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Latest Book Reviews: Scythe and Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman

Latest Book Reviews: Scythe and Thunderhead by Neal ShustermanScythe by Neal Shusterman
Series: Arc of a Scythe #1
Published by Simon & Schuster on November 22nd 2016
Genres: Dystopia, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 435
Format: eBook
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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.


“Hope in the shadow of fear is the world’s most powerful motivator.”

I have been in the biggest of book slumps until I stumbled across this book and quite literally got sucked in until I found myself finishing the second book demanding more. I wish I’d found this series sooner. It featured all of my favourite things: a smart and unique plot, murder, a battle of morals and did I mention, murder?

  • This is a world that is so completely unnatural that it feels like reality. In 1,000 years who is to say that we won’t live in a world similar to that of Shusterman’s creation. That is the beauty of it. It all seems perfectly plausible no matter how far fetched it appears at points. He has taken the roots of reality, twisting and bending and breaking it until we have this new form of Utopia where war, disease, misery, hunger etc. no longer exists. Not once does it feel unnatural because the roots of humanity remain – particularly among the Scythe who are not ruled by the Thunderhead. They think for themselves, they abide by their own form of ethics and morals as they go about the hard task of killing (“gleaning”) another human being. They feel remorse. They cry. They feel hatred and prejudice. They’re still human.
  • Citra and Rowan are such precious little cinnamon rolls. The story is split between them as they’re both reluctant apprentices to Scythe Faraday in order to secure their future as a Scythe. Citra is your typically ambitious go-getter Slytherin with a little splash of Ravenclaw running through her veins. Meanwhile, Rowan is a self-confessed “lettuce” – unimportant and forgettable. Their journey through this book isn’t easy, each in their own very different way. They both reach a turning point that seperates and defines their journeys indefinitely.

Other things I enjoyed:

  • It didn’t center itself around a romantic plotline. There were the barest hints of one but Shusterman didn’t let it detract from the story as a whole which I’m sooooo glad about.
  • Can I shout anymore about the concept? Legal murder. I am fascinated (in the most non-creepy of ways).
  • Scythe Faraday. That is all.
  • You can’t die (unless you’re gleaned of course) but anytime you’re made ‘deadish’ by either an accident or on purpose (like throwing yourself off a building) your body is taken to a revival unit to be brought back to life
  • When the characters are evil, they’re evil. But it’s an evil that you can relate to. It’s an evil that you can see exist in the world around you. It’s not world domination. It’s lack of empathy, lack of remorse, decadence, narcissism…
  • Latest Book Reviews: Scythe and Thunderhead by Neal ShustermanThunderhead by Neal Shusterman
    Series: Arc of a Scythe #2
    Published by Simon & Schuster on January 9th 2018
    Genres: Dystopia, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult
    Pages: 504
    Format: eBook
    Add to Goodreads

    Rowan and Citra take opposite stances on the morality of the Scythedom, putting them at odds, in the second novel of the chilling New York Times bestselling series from Neal Shusterman, author of the Unwind dystology.

    Rowan has gone rogue, and has taken it upon himself to put the Scythedom through a trial by fire. Literally. In the year since Winter Conclave, he has gone off-grid, and has been striking out against corrupt scythes—not only in MidMerica, but across the entire continent. He is a dark folk hero now—“Scythe Lucifer”—a vigilante taking down corrupt scythes in flames.

    Citra, now a junior scythe under Scythe Curie, sees the corruption and wants to help change it from the inside out, but is thwarted at every turn, and threatened by the “new order” scythes. Realizing she cannot do this alone—or even with the help of Scythe Curie and Faraday, she does the unthinkable, and risks being “deadish” so she can communicate with the Thunderhead—the only being on earth wise enough to solve the dire problems of a perfect world. But will it help solve those problems, or simply watch as perfection goes into decline?


    “Death must exist for life to have meaning.”

    Are there enough words in the English language to describe how amazing and wonderful this book is? I don’t think so. Two books in and I am still blown away by the originality and the concept of this series. You’ve got your stabby murder, political intrigue, plot twists on top of plot twists, an (almost) utopia, and your all-knowing, all-seeing, ruler of (almost) all humanity. Shusterman asks a lot of questions about humanity, about morals, and about the sanctity of life without ever asking a single question.

    • The plot for Thunderhead was a lot slower this time round with the additional heap of chess pieces littering the board of MidMerica making things a lot more interesting. There are bigger problems at bay with the rivalry between the Old and the New-Order Scythes htting an all-time high, and Scythe Lucifer out there like the true Angle of Death he is hunting down and murdering the Scythes he believes to be unworthy of the job.
    • The introduction of Greyson Tolliver as a central character still has me feeling a little “meh” but I am definitely intrigued, even more so after the ending. I was less fond of his character than his actual storyline (which has me yearning to find out why he, Greyson Tolliver, is so important. Why him?). He was just a little too bland for my liking.
    • More worldbuilding! Just when you thought this world couldn’t get any bigger or more amazing, it does! We get to explore more of the Mericas in particular a certain charter region modeled after The Wild West which has no laws and no authority. More interestingly, we get to visit Endura, a small city built on water that is not monitored or governed by the Thunderhead. It is home to the World’s Scythe Counsel of Grandslayers but also serves as a historical attraction for tourists and a refuge for Scythes’ families. ~Spoilery~ things happen there and I just have too many feels about it.
    • The ennnnnnnnding, you guys! The ending. It was bold, it was unexpected and quite simply, phenomenal. When the Thunderhead screamed. I felt that. I’m still shook and absolutely heartbroken, and I can’t believe I have to wait an entire year until I get to find out what happens next.

    Other things I enjoyed:

    • The general existence of Scythe Marie Curie, the great Grandame of Death. I absolutely love her character and how protective she is of Citra. She is a precious cinnamon roll and should have been protected at all costs.
    • The explosive return of a certain someone
    • Scythe Constantine, what a pure and wonderful cinnamon roll. I have a feeling he’ll have an even more central role in book #3.
    • Did I mention the Thunderhead screamed
    • Speaking of the Thunderhead, I am absolutely fascinated by his mindset and thought process. Especially when he discovered a particular thing towards the end…
    • The Thunderhead has f e e l i n g s
    • Watching Citra blossom and grow into her role as a Scythe. My girl is growing up! She is going to be one woman y’all don’t want to mess with in the next book. I feel that.
    • Even though Citra and Rowan were very much apart for the majority of this book they were still so intimately intertwined, and their feelings for each other are sooooooooo cute.
    • The beautiful relationship between Citra and Scythe Curie. No one touch me. I love it too much. They are each others number one fans. They are a family aND THEN SHUSTERMAN DID THE THING. NOPE.
    • Rowan’s general attitude about getting the absolute shit kicked out of him and not giving a single damn
    • Did I mention the e n d i n g!
    • Have you read Scythe and Thunderhead?
      Let me know what you thought in the comments below.
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