Book Reviews

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

🌟 5 stars 🌟

For some reason I have had the urge to read this book for nearly half a year now, but it always had 490129321 holds at the library. The urge got too strong, so I ended up just buying the book and it definitely did not disappoint. I was oddly drawn to this book and it has ended up being one of my favorites! This book had quite a few plot twists that shocked me to the point I put the book down for a bit and just stared as the realizations hit. Moreover, this book made me think a lot about morality, death, and humanity. Definitely five out of five stars. Also, minor spoilers once again, but nothing drastic to the story.

Blurb:

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.

This book is set in a dystopian society where humans have overcome every maladity you could possibly think of, including death. Instead of being managed by a human government, humanity is now managed by a sentient AI, Thunderhead. Since death can no longer happen naturally, scythes are the ones who are in charge of ending lives and keeping the population under control.

The book begins with a scythe entering Citra’s house as her family is preparing for dinner. Of course, her family is terrified that one of them is going to be killed, so most of her family sucks up to him a bit in hopes that he would spare them. Citra is different however. She stands up him and asks him questions that would be considered rude, but he sees something in her and chooses to take her on as an apprentice. Citra’s character grew on me so easily. She cares for her family, yet also has a strong sense of what she perceives is right and wrong. She is cunning and brave, which are traits that I admire in protagonists.

Rowan’s story starts when he randomly runs into a scythe walking through his school’s hallways. He’s late to class and the scythe asks for directions to the office. Rowan shows him the way and a short while after their meeting, chooses to take on Rowan as an apprentice. Rowan’s character is very interesting. From the beginning of the book, he talks about not really being noticed or doing anything remarkable, but as the book progresses you see his mindset change. He is observant of everything and not afraid to take matters into his own hands, even if it means he’s breaking rules to do what is right. Even after finishing the book, I’m still not quite sure what to think of him, since I think he falls into a moral grey area.

Overall, for a book that revolved around death and killing, it really put things in perspective about what exactly makes life enjoyable and not stagnant. This book also made me think about the importance of compassion and caring about others even in their worst moments. I love books that make me think and feel so much!

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