I received a print copy of School of Deaths from author Christopher Mannino for review.
School of Deaths is the first installment of The Scythe Wielder's Secret series, and a great first installment I might add.
This young adult novel is a well crafted story that will appeal to readers of all ages. Our heroine is a thirteen year old girl who has been snatched from the real world and taken to train to become a "Death". She is literally the only female in a male world (not a spoiler, it's on the back cover).
At the School of Deaths we have a coming of age story set in the land of the Grim Reapers (Yeah, there are more than one). We also have mystery, romance, violence and intrigue. We have mystical creatures, divided loyalties and a game that makes the game from Harry Potter look like Tiddly-Winks. A case could be made for drawing similarities to the H.P. books I suppose, but aside from a school and a vicious game, the similarities disappear.
Author Mannino does a good job of taking a setting that would by definition be very dark and creepy, and making it our new reality. We quickly accept the world of the Deaths to be real, and life there does go on more or less normally.
There are hints as to what is coming down the pipeline, The Scythe Wielder's Secret is a series after all. The local history includes dragons, so I am hoping they will make an appearance in future episodes. Mysteries are solved in this book, and there are mysteries that continue (I suppose that's why it's a series, can't get anything past me).
Some of the violence is graphic, but not exceptionally so. There are passages of terror and danger, and budding romance. School of Deaths is a good clean read with out being watered down. It treats the reader as if they are intelligent and sophisticated. It does not talk down or condescend (Yeah I know, same thing) to the reader. This is what makes it good for any age.
I would not have a problem letting any young reader who can understand the concept of "fantasy", read School of Deaths by Christopher Mannino. I, for one look forward to reading more of this series. Enjoy!