Title: Sword of Deaths
Author: Christopher Mannino
Year of publising: 2015
Publisher: Muse It Up Publishing
Source: I received a copy of this book from Book Publicity Services in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my thoughts and feelings about the novel.
Read my review of School of Deaths right here.
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?
I loved the first book in this series, and so it wasn't all that difficult to convince me to read the sequel.
In some ways, this book is a little different than the first one. For instance, the first book was told entirely from Susan's perspective. This time around, the story is told from POV's of Susan and her two best friends and sidekicks, Billy and Frank. This book is bigger than its predecessor in terms of world-building and history. The characters get to explore this world outside of the college walls. And it's a world that is worth exploring.
There are more subplots here than in the first book too; more conflicts that are waiting to be resolved. And Mannino does a good job balancing all these stories. There is that familiar sense of mystery and danger hiding in plain sight. Aside from Billy and Frank, you don't really know who you can trust. And that plot twist in the end is quite horrifying, to be honest. And it's a helluva teaser for the final book in the series.
I had a lot of fun with this book. It's fun and entertaining, and the story is captivating.
That being said, there are some aspects of this book that don't work for me. It's a little slow at times, and there are parts in the book where not much happens. But the part that does not work for me at all is the romance. As the boys in the college get used to having a girl among their ranks, their hormones overtake their bigotry and all of a sudden they realise that they have a girl at their school! And suddenly, Susan becomes the object of affection of not one but four boys. But is Susan interested in any of them? And if so, who is this lucky guy?
Maybe it's just me. I'm not a fan of teenage romance trope as a whole, so to me this subplot is the least interesting part of the story. I don't think that it contributes anything to the plot. The story itself is intriguing enough on its own, without the added element of romance to spice it up.
Sword of Deaths is also the first book that I will be rating with my new
patented rating system. I'm just kidding, I'm really ripping off other better book reviewers. Basically, I'm going to rate different parts of the book individually before doing some math and summing up the total score. This way, I hope my ratings will be less arbitrary and more motivated.
Plot: 4 stars
Story: 4 stars
Characters: 3 stars
Writing: 4 stars
Total: 4 stars
Labels: Christopher Mannino, fantasy, middle grade, School of Deaths, YA