Book Review: School of Deaths by Christopher Mannino

CoverSchoolofDeathsTitle: School of Deaths
Author: Christopher Mannino
Genre: YA Fantasy
Age Group: Young Adult
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

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.

In School of Deaths, thirteen-year-old Suzie has been having some trouble as of late: she lost a lot of wait, and starts to look like a skeleton. When it turns out this transformation is due to her becoming a Grim Reaper, she’s less than pleased. She will go to the College of Deaths for a year, where she will learn everything there is to know about being a Death, and bringing souls to the Hereafter. She has one year to prepare for a test that’ll decide her destiny, a test almost everyone fails. On top of that, she happens to be the only girl in an all-male college, in fact the only female Death in centuries, making her a target for just about everyone.

This series is off to a promising start. Suzie is an entertaining, realistic character, who grows a lot as the book progresses, and finds her inner strength. She got a rough deal, but she manages to stay strong, no matter what. The world-building is vivid and original, and kind of reminded me of a darker version of Harry Potter. The plot is unique though, setting it apart from other books, and providing a solid start for a brand new series.

Recommended to everyone who likes young adult fantasy. I’m looking forward to the sequel.

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