Scythe by Neal Shusterman
‘Thou shalt kill’
Scythe was intriguing, interesting, thought-provoking and an absolute pleasure to read!
Scythe is the first book in a duology by Neal Shusterman. In a world with no disease, no misery, and no war, humanity has conquered death. With rising populations, it is the job of Scythes who are above the law, to end life to control population size in the world. Scythe follows two teens Citra and Rowan, who are chosen to apprentice to the Honorable Scythe Faraday. This pair must learn the art of being a scythe and taking a life, however pitted against each other, only one will be welcomed into Scythedom, the other will lose their life.
Since this is a review, below is spoiler central, if you haven’t read the book, don’t read any further. You have been warned.
Straight away Scythe’s premise intrigued me completely! I was absolutely captivated with the story and the details Neal puts into his writing. It wasn’t a fast-paced or action-packed read, however the world was enthralling, and I couldn’t help but be interested from the first page to the last!
The plot was slow but a huge amount of world building was created which I enjoyed reading about. Don’t get me wrong, the story had it’s faster moments, however overall it was a slower read that was set to intrigue the reader, rather than keep us on the edge of our seats. The plot was developed well, the pacing was perfect, and I enjoyed the twists that kept me guessing throughout. In my mind, I knew where this story was going to end, but it shocked me and left me wanting more and highly anticipating the next book.
‘The greatest achievement of the human race was not conquering death. It was ending government.’
A great addition to the story was how Neal weaved real-world ethical issues within the plot. The gleaning journals provided an insight to questions that were not necessarily answered, but made you think long and hard about what he was implying. For example, why Caucasoid was first on the genetic index, and why the greatest achievement of the human race was ending the Government.
It was interesting to see that even-though this perfect Utopian world was created, there was still a significant amount of corruption in the Scythedom, showing that everything isn’t as it seems, even in a perfect world. The world set had perfected equality, however there were still those that believe they were above everyone, and acted in the sense that they were God. It was a good concept to add in, because even though this was the perfect world, it still had selfish traits that couldn’t be eliminated.
The characters in Scythe were very interesting and had a lot of different depths to them which was enjoyable to read. The growth of the characters was developed nicely, and I enjoyed that they grew separately into different people and took different paths depending on who their mentor was at the time and the challenges they faced.
Rowan was strong, caring and selfless when it came to Citra. However, through his development we saw that he was also haunted at who he might become, as he was weaved into the corruption that his mentor showed. Citra on the other hand was inquisitive, brave and intelligent. She was the perfect Scythe, however her circumstance was altered where she was nurtured more than Rowan. I appreciated the bond the pair formed. It was interesting to see that although others questioned their loyalty to each other, they both remained bonded in the end even though they ultimately became different people.
I choose to be Scythe Anastasia. I vow to become the change that might have been.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Scythe and would recommend it to a wide range of people because it has the concept of a great YA read, but with topics intertwined that can appeal to an older reader as well. What I did lack in Scythe though was an ultimate WOW that lifted the book to a 5 star rating, however I am confident that the WOW will come in book two! Scythe wasn’t what I expected, but it worked in it’s favor, I enjoyed this book thoroughly and I am interested in seeing where the next installment Thunderhead has in store!
Favourite Moment: I enjoyed delving into how each Scythe mentored differently, and how therefore Citra and Rowan were developed into completely different people.
Favourite Quote: “Never lose your humanity,” Scythe Faraday had told him, “or you’ll be nothing more than a killing machine.”