Today, the Happy Book Reviewer welcomes acclaimed author Leah Cypress to talk about Death Sworn, the first book of her new young adult series. Teen Vogue says it is "
In Death Sworn, Ileni is a young sorceress losing her magic. And that means she's losing everything: her position as the rising star of her people, her purpose in life, and even the young man she loves. Sent to the assassins' cave, hidden deep within the mountains, she expects no one will ever hear from her again. The last two sorcerers sent died within weeks of each other. As Ileni navigates the dangers—both natural and human—of the caves, she'll discover secrets that have been kept for decades. And she'll find an ally in Sorin, the deadly young man who could be the assassins' next leader. With Sorin determined to protect her, sparks—magical and romantic—will fly. But will even he understand the choice she must make in the end?
So, what inspired this magical, mysterious tale?
Leah Cypress: I was reading the first book in the Elenium, a trilogy by David Eddings, in which a pacifist sorceress has to tutor the soldiers of a religious military order. In Eddings' book, this worked out well and they were all one big happy family. But I started to wonder: what if there was a similar scenario in which this didn't work out well? What if the sorceress and her students not only hated each other, but were hiding dangerous secrets from each other?
I actually just finished David Eddings' Belgariad series, but I've never read the Elenium. I love that it sparked Ileni's tale.
What were you like when you were Ileni’s age? Did you draw on your experiences as a teenager as you wrote of Ileni’s (by that I mean, how she perceives and interacts with the world, not her experiences as a sorceress!)?
Leah Cypress: Like Ileni, I grew up thinking I was destined for great things -- without quite as much support from the rest of the world, of course. But I had dreams of various destinies awaiting me, and spent a lot of time wondering whether it would be better for me to cure cancer or be an Olympic gymnast or design fabulous houses with interior water slides. Eventually, I had to realize that my talents in some areas did not live up to my dreams. (I.e. I couldn't get bacteria to grow on a petri dish, so there went my career as a scientist.)
But before this gets too pessimistic -- one of my most constant dreams was to be a published author, and there were times when I thought that was a dream that would never be realized for me. But hope is not always wishful thinking. Ileni will discover that, too.
If you've always dreamed of being an author, then you must have always been an avid reader; they sort of go hand-in-hand. What book are you reading at present?
Leah Cypress: Well, I'm currently reading The Nature of Horses by Stephen Budiansky, but that's for research (though it is also fascinating). In terms of fiction, I just finished Sleep No More by Aprilynne Pike, and next on my TBR list is Dreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor and/or Skin Game by Jim Butcher. (I have a hard time making up my mind, sometimes!)
And is there a book you wish you had written?
Leah Cypress: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge. I am so blown away by how awesome that book is.
I know that feeling! What was the first creative piece you ever wrote? Do you still have a copy of it?
Leah Cypress: When I was in first grade, I wrote a story from the point of view of an ice cream cone being eaten. (But it was a happy story. Really. The ice cream cone wanted to be eaten!) I believe my parents still have a copy of it.
That's so cute!
Are you working on the next book in the Death Sworn series? Do you have a title yet? Can you give us a hint on what it is about?
Leah Cypress: I just finished the copyedits for the next (and final) book in this duology. It will be called Death Marked, and in it, Ileni will find out a lot more about the Empire -- and have to make a very difficult choice that will test not only her loyalty and her love, but her sense of who she is.
How exciting! I'll be watching for it! One last thing: I collect book quotes, so add to my collection! What is your favorite quote from Death Sworn?
Leah Cypress: “How can you know what your life is worth if you don’t know what you would trade it for?”
Thank you so much, Leah, for chatting with me today! Readers can find Death Sworn at:
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