This series was new to me--so I was interested in seeing the development of Mannino's fantasy storyline. What did I think of Mannino's Sword of Deaths?
I received complimentary copies of these books for use in my review. All opinions are my own. While I was not compensated for my review; we may receive slight compensation from affiliate linking within our posts.
Quick Summary of Sword of Deaths: Book Two in The Scythe Wielder's Secret series. 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?
The Scythe Wielder's Secret should be read as a series. I am sometimes inclined to read books from a series in random order or discover the second book first. Initially, I tried to read Sword of Deaths on its own--and it just didn't flow very well. I felt like an outsider with only half of the story. I picked up a copy of the first book in the series, School of Deaths, and read it first. Not only did I develop an understanding of Susan's world--but, I was able to watch her character grow and adapt to the world around her. I also really enjoyed the first book--and was more drawn to the scenes of the second book as it brought a lot of resolution to some hanging threads from the first. At any rate, once I read the first book--Sword of Deaths was the perfect second book to the series.
Mannino takes YA fantasy in a different direction. Yes, there are dragons and gods and good vs. evil elements--but, the Grim Reaper isn't a frequently encountered (nor overdone) fantasy character. His characters, while fictional, possess some very real qualities and even face some real-world situations in their fantasy realm. It was a nice break from the usual young adult fiction!
Sword of Deaths leaves the reader awaiting the next book. There are loose ends at the end of Sword of Deaths--so, expect to add the 3rd book to your reading lists! The author keeps the action moving and the storyline well paced from the beginning to the end. By the end of the first book; I was invested in Susan's world--and Sword of Death continued to develop the setting and characters, thicken the plot, and create a nice bridge in the series.
Would I recommend Sword of Deaths? I would recommend this book to young adult, fantasy fans--but, I would certainly read both of the series' books in order. Mannino tells a wonderful, fast moving story, with enough twists and intrigue to keep the readers turning the pages to the end. I will certainly be adding the final book of the series to my reading list.
Buy Sword of Deaths on Amazon.
School of Deaths Book 1 is Available On: Amazon | MuseIt (eBook) (Paperback) | B&N
Meet 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/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.