This book has me torn. I wanted to really like this book and the story Mannino was telling. I was intrigued by the premises of the book. Who doesn't want to know about how Grim Reapers are made and how they are trained. Thats what really made me want to read this book.
It starts off with Susan withering away and not having any medical explanations for why. Soon she finds out that she has been chosen to be a Death and help souls be ferried to the Afterlife. What is is not ready for is the contract that she must sign, the final exam that will determine her future and the caste system that has enslaved many for decades. Susan has to navigate through a world that has been solely made up of males. And to top off being the only girl in a man's world, the only female to attend before her has a dark history with the Deaths.
I did enjoy the set up of how the Deaths operate. How they had a Junior and than a Senior college that the Deaths attend. The classes that would pertain to the reaping a soul and the transport of souls from the living world to the Afterlife. I did enjoy how Susan developed from being a scared 13 year old girl to trusting her self enough to go with her gut. Cronk and Athanasis, even though minor characters really added to the dimensionality of the book.
But I had several problems with the book. First Susan's age seems a little young for the theme of this book. I feel as if there would be more years in training and experience to become a death. Also her relationship with Billy would have flowed more smoothly if they were a couple of years older. Do not get me started on the FIRST PERIOD! To me it read as if Mannino wrote what he thought a girl would go through. From my experience by 13 most every girl knows what a period is. It was just very unbelievable to me. Also it had a Harry Potter vibe to it. I felt as if the template for Harry potter was being used for this book. From being chosen to the game the Deaths play it all screamed similarities of Harry Potter. The climate of the book left me wanting. I thought there would be more of a huge fight, war, game something. It seemed that the build up did not add up to the ending.
-Though death comes to us in the end, it must not be sought out in haste
Copy of book provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review