magic, with lodestones to help her. Ileni hates it - her people are all about healing and peace, not war and slaughter. But Ileni has a goal, and she must see to it that she finds the truth. But she will have to choose a side, and that could mean betraying the assassins, or losing her life. I liked Ileni a lot in Death Sworn, and I like her still. She is a strong and hardened, tough as nails, yet gentle and calm. She has a lot of poise for someone who risking everything by sneaking around behind the Empire's back. Ileni loses her way, but she tries her best to stay true to herself and her people. I definitely could put myself in her shoes and could see myself making the same difficult, heartbreaking decisions that she had to make. This book introduced a slew of new characters. Cyn, a cruel and vicious pupil of the Academy, with her own magic (like Ileni used to be). Lis, her twin, with no magic of her own, a shell of her sister. Evin, the powerful nephew of the scary head of the Academy. And a familiar face... Arxis, an assassin. Except that no one at the Academy knows who Arxis really is. I really like all of the new characters, even if I hated some of them. They are so well characterized and constructed and have distinct personalities. I especially liked Evin - he is so easygoing and friendly, but really, he is the most powerful of all of them, and could kill them all with the amount of power in his pinky finger. He's a real sweetheart. I think I liked the story of this book, but I don't think it was enough for me, in terms of a conclusion novel. Like, if this were a sequel novel, and there were more books in the series, I would like this one more. But if you put things into perspective (knowing that this book is the last book, of the duology), then, well, I'm not satisfied. Read on. What I Did Not Like: I definitely needed more from the story. Ileni is stuck in the Empire's Academy. That's kind of the state of affairs throughout the entire book. I couldn't really grasp what Ileni's end goal was. I didn't understand why she was there, what she was trying to accomplish, how she was going about accomplishing it. This book probably could have been cut in half, because not that much happened, and what happened was important, but didn't really do much for the overall plot of the series. The first book definitely had more action in it, despite everything happening in the cave. This book read quickly, the events went by pretty quickly, but it didn't feel like much was happening. Ileni is avoiding Karyn (the head of the Academy), Ileni is contemplating whether or not to contact Sorin, Ileni is struggling to use the magic. A lot of internal battling, but not a lot of external ones (in my opinion). Or maybe I just wanted more. Sorin is basically NOT in this book. We get his third person perspective in like, two chapters (the whole book is in third person, but limited to Ileni, except for those few instances where the author showed Sorin's perspective). I was disappointed, because I really, really liked Sorin in Death Sworn. And I'm not necessarily talking about as a love interest - he's an interesting character. So... the romance. I'm not really happy with the romance. It's really not in this book at all. It doesn't progress forward... if anything, we go backwards. Think about it - Sorin and Ileni aren't really interacting in this book. I don't want to spoil things, but them not together affects their relationship, sort of.  I'm not saying the romance is BAD, or badly constructed... but I wanted more, for sure. That was a complaint I had in Death Sworn - that I wanted more romance. I wanted more in this book as well, and didn't get more. The ending needed to be more solid, in terms of the romance. Ugh! It's so hard to explain, but I didn't hate the romance. I just didn't like it either. It bothered me, but not enough to rage. I could see why the author took the direction she did, but still... hmph. Would I Recommend It: If you read Death Sworn, definitely give this novel a shot. It's worth the read, especially since this series is only a duology. However, don't do what I did. Don't go in with super high expectations. Don't be *too* excited, basically. Then you won't be super disappointed. Rating: 3 stars. I liked it, but I wanted more. I definitely think there is room for another book, if the author chose to write another and/or got a contract for a third. There are plenty of loose ends (in all aspects of the story) that could be tied together!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked the first book "Death Sworn", with all of its flaws, because of the interesting story idea and the characters- but mostly for its potential. I was hoping that this book would go above and beyond the first one, not only in terms of story structure, but also in character development and plot twists. I was very sadly mistaken. Ileni, a strong-willed protagonist from the very beginning, is reduced to an indecisive character who spends more time thinking than actually doing. Sorin, whose hard exterior always seemed underlined with more emotions than the killers around him, is non-existent in this book for the most part, and his character development grinds to a shrieking halt. For as important as he was in the first book, he should have been present more, and he definitely should have showed his more sensitive side instead