Spotlight and Excerpt: School of Deaths

Posted February 14, 2016 by love2dazzle in Features, Promo Blitz / 1 Comment

Spotlight and Excerpt: School of DeathsSchool of Deaths by Christopher Mannino
Published by MuseItUp Publishing on May 14th 2015
Genres: Dark Fantasy, Epic, Fantasy, Fantasy & Magic, Fiction, Girls & Women, Young Adult
Pages: 272
Goodreads

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. Caught in the middle of a plot to overthrow the World of Deaths, Suzie must uncover the reason she’s been brought there: the first female Death in a million years.

The Scythe Wielder’s Secret is a thrilling young adult fantasy/adventure series by Christopher Mannino. The first two books in the trilogy, School of Deaths and Sword of Deaths, are out now, with the third book Daughter of Deaths expected to be released next year.

Reviewers have compared The Scythe Wielder’s Secret to Harry Potter, Hunger Games, and Percy Jackson. It is recommended for readers who enjoy magical realism, fantasy, paranormal, middle grade, young adult, and/or books with a strong female protagonist.

 

Praise for School of Deaths:

“If you like Harry Potter, you’ll love this!” – Sasha Alsberg, A Book Utopia

“Wonderful! Addictive! Two thumbs up! The plot itself was beyond intriguing. It definitely took me for a spin. I wasn’t expecting the story to take me where it did, and it definitely kept me guessing all the way toward the end. The author did a wonderful job at keeping me both entertained and fascinated by the world he created. Would recommend School of Deaths to YA lovers everywhere.” – Kristy Centeno, author of The Keeper Witches series and the Secrets of the Moon series.

“The characters are well developed, the story is complex and non-stop. Lots of surprises along the way. A dash of romance, lots of intrigue, mystery, and fantasy. This was a book I didn’t want to end.” – Montzalee Wittman

“Loved this book! Suzie is a wonderfully well written and in depth main character. I understood her struggle and appreciated her growth throughout the book.” – Ann Andrews

“Not just a book for young adults, but an imaginative read for everyone who likes something a little bit different. 5 Stars!” – Reader’s Favorite

 

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Chapter 1

“You okay, squirt?” Joe bounded through her bedroom door. He smelled of sweat and dirt.

“I’m okay,” said Suzie. She sat up in her bed, putting her book aside. “They teased me a lot today.”

“You? My sister? I’ll beat ’em up.” He slapped her on the back playfully, making Suzie slump forward. He leaned closer to her and peered in her eyes. His cinnamon gum stank.

“Tell me honestly.” He lowered his voice to whisper. “What’s going on? You’ve been losing weight since Bumper died. Mom and Dad are freaking out.”

“I’m not trying to scare them, Joe. I’m sure I look anorexic or something, but I keep eating and eating and nothing changes. It must be some disease the doctors haven’t heard about, they’re bringing in a specialist and everything.”

“Suzie?” Joe sat next to her and wrapped his big, muscular arms around her wiry frame. “You’ll be okay?”

“I will be, yeah.”

“Susan,” called Mom from downstairs. A moment later, her head appeared in the doorway. Joe released Suzie and stood.

“How are you feeling honey?” asked Mom.

“I’m fine.”

“Why don’t you both come down for dinner?”

“Okay, Mom,” they said in unison. Joe turned to Suzie and smiled. They headed downstairs and sat down.

“Your father had an urgent call, and won’t be home until late,” said Mom, carrying a steaming dish of delicious-smelling rosemary chicken and potatoes to the table. The doorbell rang.

“I hope it’s not the Mormons again,” muttered Mom, rising.

“I’ll get it,” said Joe. Whenever Dad wasn’t home, Joe tended to act like the man of the house. Suzie wasn’t sure if he was annoying or endearing, or perhaps a little of both. Mom sat down, and Joe opened the door.

“Can I help you?”

A hunchbacked man in a black robe, carrying an immense scythe, stood in the doorway. Something shiny hung around his neck.

“Er, um. H-h-hello. I-i-i-s Su-su-su-Susan here?”

Joe laughed. “Halloween’s not for over a month, man. Why don’t you come back then?” He started to close the door, but the strange man lowered his scythe, propping it open.

“What are you doing?” yelled Joe.
“P-p-please. I n-n-need to ta-talk to Susan,” he stammered.

Suzie gasped, remembering where she had seen the strange man. He was the one who opened the door looking out in the strange dream she kept having. Mom touched the blade of the scythe and drew her hand back in surprise.

“That thing’s real,” she said. “Get out. Get out of my house!”

“P-p-p-please,” he started again.

“Wait, Mom,” Suzie said, rising. Joe, Mom, and the strange man turned to her. “I want to talk to him.” Was it the man from her dream?

“Susan, sit down,” said Mom, her voice trembling.

“No, it’s okay,” said Suzie. She walked to the door. The man seemed scared, even a little confused. He was probably her father’s age, but was nothing like Dad. His face was chubby, unshaven, and pockmarked, and his blond hair was uncombed. A golden chain with a charm hung from his neck. He raised his scythe and nodded. Joe held the door, ready to slam it, but Suzie stood in the entrance.

“Who are you?” she asked.

“My n-n-n-name is K-k-k-Cronk. C-Cronk Averill.”

“C-Cronk Averill?” laughed Joe. “Is this guy for real?”

“I’ve c-c-c-come to t-t-t-take you b-b-b-back.”

“Take me back where?” asked Suzie.

“You are a D-d-d-d…”

“What?”

“A Death,” said Cronk. Joe reached for Suzie, but before he touched her, Cronk grabbed Suzie’s arm. His speed surprised her. She yelled, but he raised his scythe and lowered it, cutting the air. Suddenly, the house, Joe, Mom, and the entire world vanished. Colors and smells, noises and strange sensations, flowed past Suzie in a blur.

She opened her eyes. She was standing in a field. Cronk stood in front of her, frowning.

“What did you do?” she demanded. “Where are we?” She looked up. It was sunny. But there were two suns.

About Christopher Mannino

 

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 and 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.

 

Christopher’s debut novel School of Deaths (The Scythe Wielder’s Secret, Book 1) was published in May 2014 by MuseItUp Publishing. The second book in the trilogy, Sword of Deaths (The Scythe Wielder’s Secret, Book 2), was published in August 2015. The third book Daughter of Deaths is expected to be released in 2016. His series has received rave reviews and been compared to Harry Potter and The Hunger Games.

About love2dazzle

Ali Kiki is a reader, writer, reviewer, blogger, and photographer in Portland, OR. An avid reader since childhood, you can usually find her devouring a book or stalking the bookstagram hashtag in her lovely apartment surrounded by books. Ali has been blogging since 2006 and she created Dazzled by Books in 2012. Her most recent adventure is making bookish candles for Stub Tail Candle Co., which are sold on Etsy.

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