School of Deaths is book 1 of the Scythe Wielder’s Secret series aimed at middle grade/ YA readers. The plot involves 13 year old Suzie taken from her home to a world filled with men, where she will be trained as a soul reaper. Heralded as the only female in a million years to be chosen, she faces prejudice, danger and adventure as she battles “Deaths”, befriends elementals and finds a strength within inherited from a long lost relative.
I liked the idea of a school of Deaths and was interested to see the direction the author would take the storyline in what is a very popular storyline arc in this genre. For me this teetered too much on the edge of the Harry Potter/ Percy Jackson books and I found myself comparing characters and points, particularly with HP, too often. However if it is meant to be Fan-Fiction then there is a different spin on it.
Here are a few examples; Cronk – bumbling kidnapper/ rescuer who is a teacher (Hagrid).
Wire rimmed glasses (mentioned only once) but, felt unnecessarily like Harry’s glasses.
School of Deaths, confusingly called a college throughout the book – Hogwarts.
Hann could easily have been Snape.
The Elemental slaves were like House-elfs.
Luc was like Malfoy.
Suzie had loads of visions (Theme from much of Harry Potter)
Game of Boskery – Quidditch
Travelling back to the mortal world was like apparating in HP or travelling by Floo Powder.
The writing style could also use a good edit and some of the content needs checking for suitability in this reading age group, dialogue is clunky and often overlong with too much use of the very basic dialogue tags. Readers of any age deserve the very best in writing, for instance there were 1060 uses of the word “said”, there are so many better ways to make dialogue vivid to the reader rather than using an empty word such as this, it will also give characters much needed elements to make them all sound individual and different. Slimming the book by stripping it down to short sharp sentences where every part takes the story forward, would allow for more elements that make the story unique and give it a chance to shine through in a very popular genre marketplace.
I was given a free copy of this book by Book Publicity Services
View all my reviews on Goodreads