Two teens must learn the “art of killing” in this Printz Honor–winning book, the first in a chilling new series from Neal Shusterman, author of the New York Times bestselling Unwind dystology. 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. Scythe is the first novel of a thrilling new series by National Book Award–winning author Neal Shusterman in which Citra and Rowan learn that a perfect world comes only with a heavy price.
Thought Provoking Thriller
Neal Shusterman doesn't hold back any punches with his newest book. I am a fan of Unwind, Bruiser, Everlost, and Challenger Deep.
Like Unwind, Scythe is a dark look into the future where the age of "Mortality" has past and the world has conquered disease and mortality as a whole. Everyone is immortal, they do now feel pain, suffer from disease All the knowledge in the world is now kept in the "Thundercloud." But with this perfect world comes some draw backs. Population control. This is where the Scythe come in to play. A group of people, governed by only 10 rules, the Scythe determine where, when, and how a person is to die.
Citra and Rowan are taken on as apprentices to learn the art of killing from one of the greatest Scythes in the area. But things are not all as they appear to be. The Scythe are starting to see dissent amongst the ranks. Two very different views about how the Scythe should be governed begin to emerge. Citra and Rowan find themselves as unassuming pawns in a bigger game.
Readers find themselves as observers to both Citra and Rowan's individual experiences. Citra and Rowan are relatable characters with real strengths and flaws. They struggle with the big issues of death and killing, while learning about the world of the Scythe.
What I loved best: The plot. The world building. Neal Schusterman, as always, creates a world that is familiar and foreign all at the same time. The idea of controllable immortality, being able to "turn the corner"and reverse aging, the idea of family being generations and generations old, and the idea of an all-knowing and seeing "cloud" known as "Thundercloud."
The plot is fast paced and full of action. What I loved even more is that the storyline is unpredictable with lots of unexpected plot twists. Once I thought I knew where the story was going it would change in a truly wonderful way. It moves in such a way it is easy to get lost in the book, with a 100 pages going by in a blink of an eye. Scythe is a fantastic mix of sci-fi, thriller, mystery, and old school detective thriller all rolled into one. The ending is absolutely perfect and makes me wish I could time jump to the fall.
Fans of Neal Schusterman's work will not be disappointed. I highly recommend readers to pick up Scythe.
Great world building
When I first started this book, I wasn’t sure I would finish it. I did and I loved this book. I am not sure when the turning point from hate to love happened, but it did. Maybe it’s like Cecelia Ahern’s quote:
“There's a fine line between love and hate. Love frees a soul and in the same breath can sometimes suffocate it.”
The book takes place in the future where there are no deaths from disease, accidents, or murder. Everyone self-heals if they are injured. They go to the revival center or the nanites in their bodies simply block the pain and heal them. There are no more diseases. It seems like the perfect future. But….if no one dies and the population keeps growing, what next? Society has taken care of that problem...the Scythe. Scythes are a special group of people that it is their job to thin the population. They do this by “gleaning” (killing) individuals at random. “...but our founders saw fit to call us scythes-because we are weapons in mankind's immortal hand…” Scythes live in their own special groups governing themselves. They do not have to follow society’s laws. They are almost “god-like”. This book features two apprentices Scythes: Rowan and Crita. They are introduced into the world of Scythes as students studying to one day be official Scythes. They must go through intense mental and physical training, watch gleanings, talk to the surviving family, and choose sides in the turmoil in the Sychedom.
This book is very well written. In fact, it is a Printz Honor–winning book. This book has several plot twists that I never saw coming. Schusterman does an excellent job with his character development. It is unique how the author exposes the characters to the reader making them fearless and vulnerable at the same time. I had my favorite characters and ones I wish I could glean. This book is very violent and has lots of death. Some of the gleaning scenes are very graphic. If you do not like violence and its details, do not read this book.
This is the first book in the Arc of the Scythes series. Book two, Thunderhead, will be out November 21, 2017, by Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers. I will definitely be waiting for book two’s release.
really unique and interesting concept
"I am your completion! I am your deliverance! I am your portal to the mysteries beyond this life!"
I found this book simply brilliant! I've been obsessing over its concept for months now! Scythe is about a utopian society that has managed to excell in everything, world hunger and poverty have been cured, unemployment is nonexistent, even death has been defeated. The deadish, aka those who died, are taken care of by revival centers that resurrect them.
"There are times I feel I am fighting a losing battle against an old-fashioned apocalypse of the living dead."
Natural death has become such a medieval thought that, in order to maintain a certain balance between the dead and the living, a new élite had to arise: the Scythes. Scythes are an ordained group of people who are allowed to take the life of those deemed ready to die.
The two main characters are Citra and Rowan, two teenagers chosen by Scythe Faraday to become his apprentices. The Scythe Counsil doesn't think it fair that Faraday chose two apprentices and decides that, at the end of their apprenticeship, neither can live if the other survives (bit o' Harry Potter there!). The story follows their path and tribulations, studying, gleaning and friendship wise.
"I do believe mortals strived more heartily toward their goals, because they knew that time was of the essence. But us? We can put things off far more effectively than those doomed to die, because death has become the exception instead of the rule."
What I found incredibly fascinating about this book was the concept of mortality seen as something outdated, but still intimately yearned. People in this new Age of Immortality don't have gods to appeal to, always live on the verge of apathy because when time is not running against you and you don't need to strive in order to obtain anything, what's the point?
"The stagnation that I so fervently glean on a daily basis seems an epidemic that only grows."
Death is regarded with the utmost respect by those Scythes who have not completely lost their ability to empathize ("For only the pain of empathy will keep us human.") but there are still those who want more and who refuse to abide to the rules of the Scythedom. Because what happens when those who grant you either death or life start feeling like gods on earth?
"I choose to embrace life, even as I deal death. Make no mistake—we scythes are above the law because we deserve to be. I see a day when new scythes will be chosen [...] because they enjoy the taking of life."
I would have appreciated more though if the villains hadn't been as one dimensional as they appeared to be. Plain evil is never interesting but still I found them somewhat chilling.
Romance wise, thank god, there's not much of it but having a boy and a girl as main characters shouldn't always require for them to fall in love. Just sayin'! Also because there wasn't much foundation for it. Still, I really enjoyed how they always had each other's back throughout the entire story never leaving us questioning their side.
“They’re waiting for a show,” Rowan said. “Shall we give it to them?”
Characters such as Scythe Faraday and Scythe Curie deserved much more space and I hope they'll have some more in the next instalment of this series!
Really unique and interesting concept, can't wait for the second instalment to come out!