Review – Scythe by Neal Shusterman
Author: Neal Shusterman
Series: The Arc of Scythe
Position in Series: #1
Publisher: Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release Date: November 2, 2016
Page Numbers: 435
Thou shalt kill.
A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery. Humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.
Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.
So my initial reactions to this book was really mixed as there were just so many thoughts going through my mind and I did start the audiobook straight after finishing reading the actual book. I highly recommend the audio version of this book.
Scythe is set in the future where humans have concurred death and technology has developed so far that what we call the Cloud is now called the Thunderhead; which stores all the knowledge that there is to know in the world. One main consequence of concurring death is that everyone lives forever and are still continually giving birth. This results in drastic population growth and therefore Scythes were created in order to maintain the population. A Scythes role is to “glean” (kill) people and the thunderhead does not interfere.
This books follows two teenagers Citra and Rowan who are taken on by the Honorable Scythe Faraday as his apprentices. Even though they are both apprentices only one of them will become a junior Scythe at the end of the 12 months. The remaining teen was meant to be able to go back to their normal life but now the Conclave has decided whoever becomes a Scythe must glean the other.
One day there is a knock on the door and Citra and Rowan are told that Scythe Faraday has gleaned himself; which is the only way a Scythe can die. Normally apprentices would just return to their previous lives, however on this occasion they have been taken on by two new Scythes. Citra apprentices under Scythe Currie and Rowan under Scythe Goddard. These two Scythes have very different methods for how Scythes should glean and live their lives and these teachings effect who will win the junior Scythe position between Citra and Rowan.
As I mentioned at the start I had very mixed feelings about reading this book. In my first reading of it I got very distracted with the idea of a thunderhead already having all the knowledge that there is to learn and therefore what would be the point of doing anything. As Scythe Faraday asks Citra’s parents what is the point of their jobs as they are not discovering anything new. I think that this would be a horrible place to live in as to me the things that give life meaning is that we are continually learning and developing and that we only have a certain time frame to do it all in.
On my second reading of the book I was able to enjoy the actual book a lot more. I really enjoyed Scythe Faraday and his teaching style as well as he determined who would be gleaned by using statistics from before death was concurred.
At times I found Citra bothersome as she always thought that she was right. I liked Rowan and his battle between what Scythe Goddard was teaching him and his own morals and working out how he wanted to live. As well as determining what hos mark on the world was going to be.
one of my favorite aspects of the book was the Scythe journal entries between the chapters. This gave insight into the world of a Scythe without having to effect the story. My only wish for these sections is that the name of the Scythe writing them be at the top of the page, which I know doesn’t make sense for a journal entry but I found myself consistently looking down at who wrote the passage before reading it in order to have the correct previous lot of entries in my mind.
Overall I did enjoy this book, I just don’t think I enjoyed it as much as others where hyping it up to be. I have heard that the second book is even better so hopefully I enjoy that one too.
Highly recommend this book.
Date Started: June 1, 2018
Date Finished: June 3, 2018