*Book provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Death is not one person, it's a collective of men taken from the world of the living and trained for years to reap the souls of the living. There hasn't been a female Death for a million years because, last time there was one, bad things happened. Imagine everyone's surprise when Suzie is called to take her place as a Death.
I was hesitant to accept this book because I've had some really bad experiences with YA books and teen, female leads, but this ended up being a good read with a couple of surprises. Despite the main characters being 13 and 14 years of age (give or take) the characters are smart, and sometimes even clever, and mature in their actions. Then again, in a world where the main sport causes pain and paralysis in it's players, you kinda have to grow up fast.
As good a read as the story is, I find the world to be even more intriguing. I greatly appreciate that the Deaths are not the reasons people die, they are just there to transport souls to the afterlife. The Deaths take their work seriously. Heck, they have to be licensed before they can work by themselves after all, "this is a profession."* The book introduces us to Elementals ('Mentals) and references the land of Dragons, keeping both of these open for the next two books.
Some parts of the story were predictable. I'm not going to say them because, well, spoilers. But I still walked away from this book feeling good about what I had read. Publicists for this book compare it to Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, and Percy Jackson, and, while I can kinda see why, I don't think these comparisons are quite right. I feel that this book is good enough to stand on its own feet. It doesn't need these kinda weak comparisons to be successful. This is a good YA fantasy book for just about anyone, and I don't care for a lot of YA books, so that's saying something.
School of Deaths has an attention keeping story, and intriguing world, and good characters. While the whole "million years" aspect seemed a bit silly, the rest of the book was solid. I'm genuinely curious enough about other aspects of this world that I want to read the next two books. 4 hoots!