Book Review: Scythe by Neal Shusterman
Published by Simon Schuster
Release Date: November 22, 2016
YA Dystopian, 435 pages
Photo taken from Instagram @marasfoldedpages
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 was recommended to me for a while before I finally picked it up, and I’m so glad that I did! It had quite a lot of hype around it, and turned out different that I was expecting. The concept of no natural death in a world where everyone can age forever was hard for me to grasp at first, but Shusterman built the world beautifully. Once I realized just how much power and freedom the scythes had in this world, I thought of our own politics and power in government in real time.
The idea of the Scythes was intriguing. Especially how each one had their own “style”. For their attire and robe choices, as well as their methods of execution and choice of victim. I also really enjoyed the Scythe journal entries that started the chapters. Once I knew the characters enough, I could learn more about them and what it’s like inside their head.
Here is an excerpt of a journal entry:
“If you’ve ever studied mortal age cartoons, you’ll remember this one. A coyote was always plotting the demise of a smirking long-necked bird. The coyote never succeeded; instead, his plans always backfired. He would blow up, or get shot, or splat from a ridiculous height.
And it was funny.
Because no matter how deadly his failure, he was always back in the next scene, as if there were a revival center just beyond the edge of the animation cell.
I’ve seen human foibles that have resulted in temporary maiming or momentary loss of life. People stumble into manholes, are hit by falling objects, trip into the paths of speeding vehicles.
And when it happens, people laugh, because no matter how gruesome the event, that person, just like the coyote, will be back in a day or two, as good as new, and no worse—or wiser—for the wear.
The plot grew on me, as the underlying problems quickly surfaced closer to home as the main characters made progress with their training.
The villains weren’t brought in until later, and when they first were I wasn’t sure if it was a flashback or whose narrative it was coming from. Once I figured out who’s POV, I could decipher their motives and try to figure out their next moves. It was interesting to see a crew of Scythes.
This was a very complex novel, each POV and chapter was well thought out to pace the story. I must say it got more interesting about halfway through when the first major plot twist hit. And it was a wild ride from there. The writing style was unique, and I would like to continue the story with the next book.
I loved both of the main characters, which is a first for me. Both Rowan and Citra were relatable as they were summoned to this line of work, and battled their way through it. I’m excited to see where their relationship goes from here.
The ending was one of the major plot twists, and left me needing the next book in this series! Overall, 4.5/5 stars.
Thanks for reading guys! Mara x