Scythe by Neal Shusterman – The First Book of a Sensational New Series
“Immortality has turned us all into cartoons”
Scythe is the name of the first book of Neal Shusterman’s new series Arc of a Scythe. It is a young-adult science-fiction book that won the Goodreads Choice Awards for Best Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction. Shusterman is also the American author of the famous Unwind series. He’s been writing since he was very young, which is reflected well in his writing.
The Arc of a Scythe series takes place in a futuristic world ruled by an all-powerful and supernatural force called the Thunderhead where hunger, disease, war and misery no longer exist and death has been conquered. The only ones permitted to take life are scythes – who are commanded to do so in order to keep the Earth’s overgrowing population under control.
In Scythe we meet Citra and Rowan, two semi-ordinary teenagers, who are chosen to be a scythe’s apprentice. This will basically turn their worlds upside down. They will be taught the “art” of taking life, while clearly knowing that failure could mean losing their own.
If this short summary has not convinced you yet, here is what I thought about it:
This novel came out in late 2016, and I had always wanted to read it. When I did, it reached all my expectations and I was not deceived. What I like the most about the Scythe novel is its originality. It’s unlike many science fiction books I have read, and in a lot of different ways: for the setting, the characters and the way it is written.
I believe the setting, as presented in the summary, is what won me over and convinced me to read this novel. It is, in my opinion, very creative. I immediately fell in love with the futuristic world, and the way Shusterman romanticizes it. The idea of scythes ruling over the population is something I find quite fascinating. Apart from that, this world also has a history of the mysterious “Thunderhead”. It both boosts our imagination and makes us think about our own world’s future.
The characters are also very interesting, as Shusterman has cleverly given them their own ideas. One character that I find particularly intriguing is Scythe Goddard, the antagonist. He is indeed a greatly imposing character with strange yet strong opinions. Obviously, the characters Citra and Rowan are also very interesting, since they both go through an important development. It is quite fascinating, how a character you love changes as obstacles are being thrown at them.
Finally, the way Neal Shusterman writes is very unique. He is one of the few people that are able to romanticize things such as death. He seems to naturally switch between describing the events that make the story go on and the character’s ways of thinking about the situation. Additionally, Shusterman frequently uses rich and wise vocabulary through the use of metaphors and sayings. It captivates us readers and makes us see a bigger picture.
It is for these reasons that I, as an avid reader, recommend Scythe (Arc of a Scythe #1) to anybody potentially interested. To those who have already read it, the next novel of the series, named Thunderhead, recently came out. Will it be as good as the first?