School of Deaths
Book one in The Scythe Wielder’s Secret Series
By Christopher Mannino
Synopsis: Thrust into a world of men, can a timid girl find bravery as the first female Death?
Thirteen-year-old Suzie Sarnio always believed the Grim Reaper was a fairy tale image of a skeleton with a scythe. Now, forced to enter the College of Deaths, she finds herself training to bring souls from the Living World to the Hereafter. The task is demanding enough, but as the only female in the all-male College, she quickly becomes a target. Attacked by both classmates and strangers, Suzie is alone in a world where even her teachers want her to fail.
Scythes hungry for souls, Deaths who subjugate a race of mysterious magicians, and echoes of an ancient war with Dragons.
As her year progresses, Suzie suspects her presence isn’t an accident. She uncovers a plot to overthrow the World of Deaths. Now she must also discover the reason she’s been brought there: the first female Death in a million years.
My Review: I was overjoyed when I got the email from NetGalley saying that my request for this book had been approved. I’ve seen Ben of BenjaminofTomes raving about this book on youtube, and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. Going into School of Deaths, I didn’t know much about the books aside from Ben saying it was like Hogwarts for grim reapers, and that excited me.
Ben’s description of the college being like Hogwarts for grim reapers is right of the dot except for one detail, you can’t ever leave the college if you don’t your final test but the witches and wizards of hogwarts are allowed to leave whenever they want. I thought that this detail added a nice touch to the story, and extra thing going on that you believe will be the main plot of the story, but truly isn’t. The entire world that the story takes place in is filled with magic, dragons, and elementals who have the power to manipulate the world around them. I thought the world building was good, especially the detail about everything smelling like strawberries, and how that comes to help the main group later on.
I thought that Mannino did a spectacular job with the character. I loved them all, Susan, Billie, Frank, Jason, Sindrill, Hann, Athanasis, even Frenchie and Luc. It’s obvious that he worked hard on giving each and everyone of the characters, bad or good, important or in the background, their very own personality. One thing I especially loved was the development of the relationships between Susan, Billy, Frank, and Jason from how they start and how they end up. Mannino made sure each of the characters had a depth to them, and they weren’t just words written on a flat page.
The plot of School of Deaths was confusing to me at first, I didn’t quite know what was going on. The reader is given a couple clues here and there to try and put it together, but I don’t know if anyone could be able to figure it out without the big explanation from the ‘mentals. That’s probably my one main issue with this book: that the purpose/plot of the story isn’t entirely clear to the reader from the get-go. I mean, we have an idea of what’s going on, but no idea of what’s going to happen next, which could be both a good and bad thing.
I give School of Deaths 4 stars because it is a wonderfully written book with full of action, romance, excitement, and characters that you will fall in love with, but because of my issues with the plot I cannot give it a five star rating. I plan to read the rest of the books in the series, and I also suggest that you pick up this book if you see it in the store or download it on your e-reader.
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