Ileni, once the most talented student her people had ever seen, is losing her magic. As her magic fades, so do all her hopes and dreams for the future. She doesn’t hesitate to leave everything behind when the Elders assign her as magic tutor to a sect of assassins–even though the last two tutors died under mysterious circumstances.
This is one of the best young adult fantasies I’ve read in a long time. The romance is definitely here, but it takes a backseat to the mystery surrounding the murders of Ileni’s predecessors and the intrigue among the secretive assassins.
Ileni is a fully-realized female protagonist that doesn’t live for the men in her life as she suffers through a lot of grief and anger about losing her magic. I found her characterization refreshing and I sympathized with her motives, her distrust of the people around her (including her love interest), and the pain of losing her life’s purpose.
The resolution to the story is wholly satisfying. It could stand alone, but a sequel called Death Marked is due out in 2015; I will be waiting!