Scythe, Neal Shusterman

I didn’t know what to expect with this book, but the concept and number of recommendations had me intrigued. A dystopian where humans have conquered death and now must cull the population to deal the incredible population growth. Scythes are tasked with killing a certain number of people per year with the choice of victim and method is up to them. Citra and Rowan are chosen to be apprenticed to a Scythe.

It’s fascinating how society has come to see killing, or gleaning as they call it, as a standard, necessary part of life. But I have no idea how you could be okay with someone murdering your loved one. Surely it would be an emotional thing, no matter how rational you think it might be when someone murders your loved one none of that would matter. You’d angry and resentful all while being overwhelmed by grief. Though everyone is still accepting of it.

The world has defeated death by technology, meaning that if you have an accident, you merely become ‘deadish’ and will be revived at a Revival Centre. As you can imagine, the youth has taken advantage of this. Purely for fun, kids will throw themselves off buildings for the fun of it. It’s messed up that they would find this fun, but I think that’s the point.

To make their world even more secure and pleasant, everyone has nanites inside them that dull pain, control weight and can be tweaked to help with mental disorders. However, one character points out that this makes life pleasant and comfortable meaning you don’t experience the full emotional range life has to offer. Nothing will bother you, yet nothing will make you extremely happy. You can see how it leads to people throwing themselves off buildings for entertainment.

A requirement for an apprentice is that they must not want or enjoy gleaning, which Citra and Rowen both meet, yet the viewed the importance their purpose and the immunity that will be granted to their family persuade them. Citra was an entertaining character and an excellent lead to demonstrate the high road of the Scythehood. She is the epitome of logical reasoning paired with compassion and embodies all the values of the Scythehood. On the other hand, Rowan begins like Citra but falls to the darkness under the guidance of his second mentor. They were both interesting characters, and their growth was entertaining while remaining realistic. I think anyone in the same situations could easily go in the same direction.

This book hooked me from the start. Even when I wasn’t reading, I was thinking about it, about what was happening, where it could go and what it would’ve been like to live in their society. Side note I love the characters of Faraday and Curie and I thought Goddard was a good villain, encompassing the bad traits of both the Scythehood and humanity while embodying the fight between the traditions and new ideas. I loved this book, I haven’t enjoyed a book as much as this in a while. I give it 5/5 and have already bought the next instalment.


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