of always being so cold and distant (I know he was trained to kill, but he still has feelings and emotions that just aren't developed in this book, especially around his supposed weakness, Ileni). I really liked Evin and his brother, but they couldn't carry this book on their own. All the characters felt one-dimensional for the most part, like they were not fully thought through by the author. There just weren't enough external scenes in this book for the character's true colors to show, since more than half the book seems to be in Ileni's head. This story's setting, in the Imperial Academy for Sorcerers, was interesting to begin with, especially when you find out Ileni is being held captive there. But it quickly goes down from there when you realize that nothing really exciting is going to happen there, like ever. The combat magic was really cool, as was the sparring, but it all felt pointless when Ileni was powerless at the exact moment she could have used combat magic most, and when the sparring really didnt come in handy. Also, there were a lot of hints at the greatness of the empire, yet nothing ever came out of those hints. Knowing this is also the last book in the series certainly doesn't help since there were too many loose ends to feel satisfied. If this book had been a trilogy, I might have forgiven all of the author's mistakes with this book and the last (especially if the third one had been about the emperor somehow). Since this is the last one though, I feel completely cheated. After it was made clear that Sorin and Ileni were just too different to be together, and she developed feelings for Evin (all of which happened way too quickly for my liking), there should have been some romantic scenes between Ileni and Evin, but there's none, just hand holding (a problem I had with the first book: the fact that the romance scenes were just left to the imagination). The ending was also boring, and not at all what I was hoping for, since there's not really a satisfying ending at all-there just is one. Honestly, I feel like this series was not strong enough to be a duology. There was just too much left unsaid and unexplained to make me feek remotely comfortable with the ending. I felt like Ileni's whole journey, both internal and external, had been pointless at the end. She's supposed to be the greatest sorcerer ever, but she's not, and she's supposed to take down the Empire, but she doesn't. Even Absalm was willing to throw her life away, showing just how meaningless she really is to their supposed "cause". I had hoped this book would have been different, but it wasn't. It's definitely not worth the read.
BookLoversLife1 More than 1 year ago
I fell in love with this world when I read Death Sworn and this was one of my most highly anticipated books this year. Well I'm glad to say that I loved this one too!! This is much different than book 1. In book 1, Ileni is underground and part of the assassins but now she is at the opposite end of the spectrum and is in the heart of the Empire in a school for sorcerers.  Ileni really struggles in this book. Everything she is thought about the Empire is put to the test and she doesn't know what, or who to believe or trust. At the start she is a prisoner of sorts but then she is taken to the academy and, while she doesn't have magic of her own anymore, she is told that she can use magic again. Only thing is, she has to use lodestones. This is something she particularly struggles with. All her life she is told how evil the lodestones are but once she feels the magic again she is overjoyed. Thing is, Ileni knows that she needs to learn the truth about where the magic of the lodestones come from. She knows that she needs to fight the Empire but just who is the enemy? We don't see a lot of Soren in this one, which I didn't like but overall it worked well. Ileni has a lot of thinking to do and figuring out who she can trust. We see a bit from Sorens POV and I would love to know just what he was doing during that time!! How is he coping with being Master? What was he up to while Ileni was in the Empire? What plan has he in place? We do see how he struggles with his feelings for Ileni and how he isn't sure what to do about her. She is his weakness!!  My heart broke for Ileni a lot during the story. She was brought up to believe one thing but when she gets to the Empire, she sees that while there are bad people here who do bad things, not everyone is cut from the same cloth. She has a lot more decisions to make but can she choose the right ones? I also felt annoyed with her at times because her indecision was off putting. I wanted her to be stronger and more assertive.  There are a lot of secondary characters in Death Marked. Evin being the best!! I loved his character, he was friendly and kind. He is the strongest, magic wise, than everyone else and I loved that it didn't go to his head.  There isn't as much action in this one but it was still a quick read. It answers some questions but also gives us a ton more. It is pretty open ended so I do hope there is more in this series because I need to see the conclusion to Ileni and Sorens story but I hope if there is one we see more of Soren!!  Overall I loved this one, despite a few problems, the story was still a quick and suspenseful read. From the intriguing characters to the wonderful writing, Death Marked is a must read. 
