Book Tour: School of Deaths by Christopher Mannino
School of Deaths
Release Date: 05/02/14
Summary from Goodreads:
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 subjugate 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.
“This is the World of the Dead?” she asked. Cronk nodded.
“Can’t be,” she continued. “This seems like home, even nicer than home, in fact. And it smells like strawberries.”
“This is the La-La-La-land of Deaths,” said Cronk. “A ni-ni-ni-nice place.”
“But where are the skulls and fires and stuff?”
“Wou-would you ra-rather have those?”
“No, of course not.”
“Come on,” said Cronk. He led her away from the forest and down a hill. They were on a path, leading away from a small stone on the spot where they had first appeared. The moon above shone bright, and though nighttime, she could see.
Cronk led her beside something shimmering. The reflection of the moon glistened on the water, probably a pond or small lake. Cronk held out a finger, pointing.
She leaned over and let out a gasp. A girl stared back at her: her reflection, yet, unlike the one she had seen at home for months. The girl staring back was fleshy but not plump. Her features were pretty. Her usually stringy black hair looked thick and smooth, hanging like silk around her lightly freckled cheeks. Her cheeks were full; the skin didn’t cling to her skull. Even her gray eyes seemed to shine. The skeletal girl she had come to expect in the mirror was gone.
“Is that me?”
“Yes, your tr-tr-tr-true self. This is your home now.”
She gazed again. She wasn’t her old self, she looked better than she ever had. She smiled, but glanced up. The smile faded as she remembered.
“I’m only here for a year. Then this nightmare will be over.”
Cronk shrugged. “Few p-p-pass the test. Too ha-ha-hard.”
“What’s on the test? What makes it hard?”
Cronk shook his head. He either didn’t know or wouldn’t tell her.
“You can’t tell me?”
Again, he shook his head. He motioned her to follow and they walked along the shore, climbing a rise, moving away from the water. They reached a flight of marble steps and Suzie followed. Small lights stood on either side of the steps. They lit up when Cronk walked near them, and turned off behind Suzie. She peered closer, bending down, and realized they were flowers. Each flower glowed brighter the closer she got; the lit ones shined like hot flame. Cronk coughed and she kept moving.
They climbed higher and higher. From the top of the steps, a vast plain opened, stretching beneath them. A path was lit with flowers, and many men in black robes walked beneath two enormous mountains. Or were they towers? The two pillars stretched for miles into the sky, like enormous stalagmites: great columns of twisted, gnarled rock pocked by thousands of tiny lights. They stood taller than any skyscraper Suzie had dreamt of, yet were far too narrow to be mountains.