Neal Shusterman does not disappoint!
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.com summary
I have been a big fan Neal Shusterman’s books ever since I read Unwind back in 8th grade. At the time, everyone thought I was crazy for reading a novel with such a disturbing and out there plot, but he has a way of making farfetched ideas seem plausible and realistic. In addition to the plot, Neal Shusterman’s switching POVs and rounded characters have always made his novels stand out. Take all those elements and sprinkle in some intriguing moral and ethical questions and you get a great Neal Shusterman novel— Scythe was no exception.
The World: Neal Shusterman is brilliant when it comes to building a world around a farfetched idea and making it seem realistic. I loved learning about the history of this world and how scythes became accepted in this society.
The Politics: I LOVED reading about the politics of this world. It wasn’t just boring nonsense as it would be if someone else had written it, the politics served as a way to better understand the different workings of the society and to introduce the reader to some rather sketchy scythes.
Which leads me to… The Moral Questions: Neal Shusterman often includes moral/ethical questions in his novels. Scythe includes questions such as— how much does one’s environment and surroundings affect their personality and actions? Is an immoral act justified if it is enacted to prevent further evil acts also known as do the ends justify the means? All great for book related discussions!
Realistic Characters: Even from the first pages Neal Shusterman works to make all character realistic. A great example is when Scythe Faraday stopped at Cirta’s house to simply ask for dinner. It was an unexpected event and a great way to humanize the scythes!
Plot: The plot is not the most fast-paced, but it is intriguing. I found myself always wanting to know what was going to happen and constantly found myself surprised when new things were revealed.
My only gripe will be mentioned in the spoiler section. It is fairly minor and I hope will be brought up in the next novel
Overall, I loved Scythe! I had been eyeing it since it originally came out and I am so glad that I picked it up! The characters are realistic, the plot convincing, and the situations make you think. I highly recommend Scythe and Neal Shusterman’s Unwind books for everyone! They are both full of thrilling plots to keep you reading and ethical questions to make you think. Give the books a chance, you won’t regret it!
The Thunderhead: Its interference with the plot towards the middle of the novel felt kind of out of left field. This could be due to the fact that we don’t learn much about the Thunderhead and how it works. The second novel will be titled Thunderhead so hopefully it will go into this more.
Rowan’s Development: As soon as it was revealed that Rowan was going to train with Scythe Goddard, I was really curious how it was going to affect his character. I truly believe that it was because he spent so much time in that cruel environment that he was so harsh when he finally killed Scythe Goddard and the rest of his crew.
The End: THAT WAS UNEXPECTED! From the moment it was mentioned that whoever lost in the apprenticeship would die, I had to wonder how Neal Shusterman would find a way around that. I was preparing for something cheesy and unconvincing, but I was actually okay with how things worked out in the end. The way Citra granted Rowan immunity was honestly really clever and not obvious. It is also nice how Rowan isn’t safe forever, only for a year, then he’ll have to fight for his life.