Happy New Year Guys,
I hope everyone is having a good holiday season! Last week, I picked up the latest Neal Shusterman book because the cover looked sort of ominous and I was curious what this hooded, grim reaper-esq figure was.
Scythe by Neal Shusterman takes place in a world without death. There is no illness or accident that cannot be fixed and when bodies get too old, people can just “roll back the clock” and go back to their early twenties. But the world can only sustain so many and that is where the Scythes come in.
Scythes are a group of cloaked figures that act as grim reapers. They are tasked with lowering the human population through “gleanings” — unbiased, random killing. Scythes have quotas they must meet every year and basic rules to follow. Scythe’s bend to no one but each other and their word is law.
Citra and Rowan have been selected as Scythe apprentices, an apprenticeship neither want. These teens must learn the art of death and all that it entails because failing could mean their own.
Who will win the Scythedom and what is in store for the loser?
This book had such an interesting premise. A world where immortality is possible and death is only at the luck of the draw. Imagine the life people would or could live if their only fear of death was rogue happenstance? Imagine being that person, chosen to end lives and live on the outskirts of society.
I really liked the idea of these two powers in the world: an all powerful AI system and the Scythes who answer to no one, not even the AI. It is an interesting parallel and one that could have been played out a little more in my opinion.
Considering the competition between Citra and Rowan, the gleanings and the political unrest between the Scythes, you’d think this story would move at a pretty quick clip. But it didn’t. It was just a teeny bit slow for me and I actually put it down for a few days, which I am not normally prone to do.
What really saved this story for me was the unexpected twists near and at the end of the book. Twists, I really didn’t see coming and which added some depth to the story line. Twists, that could make for an excellent sequel.
Overall, this was a good read. Not one of my favorites but worthy of three stars. Although the book is somewhat violent, I think it would be suitable for a young adult audience… kids see worse on TV. Citra and Rowan actually fight against the killings and ultimately condemn those who glean with out compassion. This was an interesting world to think about and in that it was a success.
That’s all for now!