Scythe by Neil Shusterman
After seeing this series everywhere on Bookstagram, I decided to treat myself to a purchase from The Book Depository. Since reading The Hunger Games about 8 or 9 years ago I love anything dystopian! I’d never read anything by this author before but I know lots of people love his novels
I started Scythe on a weekend and read loads but then it took a week to finish. However this is of no fault of the actual book. I just couldn’t concentrate on anything after work that week. I couldn’t even focus on playing The Witcher! It was a stressful week (schools were told they would be closed from the next week apart from key worker, EHCP and vulnerable children, some staff were already self isolating, and my year 6 class were mostly sad they might not finish the year. I’m still hoping we’re back properly before the school year is out)! So yes, not much reading happened. And then the next weekend I sped through it! I think if it had been a normal week, it would have only taken me a few days to read.
The story is set in America in the future when humans have managed to conquer death from natural causes meaning that the population has to be controlled by scythes who have a quota of killings (or gleanings as they call it) they have to perform. One such sycthe picks teenagers Citra and Rowan to be his apprentices, something that shocks the scythe committee as only one apprentice is normally allowed. The committee meet and decide that only one will be allowed to become a scythe and that the one chosen will have to glean the other.
Citra comes from a loving family with a mum, dad and younger brother Ben. She hates the thought of having to glean people and doesn’t think she can do it. I didn’t really see the need to make her and Rowan become interested in each other romantically. The tension would have worked just as well if they became really good friends. But that’s just my opinion!
Rowan is a middle child from a big family and describes himself as the “lettuce” as he’s often forgotten and not noticed by his family. I do think he should have been a bit more horrified by Scythe Goddard’s methods as he was only a teenager. Again, why did he need to fall in love with Citra?
I liked that each chapter started with a page from a scythe’s journal because this gave you insight into their character’s more rather than just relying on action. Also the journals play quite an important role in the story.
As I said, I love dystopian so the idea of the human race being at a point where they can’t die from natural causes and there was nothing new anyone could learn was really interesting. All the information is stored in the Thunderhead which people can access when they want. And then adding to that the fact that people had to die in order to control the population which results in scythes. All I know is that I’d hate to be a scythe! How would you ever sleep?
It was interesting reading about their training but the story did become more exciting when the apprentice scythes, Citra and Rowan, were pitted against each other. After becoming friends, you were left desperate to know how they would cope with one of them having to eventually kill the other.
I did buy the whole series so I can’t wait to read the next installment, Thunderhead. I may also have to look into the author’s other works!
Have you read this series? What did you think of it?