Title: Scythe (Arc of a Scythe #1)
Author: Neal Shusterman
Publisher: Walker Books
Date: 1st February 2018
I finally did it. I finally found a sci-fi book that I fell head over heels for. I had heard of so many people loving this book, and while I was hesitant at first I decided to give it a try. I don’t read a lot of sci-fi, mainly because I can’t get into it, but from the get go I was hooked by Scythe. It is such a unique book, with an incredible world that feels so similar, yet foreign to us as a reader. There were little references to things we have into our world now, and Shusterman has created characters that I rooted for and that I cared about.
All of the world’s problems have been solved. There is no more hunger and poverty, no war and disease, no more pain and death. The Thunderhead has created a perfect world that is safe for everyone in it. To curb over-population the Scythedom was created, granting Scythes the power to ‘glean’ people. Due to strange circumstances, both Citra and Rowan have been chosen to become scythe apprentices under Honorable Scythe Faraday. Neither wanted this, but now they must master the art of being a Scythe in order to save their lives. For it has been decided that only one can become a fully-fledged Scythe and must glean the other.
I really enjoyed learning about how the Thunderhead came about. It was once the ‘cloud’, which I’m assuming is a reference to software we have now, and it grew to become this all-seeing thing. It has taken control from the governments who are no more, and it protects its citizens, although people are still scared of it. However, the Thunderhead has no control over the Scythedom, which is a really interesting concept given what happens in this novel.
The idea that there is no death is so strange. Of course, accidents do happen but there are revival centres that can bring you back to life. And if you reach the age of 80 and dislike the way you look, you can take a ‘turn’ and go back to being young again. Essentially you could live forever, and it made me wonder what it would be like to live in this world. Honestly, I’m not quite sure I would like it.
Scythe Faraday was a really interesting character, especially with his approach to gleaning. Each scythe has a different technique that they use to glean, and his involves a lot of data and using lots of different weapons. It’s actually quite fascinating how he chooses the people to glean by seeing the statistics of certain deaths in our day and age, then choosing someone who fits into them. He was a really unexpected character that I wish to see more of.
Something that I thought was a great addition to the story was the diary excerpts from infamous Scythes that were before each new chapter. The content in them was often reflected in the story and the people who wrote them eventually feature in the story prominently. I won’t give too much away, but those characters were so intriguing, and I hope I can find out more about them in the sequel.
Then we have Citra and Rowan. The book is mainly in their perspectives, and shows how they handle the circumstances they have been thrust into. Something happens that causes them to drift and from that point on the story is tense because we have no idea what is going to happen. Even towards the end there are plot twists that I didn’t see coming and I loved every one! I think Citra was my favourite, mainly because she was fierce and didn’t take any crap, although I felt sorry for Rowan at some points in the story.
This book is so addictive and I couldn’t get enough of the world. The ending hooked me and I couldn’t order Thunderhead quick enough! On the front cover of my edition, Maggie Stiefvater said that it was a ‘true successor to The Hunger Games’ and I agree with her. I definitely got that kind of vibe so if you enjoyed that series and love dystopian sci-fi worlds, I would recommend reading Scythe. It was so easy to give this book a solid five stars.