Susan Sarnio made a choice, and will spend the rest of her life as the only female Death. Last year she was bullied and ostracized. Now, to her complete bewilderment, four Deaths vie for her affection. Yet, something is terribly wrong at the College of Deaths. When a ship carrying scythe metal is attacked, many blame the newly-freed Elementals, but Susan knows the Elementals are innocent.
Shadows from the distant past come to light. Dragons circle the horizon, blood spills, and nothing is what it seems. Susan and her friends struggle to stop a war. They search for the fabled First Scythe, hoping to sway the balance, but who is the true enemy?
“Michi, get down!”
A deafening scream split the canopy above them. A shadow swept over the trees. Pine cones scraped his knuckles and grass brushed against his face. Glancing up, he saw Michi cowering. The screech rang through the forest again.
“It’s circling back,” she said.
The shadow neared, and the screech deafened Frank. He clutched his hands to his ears, turning up to see a long shadow with wings. He had to know.
Reaching deep into his inner self, he tugged at the power. He only needed a little to raise his vision above the tree line. The world blurred, and for a moment his body slipped away. He drifted up to look.
He’d seen pictures, but nothing prepared him for the spectacle in the sky.
A creature like a massive snake, a hundred feet long, soared above. It had two great wings, talons of steel, and a monstrous head capped by horns. The Dragon’s blood-red scales pulsed and quivered with every flap of its leathery wings. Traces of black and gold glinted on the creature’s underbelly. It glided over them, before veering westward, toward the distant mountains.
Frank released his power, and floated back into his body, breathless. He lay still, waiting for sign of the Dragon’s return.
“What was that?” asked Michi, coming over.
“A Dragon,” he replied. “I’ve never seen one in person.”
“Why was it here?”
“Let’s not stick around to find out. Come on, let’s get to Karis.”
Many of the issues with the first book have been resolved with this installment, and as others have mentioned this is a true sequel, meaning you need to read School of Deaths before you pick up Sword of Deaths.
I’m a fantasy fanatic as many of you well know by now, but I find it can be a bit tiresome reading the same story-line and characters over and over. Be not afraid, The Scythe Wielder’s Secret Series is not just your ordinary ya fantasy adventure. Many social injustices exist which mirror our own world, and gender roles are set in stone. Enter Suzie. She is strong and perseveres through some tough breaks, not giving in to the pressure to conform and always trying to be better.
With her world in utter chaos and the other reapers reacting MUCH differently to her this year, Susan doesn’t know exactly who is to blame for the quest on which she and her friends must embark. It’s easy to get bogged down in the details, but Mannino deftly works his way around the scene, setting things up to draw you in rather than slow you down. There are a few spots that do drag just a bit, but there is decent enough dialogue to carry you over til there’s more plot movement and action.
I’m absolutely looking forward to more in this series, and will add these to our YA library for our daughter. 4 scythes, err I mean, stars!
Book 1 is Available On:
Amazon | MuseIt (eBook) (Paperback) | B&N
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 enslave 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.
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/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.