Sunday, January 13, 2019

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

Title: Scythe
Series: Arc of a Scythe #1
Author: Neal Shusterman 
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Two teens are forced to murder—maybe each other—in the first in a chilling new series from Neal Shusterman, author of the New York Times bestselling Unwind dystology.

In a world where disease has been eliminated, the only way to die is to be randomly killed (“gleaned”) by professional reapers (“scythes”). Citra and Rowan are teenagers who have been selected to be scythe’s apprentices, and—despite wanting nothing to do with the vocation—they must learn the art of killing and come to understand the necessity of what they do.

Only one of them will be chosen as a scythe’s apprentice. And when it becomes clear that the winning apprentice’s first task will be to glean the loser, Citra and Rowan are pitted against one another in a fight for their lives.

“My greatest wish for humanity is not for peace or comfort or joy. It is that we all still die a little inside every time we witness the death of another. For only the pain of empathy will keep us human. There’s no version of God that can help us if we ever lose that.”

The Scythe came highly recommended to me. My husband read it and loved it. He told me "This one is right up your alley." I can't disagree. It had all the right components to become a favorite fantasy.

In this new world, many years away from us, people don't die. There is no sickness and the Cloud has become an entity that manages the world without taking absolute control. It's called the Thunderhead. Since people don't die, many try to do it just for fun. Deadish is the new extreme sport. If you don't like the aging process, you can reverse time and "turn a corner" and become a younger self. 

Permanent death is only achieved by being "gleaned". The person performing a gleaning is specially chosen and trained. He or she becomes a Scythe. Scythes are feared and revered. The only ones who don't like them are the Tonist.  The Tonists live in monasteries and the Thunderhead leaves them alone although cameras are still everywhere.

The main characters are Rowan Damisch and Citra Terranova. Both teenagers, who after having an interaction with Scythe Faraday they are offered to become apprentices into the Scythom. Neither wants to do it but their families are all for it in order to receive immunity for one year. 

The world of the Scythom is full of intrigue, politics, and danger. We meet many important characters like Scythe Curie (the Grand Dame of Death), Scythe Goddard, Scythe Xenocrates and many more. 

The Scythe is an amazing fantasy. It has an impressive world-building with very interesting characters and compelling dialogue. There was a couple of great twists (one, I saw coming, one, I had not thought about) and a fantastic ending.

“Death makes the world kin.” 

Cliffhanger: Yes

4/5 Fangs

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