BY: Neal Shusterman
SERIES: Arc of Scythe #1
GENRE: Young Adult, Fantasy, Dystopia, Science Fiction
PUBLICATION: Nov. 22, 2016 by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
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.
Scythe is a magnificent surprise. Even though I’ve heard and read nothing but good things about this series, I was hesitant to pick it up because it’s a science fiction. I’m no big fan of the genre, but Scythe just made me. If every science fiction novel has such an incredible world-building as Scythe has, I’m in. It’s Scythe’s greatest charm.
The world-building is something every writer like me would envy from Mr. Neal Shusterman. It’s just so good. So elaborate but everything is never introduced in an info-dumping type. For me who isn’t a fan of science fiction, the world the author created should’ve been hard to understand or even imagine. But the way the author introduced every single part of his world is very effective. He gives little about the world in each scene but it makes you feel like you already know everything about the world, that what you know is enough, so you have the thinking that you’re already familiar with it which makes the story more real to you. But then in the next scene, he’ll introduce another thing about his world and still you think what you know is enough. The author’s writing style made me jealous in a good way.
I wouldn’t call Scythe a character-driven book though the characters are definitely unforgettable. Citra and Rowan are two characters with so little similarities. Citra is the serious one, always worrying, always getting prepared for whatever they have to do and she complains and voice out the things she thinks she must voice out. On the other hand, Rowan is the calm type. Maybe he just enjoys watching Citra complains and do all the asking, or he’s just too good at hiding what’s inside him. Even at the very end, Rowan’s demeanor seems so chill…Well until he left the conclave.
But Rowan and Citra have similar sentiments, and I’m not only talking about winning and passing their apprenticeship and be a scythe. Even from the start, even when they not know it, deep inside them, they both know not everything is right in the world they’re living.
It isn’t just Rowan and Citra who are unforgettable. There’s Scythe Faraday, the one who recruited Citra and Rowan. He’s my favorite Scythe, though after that ending it’s now debatable who is my favorite Scythe. Anyway, I love that ploy Scythe Faraday managed to do. There’s also Scythe Curie who from the very beginning seems like a morally grey character. It’s so great to know more about her since she’s also one of the legendary scythes.
Some might say the antagonist or villain is a scythe, or some of the scythes. Like every other organization, the scythedom has its own twisted characters like Scythe Goddard and his junior scythes. But I don’t believe that. I believe that the real antagonist is actually the system. I’m not really talking about Thunderhead…though it’s yet to be clear. I’ll know more in the next book because it’s titled Thunderhead. Thunderhead is an AI, more like the cloud that serves as the governing entity of the world. It controls everything excepts Scythes. Anyway, like I said, the real antagonist is really the system itself.
It’s what makes Rowan and Citra thinks that not everything in their world is right. It’s what makes me see their world imperfect even though death is already conquered, there’s no disease, hunger and misery. I won’t say more about the world. Like I said earlier, the world-building is the best charm Scythe has so it’s better if readers go into the story blind. It will make a much better experience. I also won’t elaborate about scythes themselves for the same reason.
Scythe has full of twists. I was elated the whole time reading it. The best one is of course the end scene. Damn Citra for being so wise. I love her so much. Though I must say, I easily predicted some of the twists. There are journal entries written by scythes before each chapter begins and the key to predicting the twists and secrets of the plot is to read those journal entries very carefully. I really like every turn the plot takes.
Almost non-existent Romance but OTP-worthy — a badass romance
The romance is almost not convincing. They were just partners and it’s only one of them who accepted that they’re attracted to the other. But the hint of the romance is always there and even though I love romance in my reads, I found it likeable. I was contented with whatever Citra and Rowan give to me when it comes to their romance. And then there’s the last scene which I reread few times. Seriously, the last scene is the best scene ever.
It’s so badass, it’s so clever and it’s so romantic. I LOVE IT.
RATING: 5 blissful pages with lilies
I don’t have any issues about Scythe. For me, everything about it is perfect. Though I think some will find the first half of the book slow but for me, it’s okay. The story is moving forward in a nice pace but as all readers know, it’s somehow common to this kind of trope – with a student/character learning about something trope – to be seemingly slow.
Scythe is now my fourth 5-star reads for this year and I highly recommend it to everyone.
Have you read this book? Or planning too? What do you think of it? Let’s chat.