GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ Book Review: School of Deaths (The Scythe Wielder's Secret #1) by Christopher Mannino | I Smell Sheep

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Book Review: School of Deaths (The Scythe Wielder's Secret #1) by Christopher Mannino

School of Deaths (The Scythe Wielder's Secret #1)
by Christopher Mannino
270 pages
Published May 2nd 2014
by Muse it Up Publishing
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.

I suppose being a "death" or essentially a reaper might appeal to the young adult audience but I never connected with the title or the term "deaths" throughout the whole story. It just didn't roll of my tongue or mind properly. I guess the "goth like " title could draw some in but those looking for dark stories will be disappointed.

This story seemed more like a morale boosting piece of literature for those that think being young gives you no value to others. Susie (mc) was taken by a "death" (see, there's that term again that just doesn't sound right!) at age 13 to a training program to reap souls on earth. One big problem, she is a girl and there ARE no female deaths (!). The only other female was there hundreds of years before and was blamed for starting a war between the deaths and the dragons. Don't get too excited, there are no dragon characters to meet!

To continue the fairly bland story (in my opinion), Susie makes a few friends, has some struggles and vows to right a wrong and take on the headmaster of the school. She then plans to take her final exam and return to earth. Easy right? In the meantime she becomes enamored with a second year student "death" (shudder) and questions where her loyalties really lie after this year has passed. I guess I just couldn't get into the story because I kept thinking "Why did these people need to wait hundreds of years on a 13 year old girl to make things right." Guess I want a story with just a little more believability.

I know I am a far cry from a young teenage girl but I have read a significant amount of young adult paranormal stories and this just didn't ring any bells for me. But then, I have been wrong before!

I think there is a little disconnect of the title and the story and personally it didn't flow well as if some parts were "filler".

I would love to get a 13 year old girl's opinion but otherwise not sure I could recommend as an exciting read.

I give this story 2.75 "please use reaper" sheep!

Jeanie G

About the Author:
Christopher Mannino’s life is best described as an unending creative outlet. He teaches high school theatre in Greenbelt, Maryland. In addition to his daily drama classes, he runs several after-school performance and production drama groups. He spends his summers writing and singing. Mannino holds a Master of Arts in Theatre Education from Catholic University, and has studied mythology and literature both in America and at Oxford University. His work with young people helped inspire him to write young adult fantasy, although it was his love of reading that truly brought his writing to life. His wife, Rachel Mannino, is a romance author at

Mannino is currently completing The Scythe Wielder's Secret series and is working on several adult novels.

1 comment:

  1. No, this doesn't sound good at all, and the use of death in that meaning, no, just no. It is just not a word to use so lightly.