Author: Neal Shusterman
Scythe | published Nov 2016 | 435pp
Thunderhead | Jan 2018 | 504 pp
The Toll | Nov 2019 | 625 pp
I loved reading this trilogy!! I hate that I’ve been putting off reading this series for years, only to find its great and I could have been loving it the whole time! Ugh, postponed gratification. Anyway, of course, the Lord knew I would need the pleasure of this escape in 2020..so here we are.
The story is set far in the future of a world that looks very much like ours with stark exceptions. They’ve conquered all knowledge, homelessness and hunger, disease and death. Knowledge comes from the Thunderhead, an AI built by their ancestors. It offers any person requesting any info whatever they need, on demand. Every citizen is paid a rate to survive, so there is no ‘poor’. Though most people work and goto school. Disease and death doesn’t exist in the way we understand it. People have been injected with a technology that dulls pain and starts healing immediately in the face of danger. People can be ‘killed’ but, with support of the internal technology, they come back to life in minutes or maybe days later, no worse for wear. The only way to die permanently, is if a Scythe kills you.
Scythes are instructed to kill a certain amount of people monthly, in order to maintain order. They can kill whomever and whenever they choose. Scythes are respected and feared in equal measure. They choose who they want to kill, as well as, who they want to train to follow them. In this case, Scythe Faraday has decided to take in 2 apprentices: Citra and Rowen. They are to compete against one another and whoever is the better at ‘the art of killing’ will become a Scythe. The other will go home… maybe.
The problem with utopias are, they’re always false. There is a faction of the Scythedom that wishes things were different. They want to take control and rid themselves of the rules of the current regime that require transparency, respect and restraint. They are prone to mass ‘gleanings’ as permanent death is called: Taking down airplanes, shooting up schools and churches. Faraday would like to stop them but, may not be able to.
Citra and Rowen will eventually fall into their clutches and will have their chance at stopping the rogue Scythes.
Pros: Excellent world building. I mean THIS is how it should be done! No long boring soliloquies where the author is merely dictating to us, but, true descriptive dialogue between characters revealing their world to us. The build up to each novels peak is exciting and unpredictable. Climaxes are full of drama and you forget this is YA. I think my favorite character was Rowen who makes friends with his monsters and is determined to right what is wrong with the world.
My other favorite character was the Thunderhead. In book 2x the Thunderhead goes quiet and stops responding to people directly. Folks find themselves speaking to empty spaces looking for signs. The comparisons to religion are endless.
Cons: None for me. The stories do not stand alone. You would want to read them in order.
I’ve posted some excellent quotes from the book, which y’all know I do when I fall 🥰! The books are full of plots and twists: political scheming, mass murders (maybe a bit triggering in current times, but really done well), revenge, backstabbing, beautifully described fictional locations and big action scenes and cliffhangers. Theres even a star crossed romance built in between consenting adults. Just a lot of texture that I 😍. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ stars from me! Good books all!
If it sounds like you’ll enjoy this series, check out: