Book Review: Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman

HI Blissses,

TITLE: Thunderhead
BY: Neal Shusterman
Arc of a Scythe #2
Young Adult, Fantasy, Dystopia, Science Fiction
Jan. 9, 2018 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers


It’s been almost a year since the Winter Conclave. Citra is now a junior scythe (Honorable Scythe Anastasia) and Rowan has gone rogue. Both of them stirring the scythedom (if not the whole world) in their own ways. Citra, still in her badass ways, roasting everyone when she has to and having her own way of gleaning. Then Rowan, taking advantage of the remaining time of his immunity and murdering bad scythes and with that, scythes have been calling him Scythe Lucifer. And yes, he wears a black robe.

“The end doesn’t always justify the means. But sometimes it does. Wisdom is knowing the difference.”

― Neal Shusterman, Thunderhead

In Scythe, book 1 of the series, I said its greatest charm is the world-building, but in Thunderhead, it definitely is the actual plot. Sure, I’m still in awe with the world-building. I’m still fascinated, learning more about the scythedom. This book really digs deeper into the history of the scythes. I also learned more about the Authority Interface which is not surprising because Thunderhead is the Authority Interface and this book is titled after it. So yes, the world-building is still great but the actual plot itself is something else.

A plot that kept me at the edge of my seat…

Thunderhead is basically Rowan and Citra’s journey along with their trusted and respected senior scythes, Scythe Faraday and Scythe Curie cleansing scythedom in their own ways. And there’s a threat in Citra and Scythe Curie’s life that is a big mystery and it drives half of the entire plot. There’s also Rowan’s deeds as Scythe Lucifer and I was anxious the whole time because I don’t want him to get caught. But aside from those…

The twists kept coming.

It’s like there is a twist, a surprise in every other chapter. The storyline is simply spectacular. In book 1, somehow I had the idea what the next scene would be because that book was about the entire apprenticeship of Citra and Rowan. But in Thunderhead, I absolutely have no idea what the next chapter will be about so it keeps surprising me. And it’s not just mere surprises, it’s holy-f*cking-sh*t kind of surprises. What a journey!!!

What a spectacular writing. So epic.

Intriguing new characters

Thunderhead also introduces new characters. Some of them are really not that interesting, but there’s one that intrigues me the most. Greyson Tolliver is a Nimbus Agent wannabe. He loves the Thunderhead like no one else and even treats Thunderhead likes his closest friend. Honestly, if I’m part of this fictional world, I’d be the same. Thunderhead is just so, so amazing. It truly cares for the world, for the people even for the scythes who it shouldn’t have business with. Thunderhead is a mother and a bestfriend to everyone. Or more like a God.

“How ironic, then, and how poetic, that humankind may have created the Creator out of want for one. Man creates God, who then creates man. Is that not the perfect circle of life? But then, if that turns out to be the case, who is created in whose image?”

― Neal Shusterman, Thunderhead

In book 1, there are journal entries written by scythes before each chapter begins, in Thunderhead, it’s Thunderhead’s thoughts. It’s really nice to get acquainted with the entity that’s keeping the world free of any misery. And it’s now clear that Thunderheadis not at all the antagonist. In my review of Book 1, I said the real antagonist is nonhuman but I also mentioned Thunderhead. I admit, in book 1, I had a tiny doubt about it. You can’t blame me, Thunderhead is mysterious in its own way.

Speaking of the antagonist. It really is the system. There’s just so many wrongs in a perfect world. And maybe, this is just me but there’s a very thin line between good and bad and it always depends on what side you’re standing. Sure, there are characters who are really bad. Really bad. My heart was crying with Rowan being beaten, a victim of these bad people. I won’t mention a name because it will be a major spoiler. These bad people have their own goals, only their ways are different than the main characters and their beliefs are twisted enough that their definition of right is borderline wrong. I certainly want to know more about these characters in the next book.

Non-existent Romance but still I ship them

Rowan and Citra’s storylines are separate. As mentioned, they do their things in their own ways — Rowan as a rogue and Citra changing things from the inside. But both of them are stirring what was once the norm for the scythes. That said, there are very few interactions between Citra and Rowan. Actually, only two in the entire book but it’s enough. The connection between them even if they’re separated is undeniable and speaks of real love. Like Rowan’s reaction when he learned that Citra is in danger, suddenly his priority shifted towards Citra. And Citra always thinking of Rowan, always worrying. What I really love the most about these two is that even if they’re in love, still they’re not one of those hormones-induced young adults who forget that there are more important things in the world other than them being together. Such responsible, smart human beings if you ask me.

Finally, that ending…

It’s a cliffhanger. What a cliffhanger!!! But still, it’s the best. When Thunderhead screams, in his own way, I got goosebumps. It’s THAT grand and it’s THAT heartbreaking especially considering Thunderhead’s affection to its people. But this book, instead of resolving things, it brings more problem to the characters which is amazing. You bet I’m going to read the next book right after writing this review.

RATING: 4.5 blissful pages with lilies

Although Thunderhead is more epic than book 1, still I have to take a half star from my rating because there are parts that I found slow and could be more concise. But it’s a minor issue because this book is still the best middle book I’ve ever read.

Have you read this book? Or planning to? What do you think of it? Let’s chat.

11 thoughts on “Book Review: Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman

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