Title: Scythe
Author: Neal Shusterman
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Publication Date: 2016
Page Count: 433 (Hardcover)
Age Recommendation: 12

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. ~ Goodreads

Initial reaction: Wow I am so tireeeedddddddddddddddddddddddddd and most of it isn’t due to the fact that I got little sleep last night

Scythe is an amazing debut novel by Neal Shusterman. It’s set a couple hundred years in the future where everyone is living in a practically perfect world. Everything is controlled by this computer dude named the Thunderhead. Everything but death. To keep the population in check, they decided on the brilliant idea to have certain people have the job to kill people. Obviously there’s no better alternative. It’s not like “there was no more left to learn” for the human race and they could have chosen something smarter. Like I swear space colonies, despite the horror stories in the book, with unlimited knowledge it shouldn’t be that hard. Although, it’s not the worst idea in the world, I guess, and it sets up an amazing premise for a story so I decided to roll with it. It’s emotionally exhausting to read and by the end of it, the constant murder, ethics and kissing of rings had me ready to take a nap. And scream. That too.

This book surprisingly provoked some actual thought about the meaning of life. It lightly brushed the surface of what life would be like if you were almost garunteed to live forever. Would we still be as motivated to do what we wanted? Would we still be passionate about our work? If you always had everything provided for you, would you really ever want to do anything? Personally I hope that we never have to find out the answer to that question.

Anyway… Scythe was a book that gripped me from start to finish. I picked it up after I couldn’t stand to read anymore of the pretentious crap that a different book was. (A rant for another time.) Its plot was constantly packed with action and mystery and suspense. There was always a lot of drama and both characters drastically changed from the beginning of the book. The story was filled with awesome battles, gory (but not too gory) details and really cool ninja people.  (I have a soft spot for ninjas)

The story also allows the reader to view both sides of the battle, and the lovely gray area in between. Was how things were done before really the right way? And is the New Order really so bad? How do you handle a lifetime of killing others?

However much I loved this book, it did have a few flaws. Both characters felt… flat. Their emotions were vivd and powerful, but also very straight forward and no meaning behind the reason they gave? If that makes sense. Like Citra was shocked. Why? Because someone had eaten the last of her chicken nuggets. Was there any deeper meaning or other emotions felt? No. Only shock. This also ended up affecting the romance in the book. While I do admit that I totally ship Ritra (Cowan? Cowan.) their romance had literally no spark. Even one of the more romantic, if you can call it that, moments was really anticlamatic. They were just like, “Ok, got it over with. Let’s just stop liking each other now.” Even though they are cute, they lack passion and I don’t see them becoming anything more than fleeting lovers or close friends. Plus like one of the main conflicts in the book literally, like, was pointless first of all and should have been gone two chapters after it had been introduced?

Another thing that I’m not sure I like or dislike about this book, is that while I’ve never read anything like it, I constantly felt like I was reading some version of the Hunger Games. The moments didn’t last long, but someone would say something or something would happen and for a moment it felt like I was reading some other popular YA series. It took away a bit from the originality of the plot.

Despite all that, this book was one of my best reads of 2018 so far and I cannot wait for the sequel and more books by this author.

Fabulous Quotes!

The greatest achievement of the human race was not conquering death. It was ending government

Death makes the whole world kin. Rowan wondered if a world without death would then make everyone stranger.

I think all young women are cursed with a streak of unrelenting foolishness, and all young men are cursed with a streak of absolute stupidity

What Does the Cat Think?

I have seen things…

I give this book 4 stars out of 5!


5 thoughts on “Scythe

  1. Awww. I enjoyed this review, too. I liked that the book, though emotionally exhausting with flat characters and anticlimactic romantic moments brought about some meaningful philosophical questions. It’s always nice to be provoked to reflect on the meaning of life and to dig deep.

    It’s also nice that you could recognize or felt there were moments of reading some possible version of something else, in this case the Hunger Games.

    Nicely done!

    1. Yes! I had never really thought about this certain philosophical question in depth before and it was definitely a fascinating concept. It also made me glad to live in the ‘mortal age’ because the world with immortality seemed very boring. And yes! It was weird but I felt these brief moments when I just was strongly reminded of other popular YA books. Thank you so much! ❤

  2. Your passion shows in your review. I keep seeing this title but need to read it. I don’t like the idea of population control by way of assassination. Have you read Dan Brown’s adult novel “Inferno?” I think the book offers an interesting solution to population growth — but the movie is different from the book ending. You’ve convinced me to get a copy! I like philosophical questions.

    1. Hmmmm, I haven’t read ‘Inferno’. I’ll have to check it out! Thank you for the recommendation! My Human Geography class was also talking about population growth and it was really interesting.
      You definitely should check out Scythe, I don’t think it is everyone’s cup of tea but I did enjoy it. Philosophical questions also make everything more interesting. Thank you for commenting!

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