Published: March 4th, 2014
When Ileni lost her magic, she lost everything: her place in society, her purpose in life, and the man she had expected to spend her life with. So when the Elders sent her to be magic tutor to a secret sect of assassins, she went willingly, even though the last two tutors had died under mysterious circumstances.
But beneath the assassins’ caves, Ileni will discover a new place and a new purpose… and a new and dangerous love. She will struggle to keep her lost magic a secret while teaching it to her deadly students, and to find out what happened to the two tutors who preceded her. But what she discovers will change not only her future, but the future of her people, the assassins… and possibly the entire world.
Ok, I have one major complaint about this book - why was it so short? Yep, I wanted more! Some of you may think that 352 pages is not that short, but I just flew through this so quickly it seemed like much less to me. This type of story takes me back to my roots so to speak. Old fashioned fantasy. Assassins, magicians, mystery, caves, romance - what's not to love.
Ms Cypess manages to write with a voice that is strangely compelling for me. Her characters seem real, with doubts and fears that don't seem overplayed or unrealistic. I was always able to connect with Ileni and Soren. Ileni is struggling to come to grips with the fact that she is losing her magic, but she never wallows in self pity. If anything, she's a little too accepting, but she manages to maintain a degree of inquisitiveness that propels her into solving the mystery.
As for romance, well is was just lovely. Acknowledgement of attraction but no insta-love or unreasonable lust. This felt like natural progression, and I found it easy to see where the attraction came from.
I had a couple of questions about the world building - I would have liked a little more information about the caves - where they were, why they were used - and why there was a split from the empire in the first place, but on the whole I was able to get past it and just enjoy the story. I'm looking forward to reading follow-up volumes, whenever that may be.