SleepDreamWrite More than 1 year ago
First off, I liked the first one. The covers for these books are gorgeous. First half 3 and near the end it was a 3.5 and maybe a 4. There's moments in this where I honestly was getting annoyed by Illeni, she just can't decide on something can she? I get she has conflicted thoughts on this side and that side, what she thought she believed of the assassins and the empire and magic, etc. That I didn't mind, one of the better parts in the book. But at the same time, she came off as a little I don't know, arrogant at times. Even the characters pointed this out to her, which I'm glad they did. She seemed a little different than she was in the first book and I liked her in the first book more. Anyway, near the end I was not expecting. I wasn't sure if I liked it or not. I mean with these books, I hadn't heard much about. But I liked that the ending surprised me and went in a different direction than with most YA series lately. The characters were interesting as well and I did find myself liking Evin, Girad and Cyn had her moments. I did like the writing style and the setting descriptions. Also I didn't know this was to be the final book. Its nice change of pace to have a series that isn't a trilogy just because. But with this, I wouldn't have minded it being a trilogy. It seemed there could of been more to it but I liked that it left things open while giving us little hints here and there. Anyway, this was a good if a little frustrating at times with how the MC was acting, but a good sequel, finale none the less. Might just give the author's other series Mistwood a read.
lindsaycummings More than 1 year ago
Hoping there's another! :)
WorldsCollide More than 1 year ago
A great sequel full of secrets and unexpected twists, Death Marked was an enjoyable YA read. It wasn't quite as good as I'd hoped it would be, but I still really liked it. Ileni was forced to face a lot of hard truths in this book, mainly that the black and white world she believed in was actually filled with shades of gray. She had to adapt to those new truths and struggled to find out which way was right. I understood her struggle, but I also got frustrated with it. She just spent so much of the book being indecisive. I wanted to see her actively seeking out the truth and making a decision when she had all the facts. Her inability to make that decision got old really fast and kept the book from being as interesting as it could be. Rather than getting action from her, I was getting a whole bunch of wavering. It wasn't to the point that she became a bad character, but it made me like her less than I originally did. Sorin was featured less in this book, though we got a little of his POV. He had his own battle and his own views and, though he loved Ileni, those views were increasingly misaligned with hers. I wasn't quite sure how I felt about his character in this book. But, I still liked him and I understood why his character took the path that it did. There were a few new characters introduced, sorcerers of the Empire who were much more than what they were made out to be by their enemies. I thought Evin and his little brother was adorable. The others were interesting as well. The plot was steadily paced and it dragged a bit in a few places because of Ileni's aforementioned indecisiveness. There were plenty of secrets revealed and nothing was quite what it seemed. I definitely wasn't expecting where the story was going to end up, but it was fitting for the characters. Death Marked was a great YA fantasy. It had some flaws, but I still liked it. It was definitely a book that kept me guessing. YA lovers, this is a book worth looking up. *I received a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just finished this book and I am extremely disappointed. How can you end a story like that?! There isn't even an ending. You get a vague sense of where the story is going to go in the future...but you build all of this love up between these characters and then it just ends because Ileni made a mistake and if she had just explained what she was trying to accomplish in the end he might have not agreed but at least understood. I dont even quite understand why she betrayed him the way she did. It makes no sense. There is no explanation for the hatred that is broiling inside Sorin for her betrayal or how Ileni could move from guy to guy without a conscious. I am completely turned off by this author and at her lack of skill story telling. I wont read any of her books again and I wish I could get a refund. Leah Cypress whatever it is you do other than destroy stories you should stick to it. Thank you for taking a few hours of my life I will never get back.